A still-life photograph in color of 45 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse sources in the history of art, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, squarish wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Brief History of the World, 2020 (Tags 5x9)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow, squarish wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1409) 


49.0 x 50.1 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.4 x 32.2 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


Apart from photographic prints, there is also the object itself as a work.


See the following details for indications of the sources.

A still-life photograph in color of 45 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse sources in the history of art, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, squarish wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Brief History of the World, 2020 (Tags 5x9, upper left quadrant)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow, squarish wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1409)


49.0 x 50.1 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.4 x 32.2 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A1.   Narcissus from a Pompeiian fresco, 1st century BC, gazing at his reflection.
A2.   Indian or Persian painting.

A3.   “Prescription for Scolding Wives”, a satirical illustration by Robert Seymour (ca. 1820-30) of a woman being given nitrous oxide or laughing gas, whose euphoric effects were discovered in 1799 by Humphry Davy (shown administering the gas here).  Seymour also did a humorous illustration of poets at a laughing gas party.  His style resembles somewhat that of James Gillray.
A4.   “Gassed”, John Singer Sargent’s 1919 painting of a line of soldiers blinded in a mustard gas attack.
A5.   French landscape painting, with a Montgolfier or hot-air balloon in the sky, ca. 1800.


B1.   Dante Alighieri, with the Earthly Paradise in the background.
B2.   Haying scene by Thomas Hart Benton, ca. 1940s.
B3.   Illustration from an old edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
B4.   Scene of a boar hunt, Low Countries, ca. 1500.  In my research for the source I failed to find the very same miniature, but found instead an extremely similar composition from the Grimami Breviary, produced in Ghent and Bruges around 1515-20.  Both show a forest in the middle ground and the towers of a city in the background; the figures of men, dogs, and boar are almost the same.  One miniature is clearly modeled on the other, whoever the artists were or which was done first.  The dogs are alaunts, bred for ferocity and fearlessness, thus good for the hunting of a formidable prey such as the wild boar.  The Grimami was done by Gerard Horenbout with Alexander and Simon Bening, and is meant to depict the month of December.
B5.   Universal Man, illumination from Liber Divinorum Operum, or Book of Divine Works (13th century), by Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century.  Artist unknown.


C1.   Scene from Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. Really a very funny episode.  I first saw this painting with no idea of the context, and took it for a loathsome middle-aged man importuning a sweet young lady in a most vulgar manner.  In fact it shows the young Widow Wadham attempting to lure Tristram’s eccentric Uncle Toby into a kiss by complaining that she had something in her eye, and didn’t Toby see it, come closer… the totally ingenuous Toby sees nothing wrong with her eye and has no idea that she’s flirting with him.
C2.   The British Burn the Capitol, 1814, by Allyn Cox (1973-74), whose historical scenes decorate the walls and ceilings of three corridors in the House wing of the US Capitol.  Elsewhere, beneath another work by Cox, “Women’s Suffrage Parade, 1917”, there is a citation of 1816 of Thomas Jefferson: “Enlighten the People Generally and Tyranny and Oppressions of Body and Mind will Vanish like Evil Spirits at the Dawn of Day.”
C3.   The Young Mother, by Gerrit Dou, 1658.
C4.   The Synagogue, by Konrad Witz, ca. 1435, from the Heilspiegel Altarpiece.  A Jewish woman clutching tablets with inscription in - Hebrew?  some invented alphabet, or nonsense characters?  Are these the tablets of the Ten Commandments?  (Oddly enough, the characters resemble those of the Litterae ignotae or unknown letters of the language invented by the visionary Hildegarde of Bingen, the Lingua Ignota.)  It was originally paired with another painting by Witz, The Church, showing a woman in church.
C5.   Jesus Christ, from a flyer offered in a Catholic church.



A still-life photograph in color of 45 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse sources in the history of art, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, squarish wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Brief History of the World, 2020 (Tags 5x9, upper right quadrant)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow, squarish wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1409)


49.0 x 50.1 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.4 x 32.2 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A5.   French landscape painting, with a Montgolfier or hot-air balloon in the sky, ca. 1800.
A6.   Commodore Matthew C. Perry's Black Ship Arriving in Japan, August 7, 1853.  Japanese woodblock print showing the arrival in Japan of Commodore Perry’s mission.  The “black ships” comes from the Japanese term, kuurofune.  Gunboat diplomacy - “Make them an offer they cannot refuse.”
A7.   “The Landing of Roger Williams in 1636”, in what would become Providence, Rhode Island, and welcomed immediately by the indigenous people with the peace pipe.  Painting by Alonzo Chappel, 1857.
A8.   The Turkish Bath, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1862.
A9.   Boy with a Dog, by Pablo Picasso, ca. 1901.  An undernourished boy, probably a circus performer, eats a pear as he pets the head of a dog (out of view here).


B5.   Universal Man, illumination from Liber Divinorum Operum, or Book of Divine Works (13th century), by Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century.  Artist unknown.
B6.   Giselle, of the romantic ballet Giselle, by Adolphe Charles Adam, illustration of 1841.  Here Giselle is performed by the noted ballerina Carlotta Grisi. She is hovering over her own grave marker, and her name can be read on the cross.  The story regards a woman who, after her death, returns as a phantom to bewitch and drive to death the man who betrayed her in life, thus placating her soul.
B7.   Indian illustration of figure with bow, perhaps Krishna.
B8.   Concert in the Egg - men singing together, by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, 1561.
B9.   Apotheosis of George Washington, a kitschy, corny painting by John James Barralet, 1805, in which GW is drawn up straight into heaven as if he were the Virgin Mary herself.  Barralet borrowed the face of old George from the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait, as was done with the dollar bill, but seems to have emphasized Washington’s ill-fitting false teeth.


C5.   Jesus Christ, from a flyer offered in a Catholic church.
C6.   The Lady of Good Taste, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, late 1500s.
C7.   Scene from the liberation of the Bastille, 1789.
C8.   Charon Ferrying the Shades, painting by Pierre Subleyras, ca. 1735-40.
C9.   Saint Augustine in His Study, by Vittorio Carpaccio, 1502.

A still-life photograph in color of 45 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse sources in the history of art, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, squarish wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Brief History of the World, 2020 (Tags 5x9), lower left quadrant)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow, squarish wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1409)


49.0 x 50.1 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.4 x 32.2 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


C1.   Scene from Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.  Really a very funny episode.  I first saw this painting with no idea of the context, and took it for a loathsome middle-aged man importuning a sweet young lady in a most vulgar manner.  In fact it shows the young Widow Wadham attempting to lure Tristram’s eccentric Uncle Toby into a kiss by complaining that she had something in her eye, and didn’t Toby see it, come closer… The totally ingenuous Toby sees nothing wrong with her eye and has no idea that she’s flirting with him.
C2.   The British Burn the Capitol, 1814, by Allyn Cox (1973-74), whose historical scenes decorate the walls and ceilings of three corridors in the House wing of the US Capitol. Elsewhere, beneath another work by Cox, “Women’s Suffrage Parade, 1917”, there is a citation of 1816 of Thomas Jefferson: “Enlighten the People Generally and Tyranny and Oppressions of Body and Mind will Vanish like Evil Spirits at the Dawn of Day.”
C3.   The Young Mother, by Gerrit Dou, 1658.
C4.   The Synagogue, by Konrad Witz, ca. 1435, from the Heilspiegel Altarpiece.  A Jewish woman clutching tablets with inscription in - Hebrew? some invented alphabet, or nonsense characters?  Are these the tablets of the Ten Commandments?  (Oddly enough, the characters resemble those of the Litterae ignotae or unknown letters of the language invented by the visionary Hildegarde of Bingen, the Lingua Ignota.)  It was originally paired with another painting by Witz, The Church, showing a woman in church.
C5.   Jesus Christ, from a flyer offered in a Catholic church.


D1.   King David playing his harp for the Lord, from a medieval illuminated manuscript in Hebrew.
D2.   Enslaved people at work on George Washington’s farm in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
D3.   “The Chastising of the Infant Jesus”, painting by Max Ernst. What ever did that little baby do to deserve such a spanking?
D4.   Cupid and Psyche, by Jacques-Louis David, 1817.  Cupid with probably the best smirk ever rendered in paint, and Psyche looking very contented.
D5.   Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by animals.  1600s, by a Dutch or German artist.


E1.   A red-hot babe from a movie poster or the cover of a pulp novel.
E2.   Theodore Roosevelt as the prow of a battleship christened “The Big Stick”, a satirical illustration from the time of the Spanish-American War.
E3.   The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David, 1787.  Socrates about to drink the hemlock to fulfill his death sentence.
E4.   “Six Stages of Mending a Face, Dedicated with Respect to the Right Hon.ble Lady Archer”, May 29, 1792, by Thomas Rowlandson.  Although it seems a common harlot preparing herself for work, it portrays a real woman of society, often mocked for her vanity and her use of cosmetics, getting ready for a masquerade.  Similar to the style of James Gillray.
E5.   Lolan the Beauty, a mummy about 3800 years old, found in East Turkistan, the Xinjiang region of modern China.  It is said that her eyelashes and her hair are in pretty good condition.

A still-life photograph in color of 45 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse sources in the history of art, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, squarish wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Brief History of the World, 2020 (Tags 5x9, lower right quadrant)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow, squarish wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1409)


49.0 x 50.1 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.4 x 32.2 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


C5.   Jesus Christ, from a flyer offered in a Catholic church.
C6.   The Lady of Good Taste, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, late 1500s. 

C7.   Scene from the liberation of the Bastille, 1789.
C8.   Charon Ferrying the Shades, painting by Pierre Subleyras, ca. 1735-40.
C9.   Saint Augustine in His Study, by Vittorio Carpaccio, 1502.


D5.   Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by animals. 1600s, by a Dutch or German artist.
D6.   Oedipus and the Sphinx, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1808. 

D7.   Slave market, in western Africa I think.
D8.   Ophelia, from Hamlet (the famous one), drowned in a stream, by Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, 1851-52.
D9.   The Underground Railroad, by Hale Woodruff, 1942. Part of a series of Woodruff’s murals at Talladega College in Alabama.  The rest of the scene here, cropped out at left, depicts a small group of people about to cross the Ohio River, where they would be free - the last stop on the Underground Railroad.  A steamboat approaches which will take them across to Ohio.  At left, a coach is speeding away, which perhaps brought the refugees to this point.  The top-hatted man, probably a local collaborator, is passing a letter to someone else (who has a Quaker beard) out of the crop, another “conductor”, as a boy sits on his lap.  There is a basket of provisions for the journey.


E5.   Lolan the Beauty, a mummy about 3800 years old, found in East Turkistan, the Xinjiang region of modern China.  It is said that her eyelashes and her hair are in pretty good condition.
E6.   Stag at Sharkey’s, by George Bellows, 1909, a boxing match.
E7.   Sir Walter Raleigh and His Son, 1602.  Artist unknown.
E8.   Two horses’ hindquarters, by Théodore Géricault, early 1800s.  I don’t know if Géricault had anything symbolic in mind, or just an anatomical/formal interest in these horses’ asses.
E9.   My signature, made with a scan of my baby bracelet.

A Brief History of the World” (Tags 5x9), Inventory #1409 (photographed in three sections).
Box dimensions 58,0 x 59,0 cm., depth 6,0 cm.. Total of 45 tags.


Near the end of this section of the site is a short video of the work, with sound. 


These notes appear also in the captions of the four details of the four quadrants of the work, divided into subsets of fifteen each.  It's probably handier for the viewer to consult these captions while viewing the details.  Still, I provide the complete list here.

Rows A-E go from top to bottom, columns 1-9 from left to right:


Row A
A1.   Narcissus from a Pompeiian fresco, 1st century BC, gazing at his reflection.
A2.   Indian or Persian painting.
A3.   “Prescription for Scolding Wives”, a satirical illustration by Robert Seymour (ca. 1820-30) of a woman being given nitrous oxide or laughing gas, whose euphoric effects were discovered in 1799 by Humphry Davy (shown administering the gas here). Seymour also did a humorous illustration of poets at a laughing gas party.  His style resembles somewhat that of James Gillray,
A4.   “Gassed”, John Singer Sargent’s 1919 painting of a line of soldiers blinded in a mustard gas attack.
A5.   French landscape painting, with a Montgolfier or hot-air balloon in the sky, ca. 1800.  By the way, I didn't realize at first that this and the previous two tags all had "gas" somehow as a theme.  
A6.   Commodore Matthew C. Perry's Black Ship Arriving in Japan, August 7, 1853.  Japanese woodblock print showing the arrival in Japan of Commodore Perry’s mission.  The “black ships” comes from the Japanese term, kuurofune.  Gunboat diplomacy - “Make them an offer they cannot refuse.
A7.   “The Landing of Roger Williams in 1636”, in what would become Providence, Rhode Island, and welcomed immediately by the indigenous people with the peace pipe.  Painting by Alonzo Chappel, 1857.
A8.   The Turkish Bath, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1862.
A9.   Boy with a Dog, by Pablo Picasso, ca. 1901.  An undernourished boy, probably a circus performer, eats a pear as he pets the head of a dog (out of view here).

Row B
B1.   Dante Alighieri, with the Earthly Paradise in the background.
B2.   Haying scene by Thomas Hart Benton, ca. 1940s.
B3.   Illustration from an old edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
B4.   Scene of a boar hunt, Low Countries, ca. 1500.  In my research for the source I failed to find the very same miniature, but found instead an extremely similar composition from the Grimami Breviary, produced in Ghent and Bruges around 1515-20.  Both show a forest in the middle ground and the towers of a city in the background; the figures of men, dogs, and boar are almost the same.  One miniature is clearly modeled on the other, whoever the artists were or which was done first.  The dogs are alaunts, bred for ferocity and fearlessness, thus good for the hunting of a formidable prey such as the wild boar.  The Grimami was done by Gerard Horenbout with Alexander and Simon Bening, and is meant to depict the month of December.
B5.   Universal Man, illumination from Liber Divinorum Operum, or Book of Divine Works (13th century), by Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century.  Artist unknown. 
B6.   Giselle, of the romantic ballet Giselle, by Adolphe Charles Adam, illustration of 1841.  Here Giselle is performed by the noted ballerina Carlotta Grisi.  She is hovering over her own grave marker, and her name can be read on the cross.  The story regards a woman who, after her death, returns as a phantom to bewitch and drive to death the man who betrayed her in life, thus placating her soul.
B7.   Indian illustration of figure with bow, perhaps Krishna.
B8.   Concert in the Egg - men singing together, by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, 1561.
B9.   Apotheosis of George Washington, a kitschy, corny painting by John James Barralet, 1805, in which GW is drawn up straight into heaven as if he were the Virgin Mary herself.  Barralet borrowed the face of old George from the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait - as was done with the dollar bill - but seems to have emphasized Washington’s ill-fitting false teeth.

