Tag Archives: Martha King

ART Basil King Black Mountain Collage Critique Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) News Writing

Outside/Inside -Martha’s memoir-is published

I am delighted to announce the publication of Outside / Inside:  Just outside the art world’s inside, my memoir published by BlazeVOX Books.  The book can be ordered now on the BlazeVOX website, or on Amazon, or by pestering your favorite local bookshop.

Outside of Outside / Inside

Wonderful warm words  Here are comments from advance readers:

Martha King’s fascinating memoir bristles with a unique kinetics of purpose, struggle, reluctant parents, loyal friendships, and of a lifelong partnership with brilliant artist Basil King forged in a utopian dream of communality and the powers of alternative art praxis and passionate bohemian life. What a headstrong young woman she was taking off to Black Mountain upon receiving a note from then rector Charles Olson to “Come with all the money you have and what you are used to for cooking.” And what a long life that continues unabated! Indeed this book is a way of seeing with others in and out of place inthe maelstrom of heady American art and poetry life. I think of Clifford Geertz’sterms “consociational”: all the bustling intersecting realities and persons and thework itself that makes such a grand fabric and warm salute to an amazing time in our culture’s complicated relationship to its geniuses.   I couldn’t put OUTSIDE/INSIDE down until way after dawn, captured by King’s patience, and the urgent “call” to tell this palpable art-driven love story, an archive of trenchant and luminous particulars. —Anne Waldman

I’ve just finished with this splendid memoir. It has so much life to it, and brio, and so much deeply felt reflection that I’m hooked. I loved hearing about everything! The picture of San Francisco life at a certain moment in the mid-fifties has not been equaled elsewhere…but the Lucia Berlin chapter was to me the emblem of all the rest—a long look, with a hundred cunningly observed details, that builds to an heroic thesis. —Kevin Killian

Martha King’s writing brims with a forward propulsion that makes her memoir a page-turner, until you deliberately slow down to relish many passages. You end up appreciating a well-lived life, even if you are not familiar with all of its characters. She says early on that she, perhaps unfashionably for today, lived/lives a life (partly) in support of her partner rather than in self-focused exploration. That’s not something to criticize when her partner, painter-poet Basil King, manifests an integrity that earns any support for it. Besides, hindsight shows that Martha ends up fulfilling her own potential as a poet and writer. The very last word of the memoir sums up Martha’s life — it is a word worth discovering in a book worth reading for her definition. —Eileen R. Tabios

Here it is, kids, the Martha King chronicles. An insider’s account of the real late Black Mountain College, starting with Charles Olson’s enigmatic but clearly motivated postcard: “Come with what money you have in hand and what you are used to for cooking.” The trip stretches wide and far but comes home to a real sense of living. And living for art. Eventually, and then always, with partner in crime and much else, painter and poet Basil King. She gives us what we really want and need — textures: “rotting mattresses, worn-out boots…” She tells what radical women’s lives were like, they “…improvised their clothing, cooked exotic peasant food, tied nursing babies to their waists with Mexican scarves.” She cuts to the essential: “Black Mountain is important because it grew a language – in collision – that is still available for use.” She gives us close-up accounts of goings on inside the Cedar Street Tavern. Denizens, avatars, pass through and by: John Wieners, Frank O’Hara, Hettie Jones, Bob Thompson, Paul Blackburn. And then she goes beyond that, all the way to the present. King clarifies, edifies, entertains. She gives the reader all that freely, and the reader is duly gratified. —Vincent Katz

Martha King’s lively, always insightful memoir provides an intimate account of not only the artists and writers constellated around Black Mountain College in the 1950s but the evolution of many of its figures—famous ones like Charles Olson and John Wieners as well as those less so—while the scenery changes from San Francisco to the East Village, from the ragged clapboards at Black Mountain to the Park Avenue apartments of art dealers. Against the backdrop of her proper Southern upbringing King charts her sentimental education, one done in the company of her husband Basil King, with both eye and ear attuned to the urgent disputes and minor key joys that animate the ordinary days of poets and painters. By turns a family remembrance, a gossipy tale, a love story, and a bildungsroman, Outside/Inside gives vivid account of lives lived in pursuit of making. —Al Mobilio

The book is an incredible picture of life in the art/writing scene over that period. A great picture too of New York. I’d been reading part of Edmund Wilson’s diaries which gives a detailed account of the city some thirty years [earlier]. Martha King’s account is just as sharp and dense with detail….it’s the period just before the money people completely took over. I like the take on the sixties counter-culture, its naivety in being part of the advance of capitalism without knowing it. And I think that what is says about women in that period (or now for that matter) is absolutely on the money. —Laurie Duggan

