Sunday, July 02, 2006


Okay, my mind is officially blown! Mary Kalyna and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art today where we saw the photography collection of Julien Levy, which you can see in the Berman and Stieglitz Gallery across from the museum shop.

Mary and I never left that gallery, which was not our goal, but we were unable to shake the rooms of stunning photography for the other things we wanted to go see.

Julien Levy married Mina Loy's daughter Joella Loy, so I was excited to know Mina Loy would appear.

And MAN OH MAN does she! There is a terrific George Platt Lynes photograph of her I had never seen before, sunlight seems to be coming FROM HER rather than surrounding her! Seriously, YOU look at that photograph and tell me if Loy isn't herself the Source of the Light!

But THEN, but THEN, there's the most astonishing Joseph Cornell BOX of Mina Loy under glass titled, "Imperious Jewelry of the Universe (Lunar Baedecker)" that you won't, can't, forget! Cornell used a Man Ray photograph of Loy to center the collage, it's truly sublime!

There's an eye-popping photograph of George Sand, taken by NADAR.

The photograph I MOST want to ENTER and be INSIDE for a little time though, is the extraordinary "Yosemite" by Alvin Langdon Coburn, taken in 1911. If you've ever been to Yosemite, this photograph, more than almost any other I've ever seen, really encapsulates both the desolation and involuntary meditation of the landscape. Thank you Teddy Roosevelt for keeping Yosemite EXACTLY AS IT IS in that Coburn photograph!

The real treat (unexpected joy!) though, is Frida Kahlo. I've never seen breasts quite so beautiful! There's a letter under glass that she typed in red ink to Levy. In it she tells of the police arresting her after her affair with Trotsky. Tells of her separation from Rivera, and tells of assholes everywhere telling her to not paint such sad paintings, to which she replies fuck off! The letter was written in June of 1940, and ends with her telling Levy to spit on every German he comes across.

Already looking forward to going back. We were there until it was time to be thrown out. There are so many truly astonishing moments in the gallery, just go, you'll see what I mean!

I haven't been this excited about a photography show since Tina Modotti, which by the way I saw in that very same gallery.


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