Row C
C1.   Scene from Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.  Really a very funny episode.  I first saw this painting with no idea of the context, and took it for a loathsome middle-aged man importuning a sweet young lady in a most vulgar manner.  In fact it shows the young Widow Wadham attempting to lure Tristram’s eccentric Uncle Toby into a kiss by complaining that she had something in her eye, and didn’t Toby see it, come closer… the totally ingenuous Toby sees nothing wrong with her eye and has no idea that she’s flirting with him.
C2.   The British Burn the Capitol, 1814, by Allyn Cox (1973-74), whose historical scenes decorate the walls and ceilings of three corridors in the House wing of the US Capitol.  Elsewhere, beneath another work by Cox, “Women’s Suffrage Parade, 1917”, there is a citation of 1816 of Thomas Jefferson:  “Enlighten the People Generally and Tyranny and Oppressions of Body and Mind will Vanish like Evil Spirits at the Dawn of Day.
C3.   The Young Mother, by Gerrit Dou, 1658.
C4.   The Synagogue, by Konrad Witz, ca. 1435, from the Heilspiegel Altarpiece.  A Jewish woman clutching tablets with inscription in - Hebrew?  Some invented alphabet, or nonsense characters?  Are these the tablets of the Ten Commandments?  (Oddly enough, the characters resemble those of the Litterae ignotae or unknown letters of the language invented by the visionary Hildegarde of Bingen, the Lingua Ignota.) It was originally paired with another painting by Witz, The Church, showing a woman in church.
C5.   Jesus Christ, from a flyer offered in a Catholic church.
C6.   The Lady of Good Taste, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, late 1500s. 
C7.   Scene from the liberation of the Bastille, 1789.
C8.   Charon Ferrying the Shades, painting by Pierre Subleyras, ca. 1735-40.
C9.   Saint Augustine in His Study, by Vittorio Carpaccio, 1502.

Row D
D1.   King David playing his harp for the Lord, from a medieval illuminated manuscript in Hebrew.
D2.   Enslaved people at work on George Washington’s farm in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
D3.   “The Chastising of the Infant Jesus”, painting by Max Ernst.  What ever did that little baby do to deserve such a spanking?
D4.   Cupid and Psyche, by Jacques-Louis David, 1817.  Cupid with probably the best smirk ever rendered in paint, and Psyche looking very contented.
D5.   Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by animals.  1600s, by a Dutch or German artist.
D6.   Oedipus and the Sphinx, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1808.
D7.   Slave market, in western Africa I think.
D8.   Ophelia, from Hamlet (the famous one), drowned in a stream, by Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, 1851-52.
D9.   The Underground Railroad, by Hale Woodruff, 1942.  Part of a series of Woodruff’s murals at Talladega College in Alabama.  The rest of the scene here, cropped out at left, depicts a small group of people about to cross the Ohio River, where they would be free - the last stop on the Underground Railroad.  A  steamboat approaches which will take them across to Ohio.  At left, a coach is speeding away, which perhaps brought the refugees to this point.  The top-hatted man, probably a local collaborator, is passing a letter to someone else (who has a Quaker beard) out of the crop, another “conductor”, as a boy sits on his lap.  There is a basket of provisions for the journey.

Row E
E1.   A red-hot babe from a movie poster or the cover of a pulp novel.
E2.   Theodore Roosevelt as the prow of a battleship christened “The Big Stick”, a satirical illustration from the time of the Spanish-American War.
E3.   The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David, 1787. Socrates about to drink the hemlock to fulfill his death sentence.
E4.   “Six Stages of Mending a Face, Dedicated with Respect to the Right Hon.ble Lady Archer”, May 29, 1792, by Thomas Rowlandson.  Although it seems a common harlot preparing herself for work, it portrays a real woman of society, often mocked for her vanity and her use of cosmetics, getting ready for a masquerade.  Similar to the style of James Gillray.
E5.   Lolan the Beauty, a mummy about 3800 years old, found in East Turkistan, the Xinjiang region of modern China.  It is said that her eyelashes and her hair are in pretty good condition.
E6.   Stag at Sharkey’s, by George Bellows, 1909, a boxing match.
E7.   Sir Walter Raleigh and His Son, 1602.  Artist unknown.
E8.   Two horses’ hindquarters, by Théodore Géricault, early 1800s.  I don’t know whether Géricault had something symbolic in mind, or just an anatomical/formal interest in these horses’ asses.

E9.   A scan of my baby bracelet, as a sort of signature.


All clippings and other images were cut to fit the tags I used, and so of course are “details”, which I don’t bother to specify in the notes for individual tags In the above index.


© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020.  All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.




A still-life photograph in color of 48 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse photographic sources, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Homage, 2020 (Tags 4x12)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1413)


73.6 x 120.2 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

25.3 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 873ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


Apart from photographic prints, there is also the object itself as a work, measuring 45 x 74.8 cm., the box 4.8 cm deep (7.9 cm. deep including wooden rails on back). 


See the following details for indications of the sources.

A still-life photograph in color of 48 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse photographic sources, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Homage, 2020 (Tags 4x12, left third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1413)


73.6 x 120.2 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

25.3 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 873ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A1.   A Nazi parade in Yaphank Long Island, 1930s.
A2.   The author John Rechy, busy with his sideline as a hustler.  He is standing on the steps of a Baptist church.
A3.   John Wilkes Booth, actor and Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
A4.   Pavel Krushevan, Russian antisemite and propagandist who in 1903 wrote and published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported falsely to be the work of a Jewish cabal.  Photo of 1900.


B1.   An American soldier during the liberation of Leipzig, April 18, 1945, as he captures two German snipers who, a few minutes before, had killed this soldier’s platoon mate, Raymond J. Bowman of Rochester, NY.  He seems barely able to restrain himself from just shooting them both in rage.  Photograph by Robert Capa, who was right behind Bowman, while Bowman was operating a machine gun from the balcony of a building, and photographed him just moments before and after his death.  Maybe it was only Capa’s presence with his camera that saved these Germans’ lives that day.
B2.   Ansell H. Beam, gunshot wound to the head, 6 April, 1865, Farmville, Virginia.  A Union soldier from the Civil War who has suffered brain damage from a bullet to the head.
B3.   Spectators at the first experimental detonation of an atomic bomb, July 17, 1945, in New Mexico.  These are Manhattan Project scientists and dignitaries, casually dressed, observing the detonation of a nuclear bomb - as if it were some kind of show.  They were some 10,000 yards away from the blast, almost six miles.
B4.   The sword of a Japanese soldier about to execute a Korean (Chinese?) prisoner, during the Japanese occupation of Korea (China?), ca. 1938.  The prisoner is seen at B11 of the 4x27 piece.  Parentheses, because a Korean blog shows the same photo in the context of the Japanese occupation of Korea, while a Vietnamese blog presents this photo as from the Japanese occupation of China, also giving the year 1938.


C1.   J. Edgar Hoover, G-man extraordinaire, with his lieutenant and boon companion Clyde Tolson.
C2.   Billy the Kid, outlaw, photograph of 1881 at the latest.
C3.   Theodore Roosevelt (the lower 4/5ths) playing Cowboys and Indians.
C4.   Japanese actor from a film of about 1950, retreating into the rain at the conclusion.  Somehow I think it’s Ozu, but I haven’t been able to find this image again.


D1.   A British naturalist - I forget his name and his story - crouching in a meadow under an umbrella.  He said that he had “a mystical connection with nature”.
D2.   Segregated Water Fountains, North Carolina, 1950, by Elliott Erwitt.  A black man taking a drink from the “colored” fountain.
D3.   Untitled (Prisoner #389 of the Khmer Rouge), 1975-79, by Nhem Ein (or En).  A Cambodian man, soon to be executed by the Khmer Rouge.  Hardly more than a boy himself, En was the staff photographer at the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison, or S-21, where some 17,000 were registered, photographed, imprisoned, and tortured before being executed.  Some were only children.  Only a handful of prisoners - perhaps eight - escaped this fate.
D4.   A cross burning at a Ku Klux Klan “ceremony”.

A still-life photograph in color of 48 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse photographic sources, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Homage, 2020 (Tags 4x12, middle third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1413)


73.6 x 120.2 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

25.3 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 873ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A5.   A still showing the Kiss of Judas, from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film The Passion According to Saint Matthew.
A6.   A young woman running on the beach, from One Hour at Land. Photograph by Robert Frank, ca. 1950.
A7.   The head of a Buddha.
A8.   Two Jewish boys in the ghetto of a Polish city.


B5.   Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn while a political prisoner in the Gulag, ca. 1949-50.
B6.   A French soldier dressed up for chemical warfare.
B7.   Walt Whitman, poet.
B8.   John Brown, insurrectionist and “premature” antislavery fighter.


C5.   Indigenous man of the Selk’nam Hain people of Tierra del Fuego, in the guise of Uten, a clownlike male spirit.  Photograph by Martin Gusinde, 1923.  Gusinde was a German priest who found his true calling in ethnography and anthropology.
C6.   Sophie Scholl, a founding member of Die Weisse Rose, or The White Rose, the small group of anti-Nazi dissidents in Munich in 1942, who were arrested for passing out leaflets.  She and her brother Hans were guillotined for their beliefs, which were religious, moral, and ethical.
C7.   Emily Dickinson, poet.  She also appears in C14 of “A Landscape Painted in Tea”, the 4x27 piece, and in U5 of the eight-tag pieces.
C8.   József Tibor Fejes, posing with an AK-47, or Kalashnikov (the name of the inventor who designed the weapon) captured from Soviet forces in Budapest during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.  Fejes always wore a bowler, and so was known by his comrades as Keménykalapos, or the Man in the Bowler hat.  Photo possibly by Michael Rougier of Life magazine.  Fejes was much photographed and was very recognizable.  Tragically this resulted in his arrest and execution at the hands of the state when the uprising was crushed by the Soviets.  Rougier later regretted his role in putting Fejes at risk. Too late.


D5.   The Yale rowing team, ca.1930.
D6.   Tourists on safari posing proudly and happily with an elephant they have just murdered.
D7.   King Leopold II of Belgium, one of the worst racist, colonialist bastards of them all.
D8.   Mendiant Aveugle, or blind beggar, 1934, a photograph by Dora Maar. Maar was a noted Surrealist artist-photographer, and for a time the lover of Pablo Picasso.

A still-life photograph in color of 48 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from diverse photographic sources, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow, horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Homage, 2020 (Tags 4x12, right third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box, photographed in three sections and reassembled.  (id#1413)


73.6 x 120.2 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

25.3 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 873ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A9.   Émile Henry, an anarchist who was guillotined for his terror bombing at the Café Terminal in Paris, 1894.
A10.   Bert Williams, the American performer.
A11.   Nguyen Ai Quoc before took the name Ho Chi Minh at the Congress of French Socialist Party, Tours, 29 Dec. 1920.  Uncle Ho as a very young man.   I sense that many of the other attendees are not taking this little man very seriously.
A12.   Col. George Armstrong Custer, who was killed along with all his men in 1876 at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.


B9.   Men in a southern US town observing a lynching. Various expressions of sick amusement.  The man in the foreground looks like he’s having an orgasm.
B10.   Congress of the East German Communist Party. Future Prime Minister Erich Honecker is at left.
B11.   Aimee Semple McPherson, often called Sister Aimee, a revivalist preacher who often dressed as a motorcycle cop to deliver a sermon entitled “Arrested for Speeding”, 1920s.  She shared the usual obsessions of born-again Christians, but she had a genius for publicity (like P.T. Barnum).  For a sermon against Darwin and evolution, she battled a cardboard “gorilla” as part of her sermon.  (For this she was dressed more like Fay Wray at the end of King Kong.)
B12.   Chinese soldiers at Tienanmen Square at the time of the murderous crackdown on the peaceful pro-democracy protest, 1989.


C9.   Adolf Hitler in 1899, at about ten years of age.
C10.   Toussaint Louverture, who led Haiti’s successful slave revolt and the Haitian Revolution.
C11.   Korean “comfort women” held captive by Japanese forces occupying China during the Second World War for the enjoyment of the soldiers, Tenchong, China, Sept. 7, 1944.  Cropped out of the original photo here is a smiling Japanese soldier.  The pregnant woman at right is Park Young-shim, who testified later to the world about the existence of the comfort women.
C12.   An artist’s rendition of an early hominid.  I’m struck by how intelligent and sensitive he seems.


D9.   Playwright Alfred Jarry, the creator of Père Ubu, cycling through the streets of Paris.
D10.   Part of a postcard showing Brigham Young and 21 of his wives. He may have had as many as forty.
D11.   Josef Stalin as a young man, in a police photograph, I think.
D12.   Henry Morton Stanley at age 31, 1872, posing with a young retainer, before he went on to find Dr. Livingstone.

Homage” (Tags 4x12), Inv. #1413 (photographed in three sections).  
Box dimensions 45,0 x 74,9 cm., depth 4,8 cm. (7,9 with back rails).  Total of 48 tags.


These notes appear also in the captions of the three details of the work in thirds, divided into subsets of sixteen each.  It's probably handier for the viewer to consult these captions while viewing the details.  Still, the complete list is provided here.


Near the end of this section of the site is a short video of the work, with sound.


Rows A-D go from top to bottom, columns 1-12 from left to right.


Row A
A1.   A Nazi parade in Yaphank, Long Island, 1930s.
A2.   The author John Rechy, busy at his sideline as a hustler.  He is standing on the steps of a Baptist church.
A3.   John Wilkes Booth, actor and Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
A4.   Pavel Krushevan, Russian antisemite and propagandist who in 1903 wrote and published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported falsely to be the work of a cabal of Jews; photo of 1900.
A5.   A still showing the Kiss of Judas, from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film The Passion According to Saint Matthew.
A6.   A young woman running on the beach, from One Hour at Land. Photograph by Robert Frank, ca. 1950.
A7.   The head of a Buddha.
A8.   Two Jewish boys in the ghetto of a Polish city.
A9.   Émile Henry, an anarchist who was guillotined for his terror bombing of the Café Terminal in Paris, 1894.
A10.   Bert Williams, the American performer.
A11.   Nguyen Ai Quoc before took the name Ho Chi Minh at the Congress of French Socialist Party, Tours, 29 Dec. 1920.  Uncle Ho as a very young man.  I sense that many of the other attendees are not taking this little man very seriously.
A12.   Col. George Armstrong Custer, who was killed along with all his men in 1876 at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.