Martha King was there, and her book is a testimony to the moment when modernism transitioned into contemporary poetry and painting. From Black Mountain to Frank O’Hara and James Rosenquist, she and her husband, the much accomplished and respected painter and writer Basil King, were there, and the result is a personal and detailed guide to a critical moment in the history of the American arts. This is an essential book. Don’t miss it.—Edward Foster

BOOK LAUNCH!  A launch party is taking place at Howl Arts, 6 East 1st Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) on Thursday November 8, 7-9 pm. All invited!
Here is the link:
Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) News Writing

NEWS Outside/Inside to be published this October

NEWS – Outside / Inside  by Martha King has a publisher!

Martha King’s memoir Outside/Inside (just outside the art world’s inside) will be available from Blaze VOX Books in October 2018.

For a preview of the book, see Eileen Tabios’ great blogspot Galatea Resurrects!  https://galatearesurrects2018.blogspot.com

Martha King

Eileen is featuring King’s chapter on Frank O’Hara in her May edition. (I don’t have permission to reproduce it but there is a wonderful photograph of Frank O’Hara with Larry Rivers – who appears in this chapter – on the cover of Standing Still and Walking in New York, San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1975.)

ART Basil King Black Mountain Collage Exhibitions Martha King museums News Poetry Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

The Kings at “Creative Democracy” – The Turchin Center for Visual Arts

Three vitrines display books and broadsides by Basil King and Martha King

To celebrate the legacy of Black Mountain College, the Turchin Center for Visual Arts at Appalachian State University has mounted a show called “Creative Democracy.”  It’ll be on view until June 2, 2018.   (See previous post, “Basil King in new BMC Exhibition” posted in January.)

Twelve of Basil King’s recent bird paintings are featured, along with other Black Mountain connected art and artifacts. Basil gave a one-hour talk on his art and life as did former BMC student Frank Hursh. Martha  is represented with some of her publications in vitrines. The Kings also visited poet Joe Bethanti’s class for a lively Q&A about Black Mountain and beyond. Books by Martha and by Basil are currently for sale in the Appalachian State University bookstore. (Look on the website www.basilking.net for purchase information elsewhere!)

Here are some highlights.

Two paintings by Frank Hursh who attended BMC in 1949; King’s “Perch #4 – The Three Graces” in the middle; Pots by Peter Voulkos in vitrine.
From the top: “Perch #16” – “Perch #3” – “Sketch for Perch” – and “Perch #12” — all Basil King, 2017.
Overview.  Wall in the back begins with King’s  “Bird & Company – Cousin Green” at left and ends with “Perch #11 – November 9, 2016” on right.  Wall on left full of Dawson collages, hung too high for easy viewing, alas.
From the left – paintings by Hursh, King, Susan Weil, King again.

 

Jacob Lawrence (left) Basil King (right)

Fielding Dawson collage.  This was a cover for Dawson’s chapbook “The Shell Game”
Logo for the exhibition and the University’s semester-long BMC celebration.

 

 

 

Desk for BMC students, designed by Joseph Albers
ART Basil King Black Mountain Collage Critique Exhibitions Green Man Martha King museums News Turchin Center for the Visual Arts Writing

New Publication and an Exhibition

The online magazine Talisman has just posted issue #46 with a substantial section of critical responses to Basil King’s art and poetry…which a number of the commentators have so rightly considered together.

 

 

 

Go   www.talismanmag.net to read and see. Yes, see, as there are links to Basil’s visual art and a provocative selection of his rarely seen works on paper in Kimberly Lyons essay.

Burt Kimmelman, An Introduction to the Essays on Basil King
Mallory King, Basil King, Artist
Joshua Gardner, Between the Physical and the Cultural: Basil King
and Charles Olson’s “Herodotean Exploration.”