Row B
B1.   An American soldier during the liberation of Leipzig, April 18, 1945, as he captures two German snipers who, a few minutes before, had killed this soldier’s platoon mate, Raymond J. Bowman of Rochester, NY.  He seems barely able to restrain himself from just shooting them both in rage.  Photograph by Robert Capa, who was right behind Bowman, while Bowman was operating a machine gun from the balcony of a building, and photographed him just moments before and after his death.  Maybe it was only Capa’s presence with his camera that saved these Germans’ lives that day.
B2.   Ansell H. Beam, gunshot wound to the head, 6 April, 1865, Farmville, Virginia. A Union soldier from the Civil War who has suffered brain damage from a bullet to the head.
B3.   Spectators at the first experimental detonation of an atomic bomb, July 17, 1945, in New Mexico.  These are Manhattan Project scientists and dignitaries, casually dressed, observing the detonation of a nuclear bomb - as if it were some kind of show.  They were some 10,000 yards away from the blast, almost six miles.
B4.   The sword of a Japanese soldier about to execute a Korean (Chinese?) prisoner, during the Japanese occupation of Korea (China?), ca. 1938.  The prisoner is seen at B11 of "A Landscape Painted with Tea", the 4x27 piece.  Parentheses, because a Korean blog shows the same photo in the context of the Japanese occupation of Korea, while a Vietnamese blog presents this photo as from the Japanese occupation of China, also giving the year 1938.
B5.   Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn while a political prisoner in the Gulag, ca. 1949-50.
B6.   A French soldier dressed up for chemical warfare.
B7.   Walt Whitman, poet.
B8.   John Brown, insurrectionist and “premature” antislavery fighter.
B9.   Men in a southern US town observing a lynching.  Various expressions of sick amusement.  The man in the foreground looks like he’s having an orgasm.
B10.   Congress of the East German Communist Party.  Future Prime Minister Erich Honecker is at left.
B11.   Aimee Semple McPherson, often called Sister Aimee, a revivalist preacher who often dressed as a motorcycle cop to deliver a sermon entitled “Arrested for Speeding”, 1920s.  She shared the usual obsessions of born-again Christians, but she had a genius for publicity (like P.T. Barnum).  For a sermon against Darwin and evolution, she battled a cardboard “gorilla” as part of her sermon.  (For this she was dressed more like Fay Wray at the end of King Kong.)
B12.   Chinese soldiers at Tienanmen Square at the time of the murderous crackdown on the peaceful pro-democracy protest, 1989.


Row C
C1.   J. Edgar Hoover, G-man extraordinaire, with his lieutenant and boon companion Clyde Tolson.
C2.   Billy the Kid, outlaw, photograph of 1881 at the latest.
C3.   Theodore Roosevelt (the lower 4/5ths) playing Cowboys and Indians.
C4.   Japanese actor from a film of about 1950, retreating into the rain at the conclusion.  Somehow I think it’s Ozu, but I haven’t been able to find this image again.
C5.   Indigenous man of the Selk’nam Hain people of Tierra del Fuego, in the guise of Uten, a clownlike male spirit.  Photograph by Martin Gusinde, 1923.  Gusinde was a German priest who found his true calling in ethnography and anthropology.
C6.   Sophie Scholl, a founding member of Die Weisse Rose, or The White Rose, the small group of anti-Nazi dissidents in Munich in 1942, who were arrested for passing out leaflets.  She and her brother Hans were guillotined for their beliefs, which were religious, moral, and ethical.
C7.   Emily Dickinson, poet.  She also appears in C14 of “A Landscape Painted in Tea”, the 4x27 piece, and in U5 of the eight-tag pieces.
C8.   József Tibor Fejes, posing with an AK-47, or Kalashnikov (the name of the inventor who designed the weapon) captured from Soviet forces in Budapest during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.  Fejes always wore a bowler, and so was known by his comrades as Keménykalapos, or the Man in the Bowler Hat.  Photo possibly by Michael Rougier of Life magazine.  Fejes was much photographed and was very recognizable.  Tragically this resulted in his arrest and execution at the hands of the state when the uprising was crushed by the Soviets.  Rougier later regretted his role in putting Fejes at risk.  Too late.
C9.   Adolf Hitler in 1899, at about ten years of age.
C10.   Toussaint Louverture, who led Haiti’s successful slave revolt and the Haitian Revolution.
C11.   Korean “comfort women” held captive by Japanese forces occupying China during the Second World War for the enjoyment of the soldiers, Tenchong, China, Sept. 7, 1944.  Cropped out of the original photo here is a smiling Japanese soldier.  The pregnant woman at right is Park Young-shim, whose testified later to the world about the existence of the comfort women.
C12.   An artist’s rendition of an early hominid.  I’m struck by how intelligent and sensitive he seems.

Row D
D1.   A British naturalist - I forget his name and his story - crouching in a meadow under an umbrella.  He said that he had “a mystical connection with nature”.
D2.   Segregated Water Fountains, North Carolina, 1950, by Elliott Erwitt.  A black man taking a drink from the “colored” fountain.
D3.   Untitled (Prisoner #389 of the Khmer Rouge), 1975-79, by Nhem Ein (or En). A Cambodian man, soon to be executed by the Khmer Rouge.  Hardly more than a boy himself, En was the staff photographer at the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison, or S-21, where some 17,000 were registered, photographed, imprisoned, and tortured before being executed.  Some were only children.  Only a handful of prisoners - perhaps eight - escaped this fate.
D4.   A cross burning at a Ku Klux Klan “ceremony”.
D5.   The Yale rowing team, ca.1930.
D6.   Tourists on safari posing proudly and happily with an elephant they have just murdered.
D7.   King Leopold II of Belgium, one of the worst racist, colonialist bastards of all time.
D8.   Mendiant Aveugle, or blind beggar, 1934, a photograph by Dora Maar.  Maar was a noted Surrealist artist-photographer, and for a time the lover and muse of Pablo Picasso.
D9.   Playwright Alfred Jarry, the creator of Père Ubu, cycling through the streets of Paris.
D10.   Part of a postcard showing Brigham Young and 21 of his wives.  He may have had as many as forty.
D11.   Josef Stalin as a young man, in a police photograph I think.
D12.   Henry Morton Stanley at age 31, 1872, posing with a young retainer, before he went on to find Dr. Livingstone.


© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020.  All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.




A still-life photograph in color of 108 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history, hung with wire from pegs in a very long horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Landscape Painted with Tea, 2020 (Tags 4x27)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a long, shallow wooden box, photographed in seven sections and reassembled.  (id#1415)


73.8 x 262.6 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

11.6 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 1908ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


Apart from photographic prints, there is also the object itself as a work, measuring 44.4 x 164.0 cm., the box 4.5 cm deep.


See the following details for indications of the sources.

A still-life photograph in color of 108 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history, hung with wire from pegs in a very long horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Landscape Painted with Tea, 2020 (Tags 4x27), left third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a long, shallow wooden box, photographed in seven sections and reassembled.  (id#1415)


73.8 x 262.6 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

11.6 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 1908ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A1.   Head of Cleopatra, drawing, Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca.1533-34.
A2.   Frederick Douglass attacked by thugs at American Anti-Slavery Society meeting, Pendleton, Indiana, 1843, engraving.
A3.   The Comet of 1007, from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.
A4.   “Stormtroops Advancing Under Gas”, etching and aquatint by Otto Dix, 1924. Grenade-wielding soldier from the First World War.  I saw this about 2015 at the MART of Rovereto in Trentino, Italy, which presented an exhibition commemorating the centennial of the Great War.
A5.   The Hill Cumorah, painting by Carl Christian Anton Christensen, 1800s.  The angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church. (Joseph Smith appears in D21.)
A6.   The Flaying of Saint Bartholomew, an apostle of the first century AD who established the early church in Armenia.  Illustrations of Bartholomew have had their part in the history of medical and anatomical illustration.  Legend has it that he was skinned for having converted a local king against the wishes of some others.
A7.   US Army Private Lynndee England abusing a prisoner at Abu Ghraib, 2003, dishonoring herself, her service, her flag, and her country.  Drawing by R. Crumb from a photo in Time magazine, 2005.  I wonder if she has come to feel ashamed of what she did, or if she is simply and incorrigibly morally retarded.
A8.   A young girl getting raped by a Turkish soldier during a war in the Balkans, in an engraving by Austrian artist Gottfried Sieben.  The remarkable thing about this series of engravings, called Balkangreuel, or Balkan Horror, other than the vicious stereotypes of the Turks, is that Sieben managed to combine horror with pornographic appeal, a pretty sick combination.  Another picture from this series is found at M1 of the eight-tag photographs.
A9.   The Marquis de Sade, in an allegorical portrait by H. Biberstein, 1912.


B1.   A medieval scholar working on a chart, perhaps astrological.
B2.   Death operating a water pump, illustrating the ease with which infectious diseases spread.  (Another part of the same illustration is found at L1, an eight-piece selection of tags.)
B3.   El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid, or The Third of May, 1808, by Francisco Goya, 1814.  Men being executed by firing squad.
B4.   Leo Frank, unjustly convicted of murder, and lynched by an antisemitic mob in Georgia, 1915.
B5.   A drawing of diatoms, by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist.
B6.   Diagram of the system of veins of the forearm. Broadly, 1500-1700.
B7.   “The Great Masturbator, And the Country He Rode in On”, photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin, 2017.  Witkin engaged a Trump look-alike for this photograph.  Ordinarily Witkin doesn’t create political photographs, but for this and a recreation of Thèodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, featuring George W. Bush and several associates, he outdid himself.
B8.   A satirical illustration by John Leech, 1848, showing the hypocrisy of the existence of slavery in the supposedly democratic USA.
B9.   Y no hai remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done) - Plate 15 of Los Desastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War, by Francesco Goya, ca.1810–23.  A man being executed by firing squad.


C1.   Mesmerist and patient, ca.1795.
C2.   Gulliver bidding farewell to the Houyhnhnms, from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726).
C3.   A French nobleman (with a tremendous hat or wig) taking tea with an equally fashionable lady, out of view here.  The picture on the wall shows two demons drinking as well.
C4.   Christians being hung and disemboweled.
C5.   Meeting between indigenous people and whites - New England or Virginia?
C6.   Man flagellating himself in penance, from an engraving by Albrecht Dürer.
C7.   A bris, or ritual Jewish circumcision.  As small as the illustration is, the baby seems to be just reacting to the pain of the cut.
C8.   One of the series “The Seven Deadly Sins”, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1556-58.  In the foreground we can read “superbia”, i.e. vanity or pride.
C9.   Two men visiting a Wunderkammer, or chamber of wonders, filled with many marvelous artifacts of animal life.  Fish, crab, starfish, a tusk…the other wall is seen in N2.  From Ferrante Imperato, Room of Curiosities, engraving 1599, Naples, Italy.  Imperato was a pharmacist and naturalist who set up his own chamber of curiosities.


D1.   Enslaved man attempting to escape his pursuers.
D2.   Sleeping woman in chains.
D3.   Anna Pavlova as Aspicia in Marius Petipa's The Pharaoh’s Daughter, 1906. The famed Russian ballerina, shooting with a bow and arrow.
D4.   The Old Man, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1523-25.  Death kindly escorting an old man - straight into the grave.
D5.   Men shoveling barley in a malthouse. British, 1800s.
D6.   Man at his writing table - perhaps Montesquieu, or Voltaire.  I don’t find again this engraving again, and the fashions of those days are too unfamiliar to me to judge a year.  European men were wearing wigs for 200 years!
D7.   The Martyrdom of St. Alban, by Matthew Paris, ca. 1250-60.  I couldn’t make sense of this old illumination, in which the eyes are falling out of the executioner’s head, so I did some research that of course I must share.  According to legend (of ca. 200-300 AD), Alban was a wealthy pagan of Verulamium, the ancient town of Roman Britain (near present-day St. Albans), who hosted a wandering Christian priest, Amphibalus, and was then converted.  The local authorities were enraged, and determined to arrest and execute Amphibalus.  Alban saved the priest by exchanging clothes and allowing him to escape, but was then beheaded in Amphibalus’ stead.  His hair was tied to a tree branch, and at the moment the sword came down on Alban’s head, the executioners eyes fell out.  This miraculous sight (no joke intended) provoked many more conversions (and another round of martyrs’ deaths).  For his part, Matthew Paris was an English Benedictine monk, a miniaturist, and a cartographer.
D8.   Obelisk in a garden, with skulls and bones decorating the nearby columns.
D9.   Captain John Smith taken captive by Powhatans, color engraving from the Generall Historie of Virginia, by Captain Smith, 1624.  The capture of Smith by the Powhatans, who dance their victory.  In the drawing is written “Their Triumph about him. C. Smith bound to a tree to be shott to death 1607”.

A still-life photograph in color of 108 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history, hung with wire from pegs in a very long horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Landscape Painted with Tea, 2020 (Tags 4x27, middle third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a long, shallow wooden box, photographed in seven sections and reassembled.  (id#1415)


73.8 x 262.6 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

11.6 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 1908ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A10.   A German woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, publ. 1499, an illustration for Das Narrenschiff, or The Ship of Fools, or Stultifera navis, by Sebastian Brant, a satiric poet.  The wheel has to do with happiness or luck.  Of the three figures, one is an ass from the middle down, another an ass from the middle up, and the other is a complete ass.
A11.   The Death of Captain Cook, 15 Feb. 1779, Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, engraving by John Rickman.
A12.   Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) offering eternal fire to Gushtasb from the Shāhnameh, or Book of Kings, by Persian poet Firdawsi (ca. 940-1026 AD).  Illustration (artist not known) 13thC, Tehran. Zoroaster in a state of divine illumination.
A13.   Le midi, part of the series Les heures du jour, etching-engravings by Emmanuel Jean Nepomucène de Ghendt after originals by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin, ca. 1778.  A young French noblewoman taking her pleasure on a hot summer day.  Risqué in its time, very subtle for ours - it’s understood that she has been masturbating.
A14.   The Triumph of Christ, ca. 1965, by visionary artist Ernst Fuchs.
A15.   An old English etching of a girl playing horsey on a fence.
A16.   Indian drawing of a warrior, perhaps Banasura, who had 1000 arms.
A17.   The Tree of Life, a diagram of the classes of animals, 1879, by Ernst Haeckel, the great naturalist, artist, and contemporary of Darwin.
A18.   French engraving of the Sun God - or some esoteric notion, ca. 1600-1700.


B10.   Shrunken men, about two feet tall, on display at the Museum of the American Indian.  I lived for years in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, a short walk form the museum (whose collections have since been moved downtown), so I got to know these guys well.  It always amused me that, while the figure on the right looks typically “Indian” - indigenous person of the Amazon jungle - the one on the left has sandy blond hair, mustache and beard; I took him for a Norwegian anthropologist who ran into some bad luck.  I think of them both as “Slim Jim”, named for the beef jerky snack.
B11.   A Korean (Chinese?) prisoner, member of the Independence Forces, about to be beheaded by a Japanese soldier using a sword.  The other part at B4 of the 4x12 piece. ca. 1938.  Parentheses, because a Korean blog shows the same photo in the context of the Japanese occupation of Korea, while a Vietnamese blog presents this photo as from the Japanese occupation of China, also giving the year 1938.
B12.    Singer-songwriter Tom Rapp in the Netherlands, of the band Pearls Before Swine.  One of my musical heroes of that era.
B13.   A drawing by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist, showing some of the higher primates.  The various apes are getting an eyeful of this shapely woman, represented almost like Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Two are definitely grinning, while the gorilla at lower right seems to be saying “Hubba-Hubba!” or something rather Fred-Flintstonish like that.  Without evidence, I suspect the woman to resemble Haeckel’s much-loved wife, who died when both were young.
B14.   Ludwig Van Beethoven, by visionary artist Alex Grey, in a moment of divine inspiration, his third eye wide open.  The fire of creation.
B15.   Another drawing by Ernst Haeckel, 1870, a diagram of the profiles of various simians, supposedly to show their resemblance to human types.  From his Natural Creation History.  The part unseen here shows twelve human profiles, which are tendentiously racist.  I’’d say all of them look rather stupid, except the one that happens to resemble Haeckel himself, who was not quite as smart as he supposed.  By comparison, all the apes seem more intelligent.  As an artist, Haeckel was a great observer of simpler creatures, but when it came to humans, his prejudices informed his drawing.
B16.   Cast made from the masque mortuaire or death mask of “L'inconnue de la Seine”, or the beautiful unknown girl of the Seine, who in the late 1880s was found drowned in the river with a very placid, happy expression.  The morgue pathologist, taken by her beauty and her expression, made a death mask.  In the next years, copies were made and became a popular morbid fixture among the Bohemians of Paris. Or so the story goes - some say the mask was made from a living girl.
B17.   A crucifixion, in an etching by Rembrandt van Rijn.
B18.   Police photograph of the crime scene at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington heights, NYC, after the assassination of Malcolm X.  This was Malcolm’s seat; in the background a few bullet holes are highlighted by the forensic team.


C10.   Execution by hanging and then dismemberment.  At the center there is a man with a big ax about to strike another blow against a man whose whole chest has already been opened up.
C11.   The execution by beheading of Anne Boleyn, 1526.
C12.   Figure of Plutus or Pluto, an old man encountered in the underworld, who chews on his own fingers, in an engraving by Gustave Doré, 1866, for Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.  The scene illustrates Dante’s Canto VII, vv8-9, "Curst wolf! thy fury inward on thyself Prey, and consume thee!"
C13.   Eye Reflecting the Theatre of Besançon, drawing of ca.1800 by visionary architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, showing a great stadium or meeting hall within an eye.
C14.   Emily Dickinson, poet, from a drawing made after a photographic portrait. She also appears in C7 of “Homage”, the 4x12 piece, and U5 of the eight-tag pieces.
C15.   Engraving based on The Tower of Babel, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563.  It’s not clear to me whether this engraving is also by Breugel, or by another artist, but this is very similar to the drawing by Anton Joseph von Prenner.
C16.   Portrait of Ubu (Alfred Jarry’s creation for his plays Père Ubu and Ubu Roi), photograph by Dora Maar, 1936.  Ubu looks part mole, part dolphin fetus.
C17.   Cain slaying Abel, in an old woodcut.
C18.   “The Bewitched Stableman”, by Hans Baldung Grien.  I can’t figure this out - the stableman lies unconscious on the floor, the horse looks very angry with him, and a woman at upper left (cropped out here) brandishes a branch of sorghum at the stableman.  She is presumably a witch who has cast a spell on the man.  (The branch of sorghum has to do with the belief that witches flew on brooms, or stalks of sorghum.)  I have it on good authority that the tools dropped on the floor are ordinary tools for grooming, and have nothing to do with castration as I, a non-horseman, had suspected, feeling instinctive and total solidarity with the horse.


D10.   Messaline dans la loge de Lisisca. Messalina was the wife of the notorious Roman Emperor Claudius, and she had a reputation for promiscuity.  It was said (by Juvenal to Messalina’s son Britannicus) that at night she would slip away from her sleeping husband and go to work in a squalid brothel, using her nom d’art Lisisca, where she would take all comers, and be paid as well.  So, this scene here, by Agostino Carracci, is not a rape as it might appear.  Messalina seems to have had an obsession with being penetrated - nowadays perhaps she would be considered a sex addict - and could not be satisfied no matter how many men she gave herself to - rather pitiful.  Consequently she has been a favorite subject for artists.  This is one of Carracci’s series of erotic engravings, published in 1728.
D11.   Torture sketch by Liu Renwang.  Liu was wrongfully convicted of a 2008 murder and subjected to torture.  Later he made crude drawings to show what had been done to him.  His conviction was eventually overturned by a Chinese court.
D12.   Profile of cargo ship, with kidnapped Africans in the hold.
D13.   Late-Victorian woodcut of a woman holding the bridle of a unicorn.
D14.   Old English woodcut of Adam and Eve and the Serpent.
D15.   Sergeant Henry Johnson, American soldier of the First World War, who was honored (promptly) by the French with the Croix de Guerre for his valor in combat in the Argonne Forest in May 1918.  (His unit had been assigned to a French command, because US General Pershing did not think that blacks were good soldiers, or any good at all.  Moreover, there was much racist resentment among white US soldiers who did not want to fight alongside blacks, or share the trenches with them.  Apparently the French had no such problem.)
With another sentry, Johnson (at that time a Private) beat off a large German raiding party, killing four and wounding several others, but suffering many serious wounds in the fight.  (And he was just a little guy, 5-foot-4, 130 pounds.)  His status as a war hero did little or nothing to improve his lot in life after the war.  He was much honored for a brief period after the war, and gave speeches around the country.  Once he appeared in St. Louis, and was expected to give a conventional, uplifting speech about his fight, but instead spoke about the mistreatment blacks were subjected to in the US Army.  Not long after, a warrant was issued for his arrest for wearing his uniform beyond the date of his commission!   Don’t get above yourself!  Don’t you have any clothes of your own?
He was discharged from the army with severe disabilities, but was never granted a disability pension.  He went back to his old job as a redcap at the Albany train station.  But he had difficulties owing mostly to his physical condition - he had never recovered from his wounds.  His wife left him, taking their children.  He became tubercular, and for this reason only (nothing to do with his combat wounds) was finally given a total disability rating by the Veterans Bureau, with monthly compensation, in 1927.  He died in penury in 1929, aged 36, and was buried at Arlington.  He was only awarded posthumously with the Purple Heart in 1996, the Distinguished Service Cross in 2003, and the Medal of Honor in 2015.
D16.   Cross-section view of indigenous workers in a Potosí silver mine, Theodor de Bry, engraving, ca.1590.  Silver miners, virtually enslaved, in Bolivia.
D17.   A display of animal traps from Oneida.
D18.   Overview of Frenchman Flat, Looking West, Nevada Test Site, 1997, photograph by Emmet Gowin.  Bomb craters, left by the underground detonations of many nuclear bombs, pockmark the Nevada desert.

A still-life photograph in color of 108 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history, hung with wire from pegs in a very long horizontal wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

A Landscape Painted with Tea, 2020 (Tags 4x27, right third)


Cardboard tags with applied images hung in a long, shallow wooden box, photographed in seven sections and reassembled.  (id#1415)


73.8 x 262.6 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

11.6 x 41.3 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 1908ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


A19.   Timothy Leary’s hand print.
A20.   A defeated warrior being scalped.
A21.   The Buffalo Bisons, a major league baseball team from Buffalo, New York, 1887.  There were a few such teams in that era, in different leagues, that all called themselves the Buffalo Bisons. (One was an “outlaw” franchise of the People’s League, started as a players’ initiative - which sounds like a sort of labor dispute with the league many players were playing in, in which I detect a possible syndicalist or socialist influence - which lasted only one year, 1890.  Notable members of the team include “Dummy” Hoy, a deaf mute player, the more famous Connie Mack, and the curiously named Lady Baldwin, apparently a man.)
The remarkable thing about the team represented here, for me, ignorant of the history as I am, is that one of the players is black.  He is Frank Grant, second baseman of the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, who had a truly illustrious career in baseball, both as a player and later as an organizer of the Negro Leagues, after the color line was enforced in pro baseball.  Grant received his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque in 2006, although unfortunately not in person.
Grant, and the history of race in baseball, are very fascinating subjects.  E.g., I discovered that Plessy, of the Plessy vs. Ferguson Decision of 1896 of the US Supreme Court, which infamously affirmed the legality of “separate but equal” accommodations for black and white, was a professional baseball player.  Plessy had refused to accommodate himself in the colored section of a train.  (My father was stationed in Texas as an airman during WWII, and once while traveling by train with my mother in the South, found no room in the white car.  So he and my mother went to sit in the colored car.  The white conductor gave them a hard time about it, but my father was stubborn.  A white man, he was not arrested, unlike Plessy 50 years before.  Perhaps the situation in 1944 was so unexpected that nobody bothered to make a law against it.)
One of Grant’s teammates, Curry Foley (cropped out of the picture on my tag), was in 1882 the first major league player to hit for the cycle (a term I never heard before), that is, to hit a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game, a rare accomplishment.  Perhaps he did something like that in the saloons, a few times a night, after retiring from baseball, as he died an Irishman's death at age 42, of liver cirrhosis.
One of the pleasures of this work with old pictures of every sort is the detours I take and all I learn, gratuitously, from the research.  At some point after identifying Frank Grant, I realized that I have in my archive another image (a pen-and-ink drawing) of a black baseball player with the uniform of the Cuban Giants - it was Grant.  This particular detour, regarding Grant, is just an indication of the detours you can take, starting from practically any of the tags in these works.
A22.   Slave revolt in Saint Domingue, now Haiti, 1791.
A23.   Electrocution of Ruth Snyder, 1928, Sing Sing. The first known photograph of an electrocution, this one was made by a clever photographer who strapped a camera to his ankle.
A24.   Jonah and the Whale, engraving, 1600s?.
A25.   Mole, from The Wind in the Willows.
A26.   The Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo, 1580-1600, engraving by Theodorus Galle after Stradanus. What you get for the sin of hubris, when you disobey the gods.
A27.   Doomed prisoner of the Okhrana, the Russian secret police.


B19.   An early view of lower Manhattan when it was New Amsterdam: a fort and settlement in the background, a canoe of Mannahatus natives passing in the foreground.
B20.   Tattooed Lady. I wonder if she was the inspiration for the wonderful song, performed by Groucho Marx in one of his movies, “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”.
B21.   Drawing of Marie Antoinette awaiting her execution by guillotine.
B22.   Pendaison de Bachi-Bouzouks, or Hanging of Bachi-Bouzouks, 1st Balkan War, Ketcheukeli, Bulgaria, Dec. 1912.  The Bachi-Bouzouks were mercenary soldiers of the Ottoman army, despised for their pillaging.  In the background I can make out what appears to be a church tower at right, and a very tall minaret at left.  Published in the French newspaper Le Petit Journal.
B23.   “Ned Ludd, the Leader of the Luddites”, the movement of weavers who rebelled against the introduction of industrial looms, which put the weavers in penury.  Behind him a factory burns.  The legendary Ludd wears a woman’s dress, and is missing a shoe.  The illustration of 1812 says at the bottom “drawn from life by an officer”.
B24.   A man fishing from the riverside, in someplace like Cambridge, wood engraving by Thomas Bewick, ca. (very broadly) 1800.  Bewick made many fine illustrations of animals, bucolic scenes, and other subjects.
B25.   An enslaved man (or formerly enslaved) displaying the scars on his back from severe whipping.
B26.   “Grand Knout”, engraving.  A man being punished with the knout, basically a heavy knot at the end of a rope or chain, that was used to beat the prisoner. Russia.
B27.   The Burning of Master John Rogers from Fox's Book of Martyrs.  Man being burned at the stake.  John Rogers, a Protestant vicar, had a part in the translation into vernacular English of the Bible along with William Tyndale.


C19.    Man being executed by boiling, from an illustration.
C20.   The Execution of William Francis Kemmler, Aug. 6, 1890. Kemmler was the first person to die in the electric chair.  Drawing, 1890.
C21.   Impalement execution by Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (aka Dracula), Romania.  15th-century woodcut of people being impaled on pikes, and then chopped to pieces.  Vlad himself is supervising, though cropped out of view here.  He was also known as Vlad the Impaler.
C22.   A painting in a picture gallery, a battle scene which is literally exploding out of the canvas, by Grandville, or Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard, from Le Louvre des marionnettes.
C23.   Hanging at the Old Bailey, ca.1750. Several persons about to be garrotted; English.
C24.   Execution of a European by an indigenous American, using a scythe-like sort of ax.
C25.   Ignatz Mouse tranquilly sleeping his nth confinement at the Coconino County Jail; drawing for Krazy Kat by the immortal George Herriman, 1938.
C26. A giraffe.
C27.   Witches, by Hans Baldung Grien, ca. 1514.  Another part of this drawing - brush-and-ink with white highlighting - is seen in V5 of the eight-tag pieces.


D19.   Drawing of the Normandy landing in 1944.
D20.   Homeless people sheltering under a bridge, England.
D21.   Une Bombe au Cafe Terminus: the arrest of Émile Henry, anarchist bomber, in Paris, February 12, 1894.  Chromolithograph.
D22.   The Hill Cumorah, painting by Carl Christian Anton Christensen, 1800s.  Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, holding the gold plates he has just been given by the angel Moroni (who appears in A5).
D23.   A great mob of local men, having broken into the jail, massacring a group of defenseless Sicilian immigrant prisoners, whom they accused of having murdered the New Orleans police chief, New Orleans, late 1891.  None of them had been convicted in court.
D24.   The Polyorama, a sort of diorama, a popular entertainment, with a crowd of spectators.
D25.   A young man shooting his father dead, late 1800s, New York.  (His father, cowering, is seen at N1, an eight-tag piece.)
D26.   The Lynching of Lige Daniels, Center, Texas, Aug. 2, 1920, postcard.  Lynching photographs were often made into postcards to sell as souvenirs to members of the public.
D27.   Buried-alive execution, engraving by Gustave Doré, 1863.  Dante and Virgil observing people immersed heads down in the Inferno (La Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto XIX), among them former Pope Niccolò III, damned for simony, i.e., the selling of Church offices, etc., or fraud in general. (Virgil is cropped out of view here.)  This is the Eighth Circle of Hell, for "the Fraudulent, which includes Panderers and Seducers, Flatterers, Simonists, Sorcerers, False Prophets, Grafters, Hypocrites, Thieves, Evil Counselors, Sowers of Discord, and Falsifiers".  Remind you of anyone you know?

A Landscape Painted with Tea” (Tags 4x27), Inv. #1415 (photographed in seven sections).
The title is borrowed from Milorad Pavic's novel.


Box dimensions 44,5 x 164,1 cm., depth 4,5 cm..  Total of 108 tags.

These notes appear also in the captions of the parts of the three se ctions of the work, or subsets of 36 tags each.  It's probably handier for the viewer to consult these captions while viewing the details.  Still, the complete list is provided here. 


Near the end of this section of the site is a short video of the work, with sound. 


Rows A-D from top to bottom, columns 1-27 from left to right.