Mitch Highfill, Basil King and the Small Press Revolution
Vyt Bakaitis, Borne to Light: Basil King’s History Now
Laurie Duggan, Basil King and the Green Man

Vincent Katz, Some Thoughts on the Paintings and Poetics of Basil King
Burt Kimmelman, Painting, Poetry, Basil King
Martha King, “Aldgate Narcissus”: Basil King’s work in the late 1960s
Andrew Levy, Talking Pause – Reflections on Basil
Kimberly Lyons, Basil King Works on Paper: Singularity, Dyads, Families and Mass
George Quasha, Everything Is Language
Barry Schwabsky, Playing Cards and Cigarettes
Daniel Staniforth, Basil King’s Learning to Draw/ A History

 And as infomercials say, “WAIT, There’s more!”   A group of Basil’s recent paintings, a selection of his books, and a selection of my (Martha King’s) publications are now on view at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. The exhibition celebrating “Creative Democracy: The Legend of Black Mountain College” will be on view until June 2, 2018. To view the invitation, copy this into your browser:   https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/ead3a302-ecbf-4140-a4bf-5d671a4c2989.

ART Basil King Black Mountain Collage Exhibitions Martha King News Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Basil King in new BMC exhibition

Creative Democracy: The Legacy of Black Mountain College – Art and artifacts by people who were students at the now legendary North Carolina art school (1933-1956)

Exhibition opens: Friday, January 12, 2018

Exhibition Celebration: Friday, March 2, 2018 (6:00pm -10:00pm)

Exhibition ends: Saturday, June 2, 2018

Venue: Main Gallery of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina

Basil King is represented in this exhibition with twelve recent paintings.  Martha King and Basil King are represented in displays of broadsides, books and magazines in which their literary and art works appeared.

On March 1, 2018, at 6 PM Basil King will give an evening talk on his experiences as a student at BMC, its impact on his development, and his perspectives regarding the continued and growing interest in Black Mountain ideas.

He and Martha King will be attending the Exhibition Celebration the following night — 6PM to 10PM.

The exhibition is part of the campus-wide celebration of the legacy of Black Mountain College during Appalachian State University’s Spring 2018 semester.  Click this link for descriptions of the campus-wide activities.https://today.appstate.edu/2017/10/18/black-mountain-college-semester

 

 

Basil King Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) News Prose Pros series Writing

News: Martha’s memoir in A Public Space magazine

Fifty pages of my memoir Outside Inside — expertly excerpted and condensed by Brigid Hughes — is featured in issue 22 of A Public Space. With many photographs.  Issue 22 –print or digital— or an annual subscription — can be ordered here: http://apublicspace.org/magazine

While I posted announcements on Facebook in October and had a marvelous send-off at the November 2015 Prose Pros reading series at Side Walk – aided by friends Vincent Katz, Mitch Highfill, Kimberly Lyons and Burt Kimmelman, who read excerpts from my work and their own autobiographical prose – I  never posted the story on this blog.

So, once again, I have the pleasure of putting up the photograph taken by Lynn St. John back when I was 22.  Here it is as the spread in the magazine:

Spread in A Public Space, with my article and Lynn St. John's photo.
Spread in A Public Space, with my article and Lynn St. John’s photo.

While the whole manuscript (all 300-plus pages of it) awaits a publisher, check out this issue. Not only for my stories, some sad and some glorious, with Basil King, Paul Blackburn, Dan Rice, Frank O’Hara, Lucia Berlin, G.R. Swenson, Robert Duncan, Jim Rosenquist and others, but also for the entire issue which has many special pleasures and rewards. I’m very happy to be in it.

 

 

 

 

 

ART Basil King Basil King MIRAGE film Critique Exhibitions Green Man Martha King Memoir (Outside Inside) museums News Poetry Prose Readings Writing

The YEAR 2015

Just got (unrequested) a look back at 2015 from Facebook, hitting not much of much interest. Thus am prodded to do my own.

February – Baz reads at the Dia Foundation with the wonderfully multi-talented multi-named Pam Dick (Mina, Gregoire, et al) in celebration of the 2014 publication of his The Spoken Word/The Painted Hand. Marsh Hawk Press.  Available at SPD and elsewhere. (Probably even ABE’s for the pennysavers.)

 Basil King’s … mashups of art, culture, and lived experience, both minute and momentous challenge the reader out of conventional notions of art history, by a continuous attention to detail. . . .” — Kevin Killian

April – At the AWP meeting in Minneapolis. Martha speaks in a panel discussion, organized by Martha, about the influence of Black Mountain today, with C.S. Giscombe, Burt Kimmelman, Lee Ann Brown, and Vincent Katz. Later a terrific reading by Baz and C.S. Giscome and a larger group reading also including Sam Truit, Kim Lyons, Burt Kimmelman, and more, at James and Mary Laurie Booksellers

AprilIn conjunction with AWP, “Basil King: MIRAGE” a film by Nicole Peyrafitte and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte is screened at the Walker Art Center.