Row A
A1.   Head of Cleopatra, drawing, Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca.1533-34.
A2.   Frederick Douglass attacked by thugs at American Anti-Slavery Society meeting, Pendleton, Indiana, 1843, engraving.
A3.   The Comet of 1007, from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.
A4.   “Stormtroops Advancing Under Gas”, etching and aquatint by Otto Dix, 1924.  Grenade-wielding soldier from the First World War.  I saw this about 2015 at the MART of Rovereto in Trentino, Italy, which presented an exhibition commemorating the centennial of the Great War.
A5.   The Hill Cumorah, painting by Carl Christian Anton Christensen, 1800s.  The angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church.  (Joseph Smith appears in D21.)
A6.   The Flaying of Saint Bartholomew, an apostle of the first century AD who established the early church in Armenia.  Illustrations of Bartholomew have had their part in the history of medical and anatomical illustration.  Legend has it that he was skinned for having converted a local king against the wishes of some others.
A7.   US Army Private Lynndee England abusing a prisoner at Abu Ghraib, 2003, dishonoring herself, her service, her flag, and her country.  Drawing by R. Crumb from a photo in Time magazine, 2005.  I wonder if she has come to feel ashamed of what she did, or if she is simply and incorrigibly morally deficient.
A8.   A young girl getting raped by a Turkish soldier during a war in the Balkans, in an engraving by Austrian artist Gottfried Sieben.  The remarkable thing about this series of engravings, called Balkangreuel, or Balkan Horror, other than the vicious stereotypes of the Turks, is that Sieben managed to combine horror with pornographic appeal, a pretty sick combination.  Another picture from this series is found at M1 of the eight-tag photographs.
A9.   The Marquis de Sade, in an allegorical portrait by H. Biberstein, 1912.

A10.   A German woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, publ. 1499, an illustration for Das Narrenschiff, or The Ship of Fools, or Stultifera navis, by Sebastian Brant, a satiric poet.  The wheel has to do with happiness or luck.  Of the three figures, one is an ass from the middle down, another an ass from the middle up, and the other is a complete ass.
A11.   The Death of Captain Cook, 15 Feb. 1779, Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, engraving by John Rickman.
A12.   Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) offering eternal fire to Gushtasb from the Shāhnameh, or Book of Kings, by Persian poet Firdawsi (ca. 940-1026 AD).  Illustration (artist not known) 13thC, Tehran.  Zoroaster in a state of divine illumination.
A13.   Le midi, part of the series Les heures du jour, etching-engravings by Emmanuel Jean Nepomucène de Ghendt after originals by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin, ca. 1778.  A young French noblewoman taking her pleasure on a hot summer day.  Risqué in its time, very subtle for ours - it’s understood that she has been masturbating.
A14.   The Triumph of Christ, ca. 1965, by visionary artist Ernst Fuchs.
A15.   An old English etching of a girl playing horsey on a fence.
A16.   Indian drawing of a warrior, perhaps Banasura, who had 1000 arms.
A17.   The Tree of Life, a diagram of the classes of animals, 1879, by Ernst Haeckel, the great naturalist, artist, and contemporary of Darwin.
A18.   French engraving of the Sun God - or some esoteric notion, ca. 1600-1700.

A19.   Timothy Leary’s hand print.
A20.   A defeated warrior being scalped.
A21.   The Buffalo Bisons, a major league baseball team from Buffalo, New York, 1887. There were a few teams in that era, in different leagues, that all called themselves the Buffalo Bisons.  (One was an “outlaw” franchise of the People’s League, started as a players’ initiative - which sounds like a sort of labor dispute with the league many players were playing in, in which I detect a possible syndicalist or socialist influence - which lasted only one year, 1890.  Notable members of the team included  “Dummy” Hoy, a deaf mute player, the more famous Connie Mack, and the curiously named Lady Baldwin, apparently a man.)
The remarkable thing about the team represented here, for me, ignorant of the history as I am, is that one of the players is black.  He is Frank Grant, second baseman of the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, who had a truly illustrious career in baseball, both as a player and later as an organizer of the Negro Leagues, after the color line was enforced in pro baseball.  Grant received his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque in 2006, although unfortunately not in person.
Grant, and the history of race in baseball, are very fascinating subjects.  I discovered that Plessy, of the Plessy vs. Ferguson Decision of 1896 of the Supreme Court, which infamously affirmed the legality of “separate but equal” accommodations for black and white, was a professional baseball player.  Plessy had refused to accommodate himself in the colored section of a train.  (My father was stationed in Texas as an airman during WWII, and once while traveling by train with my mother in the South, found no room in the white car.  So he and my mother went to sit in the colored car.  The white conductor gave them a hard time about it, but my father was stubborn.  A white man, he was not arrested, unlike Plessy 50 years before.  Perhaps the situation was so unexpected that nobody had ever bothered to make a law against it.)
One of Grant’s teammates, Curry Foley (cropped out of the picture on my tag), was in 1882 the first major league player to hit for the cycle (a term I never heard before), that is, to hit a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game, a rare accomplishment.
One of the pleasures of this work with old pictures of every sort is the detours I take and all I learn, gratuitously, from the research.  At some point after identifying Frank Grant, I realized that I have in my archive another image (a pen-and-ink drawing) of a black baseball player with the uniform of the Cuban Giants - it was Grant.  (It was said that the Cuban Giants pretended to be Cubans, and so on the field spoke to each other in some invented lingo they hoped would sound like Spanish.)  This particular detour, regarding Grant, is just an indication of the excursions you can take, starting from almost any of the tags in these works.
A22.   Slave revolt in Saint Domingue, now Haiti, 1791.
A23.   Electrocution of Ruth Snyder, 1928, Sing Sing.  The first known photograph of an electrocution, this one was made by a clever photographer who strapped a camera to his ankle.
A24.   Jonah and the Whale, engraving, 1600s?.
A25.   Mole, from The Wind in the Willows.
A26.   The Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo, 1580-1600, engraving by Theodorus Galle after Stradanus.  What you get for the sin of hubris, when you disobey the gods.
A27.   Doomed prisoner of the Okhrana, the Russian secret police.

Row B
B1.   A medieval scholar working on a chart, perhaps astrological.
B2.   Death operating a water pump, illustrating the ease with which infectious diseases spread.  (Another part of the same illustration is found at L1, an eight-piece selection of tags.)
B3.   El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid, or The Third of May, 1808, by Francisco Goya, 1814.  Men being executed by firing squad.
B4.   Leo Frank, unjustly convicted of murder, and lynched by an antisemitic mob in Georgia, 1915.
B5.   A drawing of diatoms, by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist.
B6.   Diagram of the system of veins of the forearm.  Broadly, 1500-1700.
B7.   “The Great Masturbator, And the Country He Rode in On”, photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin, 2017.  Witkin engaged a Trump look-alike for this photograph.  Ordinarily Witkin doesn’t create political photographs, but for this and a recreation of Thèodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, featuring George W. Bush and several associates, he outdid himself.
B8.   A satirical illustration by John Leech, 1848, showing the hypocrisy of the existence of slavery in the supposedly democratic USA.
B9.   Y no hai remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done) - Plate 15 of Los Desastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War, by Francesco Goya, ca.1810–23.  A man being executed by firing squad.

B10.   Shrunken Men, about two feet tall, on display at the Museum of the American Indian.  I lived for years in Washington Heights, NYC, a short walk form the museum (whose collections have since been moved downtown), so I got to know these guys well.  It always amused me that, while the figure on the right looks typically “Indian” - indigenous person of the Amazon jungle - the one on the left has sandy blond hair, mustache and beard; I took him for a Norwegian anthropologist who ran into some bad luck.  I think of them both as “Slim Jim”, named for the beef jerky snack.
B11.   A Korean (Chinese?) prisoner, member of the Independence Forces, about to be beheaded by a Japanese soldier using a sword.  The other part at B4 of the 4x12 piece. ca. 1938.  Parentheses, because a Korean blog shows the same photo in the context of the Japanese occupation of Korea, while a Vietnamese blog presents this photo as from the Japanese occupation of China, also giving the year 1938.
B12.   Singer-songwriter Tom Rapp in the Netherlands, of the band Pearls Before Swine. One of my musical heroes of that era.
B13.   A drawing by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist, showing some of the higher primates.  The various apes are getting an eyeful of this shapely woman, represented almost like Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Two are definitely grinning, while the gorilla at lower right seems to be saying “Hubba-Hubba!” or something Fred Flintstonish like that.  Without evidence, I suspect the woman to resemble Haeckel’s much-loved wife, who died when both were young.
B14.   Ludwig Van Beethoven, by visionary artist Alex Grey, in a moment of divine inspiration, his third eye wide open.  The fire of creation.
B15.   Another drawing by Ernst Haeckel, 1870, a diagram of the profiles of various simians, supposedly to show their resemblance to human types. From his Natural Creation History.  The part unseen here shows twelve human profiles, which are tendentiously racist.  I’d say that all of them look pretty stupid, except the one that happens to resemble Haeckel himself.  By comparison, all the apes seem more intelligent.  As an artist, Haeckel was a great observer of simpler creatures, but when it came to humans, his prejudices informed his drawing.
B16.   Cast made from the masque mortuaire or death mask of “L'inconnue de la Seine”, or the beautiful unknown girl of the Seine, who in the late 1880s was found drowned in the river with a very placid, happy expression.  The morgue pathologist, taken by her beauty and her expression, made a death mask.  In the next years, copies were made and became a popular morbid fixture among the Bohemians of Paris.  Or so the story goes - some say the mask was made from a living girl.
B17.   A crucifixion, in an etching by Rembrandt van Rijn.
B18.   Police photograph of the crime scene at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington heights, NYC, after the assassination of Malcolm X.  This was Malcolm’s seat; in the background a few bullet holes are highlighted by the forensic team.

B19.   An early view of lower Manhattan when it was New Amsterdam:  a fort and settlement in the background, a canoe of Mannahatus natives passing in the foreground.
B20.   Tattooed Lady.  I wonder if she was the inspiration for the wonderful song, performed by Groucho Marx in one of his movies, “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”.
B21.   Drawing of Marie Antoinette awaiting her execution by guillotine.
B22.   Pendaison de Bachi-Bouzouks, or Hanging of Bachi-Bouzouks,1st Balkan War, Ketcheukeli, Bulgaria, Dec. 1912.  The Bachi-Bouzouks were mercenary soldiers of the Ottoman army, despised for their pillaging.  In the background I can make out what appears to be a church tower at right, and a very tall minaret at left.  Published in the French newspaper Le Petit Journal.
B23.   “Ned Ludd, the Leader of the Luddites”, the movement of weavers who rebelled against the introduction of industrial looms, which put the weavers in penury.  Behind him a factory burns.  The legendary Ludd wears a woman’s dress, and is missing a shoe.  The illustration of 1812 says at the bottom “drawn from life by an officer”.
B24.   A man fishing from the riverside, in someplace like Cambridge, wood engraving by Thomas Bewick, ca. (very broadly) 1800.  Bewick made many fine illustrations of animals, bucolic scenes, and other subjects.
B25.   An enslaved man (or formerly enslaved) displaying the scars on his back from severe whipping.
B26.   “Grand Knout”, engraving. A man being punished with the knout, basically a heavy knot at the end of a rope or chain, that was used to beat prisoners.  Russia.
B27.   The Burning of Master John Rogers from Fox's Book of Martyrs. Man being burned at the stake. John Rogers, a Protestant vicar, had a part in the translation into vernacular English of the Bible along with William Tyndale.

Row C
C1.   Mesmerist and patient, ca.1795.
C2.   Gulliver bidding farewell to the Houyhnhnms, from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726).
C3.   A French nobleman (with a tremendous hat or wig) taking tea with an equally fashionable lady, out of view here.  The picture on the wall shows two demons drinking as well.
C4.   Christians being hung and disemboweled.
C5.   Meeting between indigenous people and whites - New England or Virginia?
C6.   Man flagellating himself in penance, from an engraving by Albrecht Dürer.
C7.   A bris, or ritual Jewish circumcision.  As small as the illustration is, the baby seems to be just reacting to the pain of the cut.
C8.   One of the series “The Seven Deadly Sins”, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1556-58.  In the foreground we can read “superbia”, i.e. vanity or pride.
C9.   Two men visiting a Wunderkammer, or chamber of wonders, filled with many marvelous artifacts of animal life.  Fish, crab, starfish, a tusk…the other wall is seen in N2.  From Ferrante Imperato, Room of Curiosities, engraving 1599, Naples, Italy.  Imperato was a pharmacist and naturalist who set up his own chamber of curiosities.

C10.   Execution by hanging and then dismemberment.  At the center there is a man with a big ax about to strike another blow against a man whose whole chest has already been opened up.
C11.   The execution by beheading of Anne Boleyn, 1526.
C12.   Figure of Plutus or Pluto, an old man encountered in the underworld, who chews on his own fingers, in an engraving by Gustave Doré, 1866, for Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.  The scene illustrates Dante’s Canto VII, vv8-9, "Curst wolf! thy fury inward on thyself Prey, and consume thee!"
C13.   Eye Reflecting the Theatre of Besançon, drawing of ca.1800 by visionary architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, showing a great stadium or meeting hall within an eye.
C14.   Emily Dickinson, poet, from a drawing made after a photographic portrait. She also appears in C7 of “Homage”, the 4x12 piece, and U5 of the eight-tag pieces.
C15.   Engraving based on The Tower of Babel, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563.  It’s not clear to me whether this engraving is also by Breugel, or by another artist, but this is very similar to the drawing by Anton Joseph von Prenner.
C16.   Portrait of Ubu (Alfred Jarry’s creation for his plays Père Ubu and Ubu Roi), photograph by Dora Maar, 1936.  Ubu looks part mole, part dolphin fetus.
C17.   Cain slaying Abel, in an old woodcut.
C18.   “The Bewitched Stableman”, by Hans Baldung Grien.  I can’t figure this out - the stableman lies unconscious on the floor, the horse looks very angry with him, and a woman at upper left (cropped out here) brandishes a branch of sorghum at the stableman.  She is presumably a witch who has cast a spell on the man.  (The branch of sorghum has to do with the belief that witches flew on brooms, or stalks of sorghum.)  I have it on good authority that the tools dropped on the floor are ordinary tools for grooming, and have nothing to do with castration as I, a non-horseman, had suspected, feeling instinctive and total solidarity with the horse.

C19.   Man being executed by boiling, from an illustration.
C20.   The Execution of William Francis Kemmler, Aug. 6, 1890. Kemmler was the first person to die in the electric chair. Drawing, 1890.
C21.   Impalement execution by Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (aka Dracula), Romania. 15th-century woodcut of people being impaled on pikes, and then chopped to pieces.  Vlad himself is supervising, though cropped out of view here.  He was also known as Vlad the Impaler.
C22.   A painting in a picture gallery, a battle scene which is literally exploding out of the canvas, by Grandville, or Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard, from Le Louvre des marionnettes.
C23.   Hanging at the Old Bailey, ca.1750.  Several persons about to be garrotted; English.
C24.   Execution of a European by an indigenous American, using a scythe-like sort of ax.
C25.   Ignatz Mouse tranquilly sleeping his nth confinement at the Coconino County Jail; drawing for Krazy Kat by the immortal George Herriman, 1938.
C26.   A giraffe.
C27.   Witches, by Hans Baldung Grien, ca. 1514.  Another part of this drawing - brush-and-ink with white highlighting - is seen in V5 of the eight-tag pieces.

Row D
D1.   Enslaved man attempting to escape his pursuers.
D2.   Sleeping woman in chains.
D3.   Anna Pavlova as Aspicia in Marius Petipa's The Pharaoh’s Daughter, 1906.  The famed Russian ballerina, shooting with a bow and arrow.
D4.   The Old Man, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1523-25.  Death kindly escorting an old man - straight into the grave.
D5.   Men shoveling barley in a malthouse. British, 1800s.
D6.   Man at his writing table - perhaps Montesquieu, or Voltaire. I don’t find again this engraving again, and the fashions of those days are too unfamiliar to me to judge a year. European men were wearing wigs for 200 years!
D7.   The Martyrdom of St. Alban, by Matthew Paris, ca. 1250-60.  I couldn’t make sense of this old illumination, in which the eyes are falling out of the executioner’s head, so I did some research that of course I must share.  According to legend (of ca. 200-300 AD), Alban was a wealthy pagan of Verulamium, the ancient town of Roman Britain (near present-day St. Albans), who hosted a wandering Christian priest, Amphibalus, and was then converted.  The local authorities were enraged, and determined to arrest and execute Amphibalus.  Alban saved the priest by exchanging clothes and allowing him to escape, but was then beheaded in Amphibalus’ stead.  His hair was tied to a tree branch, and at the moment the sword came down on Alban’s head, the executioners eyes fell out.  This sight provoked many more conversions (and another round of martyrs’ deaths).  For his part, Matthew Paris was an English Benedictine monk, a miniaturist, and a cartographer.
D8.   Obelisk in a garden, with skulls and bones decorating the nearby columns.
D9.   Captain John Smith taken captive by Powhatans, color engraving from the Generall Historie of Virginia, by Captain Smith, 1624.  The capture of Smith by the Powhatans, who dance their victory.  In the drawing is written “Their Triumph about him. C. Smith bound to a tree to be shott to death 1607”.

D10.   Messaline dans la loge de Lisisca.  Messalina was the wife of the notorious Roman Emperor Claudius, and she had a reputation for promiscuity.  It was said (by Juvenal to Messalina’s son Britannicus) that at night she would slip away from her sleeping husband and go to work in a squalid brothel, using her nom d’art Lisisca, where she would take all comers, and be paid as well.  So, this scene here, by Agostino Carracci, is not a rape as it might appear.  Messalina seems to have had an obsession with being penetrated - nowadays perhaps she would be considered a sex addict - and could not be satisfied no matter how many men she gave herself to - rather pitiful.  Consequently she has been a favorite subject for artists.  This is one of Carracci’s series of erotic engravings, published in 1728.
D11.   Torture sketch by Liu Renwang.  Liu was wrongfully convicted of a 2008 murder and subjected to torture.  Later he made crude drawings to show what had been done to him.  His conviction was eventually overturned by a Chinese court.
D12.   Profile of cargo ship, with kidnapped Africans in the hold.
D13.   Late-Victorian woodcut of a woman holding the bridle of a unicorn.
D14.   Old English woodcut of Adam and Eve and the Serpent.
D15.   Sergeant Henry Johnson, American soldier of the First World War, who was honored (promptly) by the French with the Croix de Guerre for his valor in combat in the Argonne Forest in May 1918.  (His unit had been assigned to a French command, because US General Pershing did not think that blacks were good soldiers, or any good at all.  Moreover, there was much racist resentment among white US soldiers who did not want to fight alongside blacks, or share the trenches with them.  Apparently the French had no such problem.)
With another sentry, Johnson (at that time a Private) beat off a large German raiding party, killing four and wounding several others, but suffering many serious wounds in the fight.  (And he was just a little guy, 5-foot-4, 130 pounds.)  His status as a war hero did little or nothing to improve his lot in life after the war.  He was much honored for a brief period after the war, and gave speeches around the country.  Once he appeared in St. Louis, and was expected to give a conventional, uplifting speech about his fight, but instead spoke about the mistreatment blacks were subjected to in the US Army.  Not long after, a warrant was issued for his arrest for wearing his uniform beyond the date of his commission!  Don’t get above yourself!  Don’t you have any clothes of your own?
He was discharged from the army with severe disabilities, but was never granted a disability pension.  He went back to his old job as a redcap at the Albany train station.  But he had difficulties owing mostly to his physical condition - he had never recovered from his wounds.  His wife left him, taking their children.  He became tubercular, and for this reason only (nothing to do with his combat wounds) was finally given a total disability rating by the Veterans Bureau, with monthly compensation, in 1927.  He died in penury in 1929, aged 36, and was buried at Arlington.  He was only awarded posthumously with the Purple Heart in 1996, the Distinguished Service Cross in 2003, and the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2015.
D16.   Cross-section view of indigenous workers in a Potosí silver mine, Theodor de Bry, engraving, ca.1590.  Silver miners, virtually enslaved, in Bolivia.
D17.   A display of animal traps from Oneida.
D18.   Overview of Frenchman Flat, Looking West, Nevada Test Site, 1997, photograph by Emmet Gowin.  Bomb craters, left by the underground detonations of many nuclear bombs, pockmark the Nevada desert.

D19.   Drawing of the Normandy landing in 1944.
D20.   Homeless people sheltering under a bridge, England.
D21.   Une Bombe au Cafe Terminus: the arrest of Émile Henry, anarchist bomber, in Paris, February 12, 1894.  Chromolithograph.
D22.   The Hill Cumorah, painting by Carl Christian Anton Christensen, 1800s.  Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, holding the gold plates he has just been given by the angel Moroni (who appears in A5).
D23.   A great mob of local men, having broken into the jail, massacring a group of defenseless Sicilian immigrant prisoners, whom they accused of having murdered the New Orleans police chief, New Orleans, late 1891.  None of them had been convicted in court.
D24.   The Polyorama, a sort of diorama, a popular entertainment, with a crowd of spectators.
D25.   A young man shooting his father dead, late 1800s, New York. (His father, cowering, is seen at N1, an eight-tag piece.)
D26.   The Lynching of Lige Daniels, Center, Texas, Aug. 2, 1920, postcard.  Lynching photographs were often made into postcards to sell as souvenirs to members of the public.
D27.   Buried-alive execution, engraving by Gustave Doré, 1863.  Dante and Virgil observing people immersed heads down in the Inferno (La Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto XIX), among them former Pope Niccolò III, damned for simony, i.e., the selling of Church offices, etc., or fraud in general.  (Virgil is cropped out of view here.)  This is the Eighth Circle of Hell, for the Fraudulent, which includes Panderers and Seducers, Flatterers, Simonists, Sorcerers, False Prophets, Grafters, Hypocrites, Thieves, Evil Counselors, Sowers of Discord, and Falsifiers.  Does that remind you of anyone you know?

© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020.  All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.




A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery of drawings by a few modern artists - Kahlo, Penn, Foy - hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight A, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1351)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.

Apart from photographic prints, there is also this object itself as a work.


A1.   Drawing by David Bomberg, a study for In the Hold, ca. 1914.
A2.   Drawing by Isaac Abrams, Woodstock, Autumn 2005 (turned 90° clockwise), graphite on paper.
A3.   Drawing by Gray Foy, Dimensions, ca.1945–46.
A4.   Drawing by Frida Kahlo, El Verdadero vacilon, or The True Vacillator, ca.1946-47.
A5.   Drawing by Irving Penn, Tabletop, n.d..
A6.   Drawing by Richard Artschwager, Palace Hotel, 1974.
A7.   Drawing by Frederick Burr Opper, for his comic strip The Happy Hooligan, 23 May 1909.   What’s truly remarkable here is that Opper’s rendition of the movement of someone tumbling down the stairs, so unmistakably reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase of 1913, predates Duchamp’s painting by some four years.  Clearly, Opper was more avant than Duchamp.  I suspect that Duchamp may well have been inspired by Opper’s comic.  Art historians take note!  Lots of artists from back then read the American comic pages with great enjoyment, and certainly borrowed an idea or two from this supposedly low, popular art form.
A8.   Drawing by Lucian Freud, Man and Town, 1940–41.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery derived from my toy camera and pinhole photography, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight B, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1353)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


All the following are details from photographs of mine, all test patches for digital prints.
B1.   Sun/Mask, 1984 (inv. #92).  The cast-iron sun-face decoration at the top of an andiron. 35mm.
B2.   Exhaust Stacks, Riverbank Park Waste Processing Facility, N.Y.C., April 1995 (inv. #503).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B3.    Wedge and Spheroid, July 1999 (inv. #680).  View camera.
B4.    Bare Trees II, Bryant Park, NYC, March 1995 (inv. #494).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B5.    Building, Crisp Light, NYC (West 163rd Street), 1982 (inv. #240).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B6.    Bike Rack, Riverbank Park, N.Y.C., April 1995 (inv. #504).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B7.    Pearls, 1991 (inv. #291).  Pin-Zip pinhole camera, 126 film.
B8.   Sun/Mask, 1984 (inv. #92).  The other part of the photograph, showing the life mask of a dear friend.  35mm.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history - Leda, the Golem, Wagner, eros - hung from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight E, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1359)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


E1.   Anemones and stalked jellyfish - pastel by Philip Henry Gosse 19thC.
E2.   Couple playing horsey, from a risquée series of stereoscopic photos.
E3.   Samuel Steward, Paris, 1952.  Steward led an ambitiously active homosexual life, and kept an extensive file card index of all the men he’d had sex with, which he called his “stud file”.
E4.   Photomontage of an orgy, ca. 1890.  Hard to judge the era when nobody has any clothes on.
E5.   Lilli Lehmann as Woglinde in Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Bayreuth, 1876.
E6.   Leda and the Swan, sculpture in marble by an unknown artist, 19th century. Scindia Museum, Gwalior, India.  It is interesting to speculate on the appeal for an Indian public - with its rich culture of Indian mythology - of this classic subject from the Greek myth, in which Zeus takes the form of a swan in order to seduce Leda.  Strange that the maker of such a well-made sculpture should be unknown. I’m curious also to know how it came to the Gwalior Museum.
E7.   A l’ècole, from “En l’An 2000”, or At School in the Year 2000, illustration by Jean-Marc Côté, ca. 1910.  Schoolboys attending to their lesson in a modern, technologized school.  Off-screen at right is the schoolmaster loading books into a hopper, while a schoolboy turns the crank; the contents of the books are transmitted to the headphones of the pupils, and thus efficiently uploaded into their young brains.
E8.   German actor Paul Wegener in The Golem, a silent film of 1915 (based on the Jewish legend) about a clay statue created and brought to life in the ghetto of Prague.  Wegener directed along with Henrik Galeen.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art history - Kuniyasu, Boullée, Cajal, LSD doses - hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight G, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1363)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


G1.   Japanese script concerning the next tag:  The Harbor of Love - On the Island of Women (Koi no minato nyôgo no shimada) by Utagawa Kuniyasu, 1830.
G2.   Japanese woodcut illustration from The Harbor of Love, by Utagawa Kuniyasu, showing two women bowing to a great penis and vulva, 1830.
G3.   Pi, or rather the number it indicates, calculated to many decimal places, in a spiral form.
G4.   Cells in retina of eye, by Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1904.
G5.   The Cenotaph of Isaac Newton, drawing of 1784 by Étienne-Louis Boullée, visionary architect.
G6.   Book cover with esoteric geometrical design.
G7.   Inner Eye, a close-up of an eye.  Artwork by Naoto Hattori (n.d.) printed on a sheet of blotter LSD, hundreds of doses on a sheet.
G8.   Drawing of a columned arch, with writing in an ancient alphabet, two pheasants or peacocks above.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography - J-P. Witkin, Penn, Evans, Iturbide - hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight H, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1365)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


H1.   Above the Arcade, photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin, 2016.  I can’t tell if the man has a severe scoliosis or if he is just extremely flexible. But he fits the composition so perfectly that it was many times that I had seen the photograph before thinking that he might not just be posing in this extreme way.
H2.   Camille Claudel, muse, model, and pupil to Auguste Rodin, above all a great sculptress in her own right.
H3.   Optician’s Shop Window, New York, 1938, photograph by Irving Penn.
H4.   King Mongkut of Thailand (or Siam), portrait by John Thompson,1865.  King Mongkut was the only leader of any country in his region who managed to avoid colonization by the West.
H5.   Magnolia with Mirror, Juchitán, México, 1986.  (Magnolia is the man’s name.)  Photograph by Graciela Iturbide.
H6.   Teenaged boy with ice cream sundae, around the roller rink in Harvey, Illinois, early 1950s.  Photograph by Hugh Edwards. Hugh Edwards was best known as a curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and was important to the early careers of Robert Frank, Duane Michals, and Danny Lyon, among others.  But he was also an excellent photographer in his own right.  This photo is from his ten-year-long project to document the life and activity of a roller rink.  He said that he gave up photography after seeing the work of Robert Frank, who he felt surpassed him so much that it was pointless for him to continue.  But Edwards’s photos stand up very well next to Frank’s.
H7.   Washington Philips, musician and instrument maker, with a double zither of his construction, 1927.
H8.   Robert Frank; photograph by Walker Evans, ca. 1969-70. A portrait of one great by another.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art history - Moreau, Raphael, Haeckel, Fragonard - hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight J, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1369)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


J1.   Hesiod and The Muse, drawing by Gustave Moreau, 1857.
J2.   Head of an Apostle, by Raphael Buonarroti, ca. 1503.
J3.   The Tiber Monster of 1496, a fantastical creature, folio 90 from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.
J4.   A river scene in the mountains, from Chinese currency, the 20RMB banknote.
J5.   A Gathering at Woods Edge, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, ca.1770–73.  A bucolic scene.
J6.   Dark matter, simulated by means of a high-­resolution algorithm, from the Kavli Institute, Stanford.
J7.   Illustration of jellyfish by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist, from his Kunstformen der Natur, or Art Forms in Nature.
J8.   The Crab Nebula.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from photography and art history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight L, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1373)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


L1.   People taking water from a pump, operated by the figure of Death (cropped out here), to show the ease with which contagious diseases are spread. (Death is seen in 4x12, B2.)
L2.   Fayum mummy portrait of a man, from Fayum in Roman Egypt, ca. 200-300AD.  A naturalism very surprising for its time and origin, but typical for funerary portraiture.
L3.   Formerly enslaved man working as a camp cook for Union troops, US Civil War.
L4.   Monstrous Birth, 1513, from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.  A multi-limbed child.
L5.   An advertisement for Barnum’s Museum, featuring Commodore Nutt, the smallest man alive, ca. 1870.
L6.   Autoritratto in forma di gufo, or Self-Portrait in the Form of an Owl, by Alberto Savinio (brother of the more famous surrealist painter Giorgio De Chirico), ca. 1930.
L7.   Newspaper reproduction of mug photo of a man who, with two others, was charged with rape and murder.  To look at him, you’d probably suppose that he must be guilty.  Same with his two friends and codefendants. But like me, you’d be wrong - they were innocent. 1950s.
L8.   The Giant Antaeus, engraving by Gustave Doré, 1863, for La Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto XXXI.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery of terrible brutality from art history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight M, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1375)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