May – Baz is 80 years old.

June – New York premier of selections from George Quasha’s monumental Poetry Is project at Anthology Film Archives includes Quasha’s interview with Baz.

June– Martha returns to poetry with work in Bone Bouquet, 6.1. Still available:  http://www.bonebouquet.org/issue-6-1/   So too is Bone Bouquet 6.2 just out this fall. One way to reassure oneself that the era of adventurous magazine publishing is far from over is to check out this magazine.

November – Martha’s memoir Outside Inside – that is 50 pages of it, expertly excerpted and condensed by Brigid Hughes, is featured in issue 22 of A Public Space magazine.With photos of the long ago that seem fresh.  Issue 22 –print or digital—can be ordered here: http://apublicspace.org/magazine

December  short podcasts of Baz reading the following poems – and one personal recollection of TV in the early 1950s. Go here! https://soundcloud.com/joseph-terranella/sets/basil-king-2015

Basil’s Lifeboat   (1 minute 23 seconds)

Inside Delacroix’s Garden (2 minutes 14 seconds)

The Butterfly and the Rat (2 minutes 32 seconds)

Looking for the Green Man (3 minutes 53 seconds)

Highway Obstacle (4 minutes 11 seconds)

Channeling 3 – (4 minutes 18 seconds)

The Americans – The Immigrants   (6 minutes, 48 seconds)

Grey – complete (14 minutes 27 seconds)

Working in TV – from an interview (2 minutes 46 seconds)

AND MUCH TO COME IN 2016, including BASIL KING ART at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Asheville, N.C., opening SEPTEMBER 2.

Bone Bouquet, Spring 2015
Bone Bouquet, Spring 2015
Martha King reading . Photo by Sarah Kaplan.
Martha King reading in Minneapolis . Photo by Sarah Kaplan.
Baz reading at the Dia Foundation9
Baz reading at the Dia Foundation. Photo by Garth Davidson.
At the Walker Museum, April 2015
At the Walker Museum, April 2015
ART Green Man Martha King

Green Man Mystery SOLVED

My esteemed China-scholar sister Charlotte Furth solved the question I asked last year.  Who is this wildman, who currently lives in an empty fireplace in our bedroom?  We know how he got into our possession – a purchase by our grandparents, when Asian artifacts were routinely pried from their places of origin in ways that -thankfully- horrify us today.

Here he sits in the bricked up fireplace of our bedroom in Brooklyn. I give him a bit of gin now and then.  I’ve no idea what is in the hand he holds to his chest…
Here he sits in the bricked up fireplace of our bedroom in Brooklyn. I give him a bit of gin now and then. I’ve no idea what is in the hand he holds to his chest…

Charlotte said he is a god of agriculture, Shennong,  and then referred to one of her  colleagues, Susan Naquin at Princeton. Who replied:

You are right. This is Shennong 神農. First agriculturalist, culture hero, associated with medicine, known in pre-Han texts. Absolutely Chinese. I’m less clear about the history of the iconography, and most of the stuff I turned up on medicine on the web is very recent and unrestrainedly imaginative. Be careful.
The statue in question is of a type familiar to me from the late Ming or early Qing, north China, I would call this one relatively unusual and nice, but to most art historians this kind of regional ceramic showing a popular god is not a high-status or high-value item.
This “leaf” outfit is common for Shen-nong as a god…I have seen many similar objects showing instead the god Zhen-wu 真武, or Guan-yin 觀 probably Shanxi province. In the auction-market world, this format (god, seated enclosed in a kind of grotto) and these materials (琉璃瓦 lead-glazed ceramic, in turquoise, cream, aubergine)(alternate palate: green, cream, yellow) are well known.  Some were indeed “architectural” and used on the outsides of pagodas, but I believe yours was intended as a free-standing altar with figure. Halos are common in this format. I presume it is perhaps one foot high? [*YES]
A proper study of the iconography needs doing. What is he holding? At some point Shen-nong holds a yin- yang symbol, perhaps here.
音. Let me see if I can find some comparables, but my best examples are on my othercomputer. The printed-book British Museum catalogue of their ceramics edited by Jessica Harrison-Hall might be your best scholarly reference: J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics – A Catalogue of the late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum (London, British Museum Press, 2001), esp. chapter 13, 18, 19. Though there is  nothing exactly the same.

Withal, he’s just fine in our fireplace.  A friend made a small bowl for his periodic tot of gin — and there he presides.  Thank you, Charlotte and Susan.

IMG_6655_2