M1.   A young woman getting raped by an Ottoman soldier during a war in the Balkans, in an engraving by Austrian artist Gottfried Sieben, 1909.  The remarkable thing about this series of engravings, called Balkangreuel, or Balkan Atrocities or Balkan Horror, other than the vicious stereotypes of the Turks, is that Sieben managed to combine horror with pornographic appeal, a pretty sick combination.  But it seems that Sieben (who used the name Archibald Smith for this series) had a stock in trade of erotica.  He also did a series on the subject of Messalina, the Roman empress (wife of Claudius) who had a reputation, as they say.  (The women in the illustrations strongly resemble illustrator Ralph Dana Gibson’s Gibson Girls, adding another layer of weird to Sieben’s illustrations.)  Another picture from this series is found at A8 of the 4x27 tag piece.
M2.   The Martyrdom of St. John the Evangelist, from The Book of Hours of Simon de Varie, by Jean Fouquet, ca.1455-60.
M3.   Contra el bien general, or Against the Common Good ,1810-15, etching by Francesco Goya, plate 71 from Los Desastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War.
M4.   Smithfield Martyrs, ca. 1556.  Man being dismembered, then to be thrown on the fire. From a period when to be Protestant was heresy.
M5.   Cuthbert Simpson on the Rack, 1558, a victim of the Marian Persecution.
M6.   Christian martyrs attacked by lions and leopards in the arena.
M7.   The Burning of 18 Anabaptists at Salzburg, 1528.  Engraving by Jan Luyken, 1685. Dissenters being burned at the stake.
M8.   The Execution of the Conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, by Nicolaes Jansz Visscher, etching 1606.  Guy Fawkes, mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot, was to be executed as well, but he cheated the executioner - he fell or jumped from the scaffold and broke his neck, dying instantly (and probably disappointing the crowd).  He was still dismembered.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art and illustration in history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight O, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1379 )


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


O1.   A Jewish woman and her children playing a Passover game of hiding the matzoh.
O2.   A mesmerist hypnotizing a woman, from La Nature, Paris, 1881.
O3.   A Muslim scholar reading and studying in a city of the Middle East.
O4.   A planter in the American South, shortly after the end of the Civil War, reading the newspaper and smoking and answering the request of one of his black laborers (in O5).  He is saying, “We’ve taken care of you for long enough.  Now you’ll have to work.
O5.   The former slave, now a sharecropper, who has something to ask of his former master, in O4.
O6.   Children looking into a raree-shew box, or rarity-show box, for which they pay a penny to the disabled war veteran.  Credits are confusing: As a title I find Adolph Glasbrenner - Guckkaestner (which refers to the man who operates the entertainment, not to the peep-box itself, as der Kasten means a box or case.)  But it seems that the illustration is by Theodor Hosemann, in 1835, and that Glasbrenner, a humorist and satirist, was Hosemann’s collaborator.
O7.   A giant crab about to engulf and devour a boat, from The Alexander Romance, an account of the life of Alexander the Great, 1538–44.  Armenian origin, copied in Rome.  Tempera and ink on paper and parchment. Illuminated by Zak'aria of Gnunik' and Hakob of Julfa.
O8.   Several Jewish men at the synagogue, in an old woodcut.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art in history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight Q, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1383)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


Q1.   Evening Wind, etching by Edward Hopper, 1921.  Woman crouched on a bed with curtains blowing.
Q2.   Futuristic drawing of a colossal suspension bridge, by Hugh Ferriss, from his The Metropolis of Tomorrow, 1929.
Q3.   River flowing through a gorge, from a Chinese banknote, the 10RMB.
Q4.   Volcanoes connected to central source of heat inside earth, engraving by Athanasius Kircher, 1664, from Mundus subterraneus, 1664. Vulcanological theory,
Q5.   Celestial Planisphere (Southern Hemisphere), Granger.  Sky map, showing the constellations.
Q6.   Cut-away view of the eruption of Mount Etna in 1637, from Mundus subterraneus.  Engraving by Athanasius Kircher, 1678.
Q7.   Fire in the city, woodcut.  Looks like Felix Vallotton, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.
Q8.   Earthquake and Eruption of the Mountain of Asayama, Japan, 1783, from an account by Isaac Titsingh, 1822.  The eruption lasted three months.  Chromolithograph, I think.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art and illustration in history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight V, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1393)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


V1.   Boxing match, Britain, 1800s.
V2.   Mosaic of a saint, perhaps John the Baptist, owing to the gesture of the upheld hand.  Byzantine in style; I’ve lost track of the origin.
V3.   The capture of an Amerindian chieftain, double-crossed by the white soldiers.  Drawn by an indigenous artist.
V4.   An anatomical-medical diagram from India.
V5.   Witches, by Hans Baldung Grien, ca. 1514. Another part of this drawing - brush-and-ink with white highlighting - is seen in C27 of the 4x27 tag piece.
V6.   Landscape with palace, stream, and waterfowl, Indian.
V7.   Watercolor of an indigenous American village and its burial ground.
V8.   Natives dancing around a fire in the jungle.  South America?

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art history, hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight W, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1395)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


W1.   Slave market in western Africa, I think.
W2.   Man smoking a pipe as he mows the lawn, from a gardening supply catalogue from the late 1940s.  (The same catalogue as the tag in X2 below.)
W3.   Colossal Elephant statue, India.
W4.   To Beauty, by Otto Dix, 1922. Percussionist and woman in a Berlin cabaret.  (Dix’s self-portrait is out of view here.)
W5.   Servant in Indian palace.  From same illustration as U8 of the eight-tag series.
W6.   KIng and nobles at a ceremony.  Christian?  Aztec?  Peru?  Mexico?
W7.   From a supposed poster for a pulp film from Israel.  The text in Italian (not seen here) says basically, “Surrender! You’re circumcised!”, which puns on circumcised and surrounded:  “circoncisi” or “circondati”.  Great fun, Jewish-Italian humor.
W8.   Antonio Vivaldi, great composer of the Baroque.

A still-life photograph in color of 8 cardboard tags, affixed with imagery from art history - Munch, Redon, Daumier, Khnopff, etc - hung with wire from pegs in a shallow wooden box, with soft illumination from the upper left.

Tags Eight Y, 2020


Eight cardboard tags with applied images hung in a shallow wooden box.  (id#1399)


49.0 x 55.7 cm. at native resolution of 300ppi.

31.5 x 35.8 cm. reduced for A3Plus format, at ca. 467ppi.

Limited edition to be established.


Y1.   Evening. Melancholy I, a woodcut print by Edvard Munch, 1896.
Y2.   Caresses, by Fernand Khnopff, 1896.  The handsome young man is being caressed on the cheek by a lovely woman - or rather a loving creature with the head of a woman but the body of a leopard - and so he looks a little ambivalent.  You have to be careful of some romantic involvements.
Y3.   Samuel Johnson reading, in his portrait (aka “Blinking Sam”) by Joshua Reynolds, 1775.
Y4.   John Keats reading in his study, a portrait by Joseph Severn, 1821-23.
Y5.   By the Table, by Henri Fantin-Latour, his portrait of Arthur Rimbaud, 1872.
Y6.   Man peeping out a window, from a scene of people traveling in a carriage, by Honoré Daumier
Y7.   Closed Eyes, by Odilon Redon, 1890.
Y8.   Woman with infant, a detail from the very famous painting, “Il Quarto Stato”, or The Fourth Estate, by Giuseppe Pellizza Da Volpedo, 1901.  Pellizza’s preliminary study, of 1895-96, was called “La fiumana”, which seems to be a natural hybrid term for “the human river” - “fiume” for river and “umana” for human.  The rest is a crowd of men, common laborers and poor men, who are advancing in a body towards the viewer - a kind of “High Noon” scene.  The feeling is of impending uprising against the rich factory owners. It is to Italians about what “Washington Crossing the Delaware” is to Americans, but more popular (in the sense of “of the people”), and not so heroic and romanticizing.

Tags Pieces - Small Boxes with Eight Tags


Tags Eight A, 2020 (id#1351)


Near the end of this section of the site is a short video of the work, with sound. 


A1.   Drawing by David Bomberg, a study for In the Hold, ca. 1914.
A2.   Drawing by Isaac Abrams, Woodstock, Autumn 2005 (turned 90° clockwise), graphite on paper.
A3.   Drawing by Gray Foy, Dimensions, ca.1945–46.
A4.   Drawing by Frida Kahlo, El Verdadero vacilon, or The True Vacillator, ca.1946-47.
A5.   Drawing by Irving Penn, Tabletop, n.d..
A6.   Drawing by Richard Artschwager, Palace Hotel, 1974.
A7.   Drawing by Frederick Burr Opper, for his comic strip The Happy Hooligan, 23 May 1909.  What’s truly remarkable here is that Opper’s rendition of the movement of someone tumbling down the stairs, so unmistakably reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase of 1913, predates Duchamp’s painting by some four years.  Clearly, Opper was more avant than Duchamp. I suspect that Duchamp may well have been directly inspired by Opper’s comic.  Art historians take note!  Lots of artists from back then read the American comic pages with great enjoyment, and certainly borrowed (or stole, bless 'em!) an idea or two from this supposedly low, popular art form.
A8.   Drawing by Lucian Freud, Man and Town, 1940–41.


Tags Eight B, 2020 (id#1353)


B1.   Sun/Mask, 1984 (inv. #92).  The cast-iron sun-face decoration at the top of an andiron.  35mm.
B2.   Exhaust Stacks, Riverbank Park Waste Processing Facility, N.Y.C., April 1995 (inv. #503).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B3.   Wedge and Spheroid, July 1999 (inv. #680).  View camera.
B4.   Bare Trees II, Bryant Park, NYC, March 1995 (inv. #494).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B5.   Building, Crisp Light, NYC (West 163rd Street), 1982  (inv. #240).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B6.   Bike Rack, Riverbank Park, N.Y.C., April 1995 (inv. #504).  Toy camera, 120 film.
B7.   Pearls, 1991 (inv. #291).  Pin-Zip pinhole camera, 126 film.
B8.   Sun/Mask, 1984 (inv. #92).  The other part of the photograph, showing the life mask of a friend.  35mm.


Tags Eight E, 2020 (id#1359)


E1.   Anemones and stalked jellyfish - pastel by Philip Henry Gosse 19thC.
E2.   Couple playing horsey, from a risquée series of stereoscopic photos.
E3.   Samuel Steward, Paris, 1952.  Steward led an ambitiously active homosexual life, and kept an extensive file card index of all the men he’d had sex with, which he called his “stud file”.
E4.   Photomontage of an orgy, ca. 1890.  Hard to judge the era when nobody has any clothes on.
E5.   Lilli Lehmann as Woglinde in Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Bayreuth, 1876.
E6.   Leda and the Swan, sculpture in marble by an unknown artist, 19th century. Scindia Museum, Gwalior, India.  It is interesting to speculate on the appeal for an Indian public - with its rich culture of Indian mythology - of this classic subject from the Greek myth, in which Zeus takes the form of a swan in order to seduce Leda.  Strange that the maker of such a well-made sculpture should be unknown.  I’m curious also to know how it came to the Gwalior Museum.
E7.   A l’ècole, from “En l’An 2000”, or At School in the Year 2000, illustration by Jean-Marc Côté, ca. 1910.  Schoolboys attending to their lesson in a modern, technologized school.  Off-screen to the right is the schoolmaster loading books into a hopper, while a schoolboy turns the crank; the contents of the books are transmitted to the headphones of the pupils, and thus efficiently uploaded into their young brains.
E8.   German actor Paul Wegener in The Golem, a silent film of 1915 (based on the Jewish legend) about a clay statue created and brought to life in the ghetto of Prague.  Wegener directed along with Henrik Galeen.


Tags Eight G, 2020 (id#1363)

 

G1.   Japanese script concerning the next tag:  The Harbor of Love - On the Island of Women (Koi no minato nyôgo no shimada) by Utagawa Kuniyasu, 1830.
G2.   Japanese woodcut illustration from The Harbor of Love, by Utagawa Kuniyasu, showing two women bowing to a great penis and vulva, 1830.
G3.   Pi, or rather the number it indicates, calculated to many decimal places, in a spiral form.
G4.   Cells in retina of eye, by Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1904.
G5.   The Cenotaph of Isaac Newton, drawing of 1784 by Étienne-Louis Boullée, visionary architect.
G6.   Book cover with esoteric geometrical design.
G7.   Inner Eye, a close-up of an eye.  Artwork by Naoto Hattori (n.d.) printed on a sheet of blotter LSD, hundreds of doses on a sheet.
G8.   Drawing of a columned arch, with writing in an ancient alphabet, two pheasants or peacocks above.


Tags Eight H, 2020 (id#1365)


H1.   Above the Arcade, photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin, 2016.  I can’t tell whether the man has a severe scoliosis or if he is just extremely flexible.  But he fits the composition so perfectly that it was many times that I had seen the photograph before thinking that he might not just be posing in this extreme way.

H2.   Camille Claudel, muse, model, and pupil to Auguste Rodin, above all a great sculptress in her own right.
H3.   Optician’s Shop Window, New York, 1938, photograph by Irving Penn.
H4.   King Mongkut of Thailand (or Siam), portrait by John Thompson,1865.  King Mongkut was the only leader of any country in his region who managed to avoid colonization by the West.
H5.   Magnolia with Mirror, Juchitán, México, 1986.  (Magnolia is the man’s name.)  Photograph by Graciela Iturbide.
H6.   Teenaged boy with ice cream sundae, around the roller rink in Harvey, Illinois, early 1950s.  Photograph by Hugh Edwards.  Edwards was best known as a curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and was important to the early careers of Robert Frank, Duane Michals, and Danny Lyon, among others.  But he was also an excellent photographer in his own right.  This photo is from his ten-year-long project to document the life and activity of a roller rink.  He said that he gave up photography after seeing the work of Robert Frank, who he felt surpassed him so much that it was pointless for him to continue.  But Edwards’s photos stand up very well next to Frank’s.
H7.   Washington Philips, musician and instrument maker, with a double zither of his construction, 1927.
H8.   Robert Frank; photograph by Walker Evans, ca. 1969-70.  A portrait of one great by another.


Tags Eight J, 2020 (id#1369)


J1.   Hesiod and The Muse, drawing by Gustave Moreau, 1857.
J2.   Head of an Apostle, by Raphael Buonarroti, ca. 1503.
J3.   The Tiber Monster of 1496, a fantastical creature, folio 90 from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.
J4.   A river scene in the mountains, from Chinese currency, the 20RMB banknote.
J5.   A Gathering at Woods Edge, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, ca. 1770–73. A bucolic scene.
J6.   Dark matter, simulated by means of a high-­resolution algorithm, from the Kavli Institute, Stanford.
J7.   Illustration of jellyfish by Ernst Haeckel, naturalist and artist, from his Kunstformen der Natur, or Art Forms in Nature.
J8.   The Crab Nebula.


Tags Eight L, 2020 (id#1373)


L1.   People taking water from a pump, operated by the figure of Death (cropped out here), to show the ease with which contagious diseases are spread.  (Death is seen in "Homage", the 4x12 piece, B2.)
L2.   Fayum mummy portrait of a man, from Fayum in Roman Egypt, ca. 200-300AD.  A naturalism very surprising when we think of the art of Egypt, but typical for Egyptian funerary portraiture of that time.
L3.   Formerly enslaved man working as a camp cook for Union troops, US Civil War.
L4.   Monstrous Birth, 1513, from The Book of Miracles, a mid-16th century book of wonders.  A multi-limbed child.
L5.   An advertisement for Barnum’s Museum, featuring Commodore Nutt, the smallest man alive, ca. 1870.
L6.   Autoritratto in forma di gufo, or Self-portrait in the Form of an Owl, by Alberto Savinio (brother of the more famous surrealist painter Giorgio De Chirico), ca. 1930.
L7.   Newspaper reproduction of mug photo of a man who, with two others, was charged with rape and murder.  To look at him, you’d probably suppose that he must be guilty.  Same with his two friends and codefendants.  But like me, you’d be wrong - they were innocent.  1950s.
L8.   The Giant Antaeus, engraving by Gustave Doré, 1863, for La Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto XXXI.


Tags Eight M, 2020 (id#1375)


M1.   A young woman getting raped by an Ottoman soldier during a war in the Balkans, in an engraving by Austrian artist Gottfried Sieben, 1909.  The remarkable thing about this series of engravings, called Balkangreuel, or Balkan Atrocities or Balkan Horror, other than the vicious stereotypes of the Turks, is that Sieben managed to combine horror with pornographic appeal, a pretty sick combination.  But it seems that Sieben (who used the name Archibald Smith for this series) had a stock in trade of erotica.  He also did a series on the subject of Messalina, the Roman empress (wife of Claudius) who had a reputation, as they say.  (The women in the illustrations strongly resemble illustrator Ralph Dana Gibson’s Gibson Girls, adding another layer of weird to Sieben’s work.)  Another picture from this series is found in "A Landscape Painted with Tea", the 4x27 tag piece, at A8.
M2.   The Martyrdom of St. John the Evangelist, from The Book of Hours of Simon de Varie, by Jean Fouquet, ca.1455-60.
M3.   Contra el bien general, or Against the Common Good , 1810-15, etching by Francesco Goya, plate 71 from Los Desastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War.
M4.   Smithfield Martyrs, ca. 1556. Man being dismembered, then to be thrown on the fire.  From a period when to be Protestant was heresy.
M5.   Cuthbert Simpson on the Rack, 1558, a victim of the Marian Persecution.
M6.   Christian martyrs attacked by lions and leopards in the arena.
M7.   The Burning of 18 Anabaptists at Salzburg, 1528.  Engraving by Jan Luyken, 1685.  Dissenters being burned at the stake.
M8.   The Execution of the Conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, by Nicolaes Jansz Visscher, etching 1606.  Guy Fawkes, mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot, was to be executed as well, but he cheated the executioner - he fell or jumped from the scaffold and broke his neck, dying instantly. He was still dismembered.


Tags Eight O, 2020 (id#1379 )


O1.   A Jewish woman and her children playing a Passover game of hiding the matzoh.
O2.   A mesmerist hypnotizing a woman, from La Nature, Paris, 1881.
O3.   A Muslim scholar reading and studying in a city of the Middle East.
O4.   A planter in the American South, shortly after the end of the Civil War, reading the newspaper and smoking and answering the request of one of his black laborers (in O5).  He is saying, “We’ve taken care of you for long enough.  Now you’ll have to work.
O5.   The former slave, now a sharecropper, who has something to ask of his former master, in O4.
O6.   Children looking into a raree-shew box, or rarity-show box, for which they pay a penny to the disabled war veteran.  Credits are confusing:  as a title I find Adolph Glasbrenner - Guckkaestner (which refers to the man who operates the entertainment, not to the peep-box itself, as der Kasten means a box or case.)  But it seems that the illustration is by Theodor Hosemann, in 1835, and that Glasbrenner, a humorist and satirist, was Hosemann’s collaborator.
O7.   A giant crab about to engulf and devour a boat, from The Alexander Romance, an account of the life of Alexander the Great, 1538–44.  Armenian origin, copied in Rome.  Tempera and ink on paper and parchment.  Illuminated by Zak'aria of Gnunik' and Hakob of Julfa.
O8.   Several Jewish men at the synagogue, in an old woodcut.


Tags Eight Q, 2020 (id#1383)


Q1.   Evening Wind, etching by Edward Hopper, 1921.  A woman crouched on a bed with curtains blowing.
Q2.   Futuristic drawing of a colossal suspension bridge, by Hugh Ferriss, from his The Metropolis of Tomorrow, 1929.
Q3.   River flowing through a gorge, from a Chinese banknote, the 10RMB.
Q4.   Volcanoes connected to central source of heat inside earth, engraving by Athanasius Kircher, 1664, from Mundus subterraneus, 1664.  Vulcanological theory,
Q5.   Celestial Planisphere (Southern Hemisphere), Granger.  Sky map, showing the constellations.
Q6.   Cut-away view of the eruption of Mount Etna in 1637, from Mundus subterraneus.  Engraving by Athanasius Kircher, 1678.
Q7.   Fire in the city, woodcut. Looks like Felix Vallotton, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.
Q8.   Earthquake and Eruption of the Mountain of Asayama, Japan, 1783, from an account by Isaac Titsingh, 1822.  The eruption lasted three months. Chromolithograph, I think.


Tags Eight V, 2020 (id#1393)


V1.   Boxing match, Britain, 1800s.
V2.   Mosaic of a saint, perhaps John the Baptist, owing to the gesture of the upheld hand.  Byzantine in style; I’ve lost track of the origin.
V3.   The capture of an Amerindian chieftain, double-crossed by the white soldiers.  Drawn by an indigenous artist.
V4.   An anatomical-medical diagram from India.
V5.   Witches, by Hans Baldung Grien, ca. 1514.  Another part of this drawing - brush-and-ink with white highlighting - is seen in C27 of the 4x27 tag piece, "A Landscape Painted with Tea".
V6.   Landscape with palace, stream, and waterfowl, Indian.
V7.   Watercolor of an indigenous American village and its burial ground.
V8.   Natives dancing around a fire in the jungle. South America?


Tags Eight W, 2020 (id#1395)


W1.   Slave market in western Africa, I think.
W2.   Man smoking a pipe as he mows the lawn, from a gardening supply catalogue from the late 1940s.  (The same catalogue as the tag in X2 below.)
W3.   Colossal Elephant statue, India.
W4.   To Beauty, by Otto Dix, 1922. Percussionist and woman in a Berlin cabaret.  (Dix’s self-portrait is out of view here.)
W5.   Servant in Indian palace.  From same illustration as U8 of the eight-tag series.
W6.   KIng and nobles at a ceremony.  Christian?  Aztec?  Peru?  Mexico?
W7.   From a supposed poster for a pulp film from Israel.  The text in Italian (not seen here) says basically, “Surrender!  You’re circumcised!”, which puns on circumcised and surrounded: “circoncisi” for “circondati”.  Great fun, Jewish-Italian humor.
W8.   Antonio Vivaldi, great composer of the Baroque.


Tags Eight Y, 2020 (id#1399)


Y1.   Evening. Melancholy I, a woodcut print by Edvard Munch, 1896.
Y2.   Caresses, by Fernand Khnopff, 1896.  The handsome young man is being caressed on the cheek by a lovely woman - or rather a loving creature with the head of a woman but the body of a leopard - and so he looks a little ambivalent.  You have to be careful of some romantic involvements.
Y3.   Samuel Johnson reading, in his portrait (aka “Blinking Sam”) by Joshua Reynolds, 1775.
Y4.   John Keats reading in his study, a portrait by Joseph Severn, 1821-23.
Y5.   By the Table, by Henri Fantin-Latour, his portrait of Arthur Rimbaud, 1872.
Y6.   Man peeping out a window, from a scene of people traveling in a carriage, by Honoré Daumier
Y7.   Closed Eyes, by Odilon Redon, 1890.
Y8.   Woman with infant, a detail from the very famous painting, “Il Quarto Stato”, or The Fourth Estate, by Giuseppe Pellizza Da Volpedo, 1901.  Pellizza’s preliminary study for this painting, of 1895-96, was called “La fiumana”, which seems to be a natural hybrid term for “the human river” - “fiume” for river and “umana” for human.  The rest is a crowd of men, common laborers and poor men, who are advancing in a body towards the viewer - a kind of “High Noon” scene.  The feeling is of impending uprising against the rich factory owners.  It is to Italians about what “Washington Crossing the Delaware” is to Americans, but more militant, rather than heroic and romanticizing.


© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020. All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.



Tags Pieces - Artist’s Statement, and Introduction to the Index of Images


WHAT?  Why?  How?  Explain yourself!


For years I have worked with found objects in making still-life photographs.  Lately I’ve been working with found images.  Wildly diverse, they are brought together in boxes or cases, to serve as subjects for photographs.  The photographic prints I make from them - since the print is very important to me - are final distillations of the ideas of the works.  But the original constructions are also sculptures in their own right.


Every image I use was selected for an importance that I felt.  Some are points of departure for stories or events that I find evocative, or an observation of life.  Some are puzzles.  A great many are of horrible things; this may suggest an overriding pessimism or disappointment with civilization on my part, a cry of despair, a protest.  These horrible things have hardly changed over the centuries, it seems clear, and I guess that is part of the point.  I hope I have leavened the mix with a few notes of beauty, heroism, love, genius, and humanity as a reminder that a better life is possible.  (Is this the place to issue the by-now customary warning against traumatizing the innocent or sensitive viewer and reader with some of the worst in humanity? If so, be hereby warned.  Sorry, but these are only pictures taken from life.)


Many of the images are the expressions of other artists, the ideas and feelings they embodied, and this inspired me in turn.  The images may be fun, funny, kitschy, ironic, dramatic, corny, pathetic, mystical, romantic, perplexing, brutal, idyllic, heroic, louche, perverse, atrocious, cruel, pastoral, allegorical, satirical, sentimental, inspiring, cryptic, surreal, visionary. They are of high culture and low, modern and ancient.  There are saints among the monsters and mega-murderers.  Assassins, informers, rebels, outlaws, revolutionaries, insurrectionists, poets, preachers, visionaries, performers, political prisoners, terrorists, reactionaries and racists, hypocrites and fools, disseminators of hatred, the dejected, the idealistic, the shat-upon, the cursed, the doomed and the damned, the cowards and the courageous, the pure and the innocent.


I studied art history in college, and was always fascinated and rewarded by what I saw and learned.  I never saw myself as an academic, however - I wanted to make the stuff, not just study it.  But my interest in art history has never waned, and every year brings a deeper and richer appreciation of all that has gone before.  My curiosity, too, is as strong as ever - the art-historical impulse of the amateur has never left me.  In fact, it is only in recent decades that I’ve begun to feel that I have begun to understand a few things that were introduced to me decades ago.  By now I'm able to make connections with many other things.


For years I’ve been collecting clippings of illustrations from various print sources, their subjects usually from art, history, and photography, with no particular objective in mind.  I sort them roughly by type:  paintings and other art from the world over, engravings and other kinds of prints, photographs, scientific, etc..  Meanwhile I’ve also been collecting image files from the internet, with a similar gamma of subject matter.  In this also I have had only the ambition to develop my own personal image bank.  While the clippings have accumulated in several folders, the files I import are periodically sorted into an extensive catalogue of images.  I check that the file names are accurate (or at least adequate), and when there’s time I do some basic keywording.


A practical stimulus for this work - since I tend to get ideas for my work from things I have on hand - was the accumulation of little cardboard tags from the bottles of wine that I bought over the course of several years from Il Vinologo, a store that sells wine in bulk - you bring your bottles, they fill’em.  (Very decent wine for a very reasonable price, and the perfect way to recycle wine bottles.)  Anyhow, they put a little tag of theirs on each bottle so you’ll know later which is the Barbera, or the Nero d’Avola or the Ruché.  Each tag is hung from the bottle with an elastic band.  (If you leave the band stretched tight around the neck of the bottle, it makes a good drop-catcher.)  I was already thinking of various ideas for photographs of objects hung in a box or case, and it came to me to affix all sorts of images to the labels and suspend them from little pegs in a shallow case.  Like the cases for hanging keys in a hotel.  I had plenty of material to work with - hundreds of tags, each 4 x 7 cm., with a hole punched in one end. *


This gallery includes sets of indices, legends, or keys to the images used, as you may have already seen.  For each of the three larger pieces, I have inserted an index page right after the details or close-ups, which seems a handy spot, and easy to skip over if you'd rather look at the photographs.  For the smaller works with only eight tags each, I have put each one's index within its caption, and all of them together in their own text page as well.


When I started with these constructions, I didn’t think that it would become such an extensive job.  But this is the way things go with me - I get more involved than expected, swallowed up.  It’s a kick, too.  At some point as the works were taking shape, it occurred to me that I ought to include an index to the tags.  Images suggest a lot, but they don’t always explain themselves.  Some images here will be recognizable to almost anyone, but many others are somewhat (or very) obscure.  While I think that they function as images in the works in the way I wanted - that they say visually what I want said - a viewer’s curiosity should be satisfied if possible.  Thus the index.


To compile this information I started by listing whatever I could from memory.  Although this was a lot, it was still incomplete, and plain wrong in a few cases.  I referred back to other records I keep which could tell me something.  Where information still lacked, I researched until I found it - usually.  (Google’s Image Search found matches for several distinct works, but failed with more generic “orphan” images, giving me only several perfect matches for their color schemes, which would be useful if I were looking for wallpaper.)  Part of the difficulty is due to the rarity with which images are properly identified on many websites - a matter of carelessness, sadly.  Another problem is that in past centuries, and with certain types of production (e.g., engraving and illustration in general), an artist’s identity was often considered unimportant.


So, despite the additional work, building the index was very satisfying.  I learned a great deal from getting sidetracked, as usual.  It often seems to me that I learn the most when I should be doing something else - when sheer curiosity is what drives me.


Allen Schill

December 2020


* It occurred to me that these pieces come from the same impulse as my much older body of work, Family of Mankind, 35 collages of black-and-white Polaroid proofs that I collected during two years (1973-75) working at a tiny studio on the basement level of Alexander’s Department store on Lexington and 59th.  The main business of the Blow-Up Shop was to make poster-sized blow-ups of people’s snapshots or family portraits.  Some of these jobs were casual, jokey things, such as for an office party.  But many were photographs of great importance to the customer - a graduation portrait of someone the first in her family to graduate from college.  Sometimes there was a very powerful emotional charge.  (A snapshot in poor condition of a boy who later had been struck by a bus, but which was still the best or only photo available for the funeral service.  Other sad stories.)  Our routine was to copy the customer’s photograph with a Polaroid film that yielded a negative to print from and a B&W proof.  I collected most of the proofs, often compelling for the human drama, comedy, or dignity they contained.  A panorama of humanity.  I had to do something, and eventually I assembled them, naming them for the 1955 MOMA exhibition, The Family Of Man, curated by Edward Steichen (and the book by the same name, which we had in our house when I was a kid).  I was following the same theme.  And here I am some 45 years later doing it again.


It has also occurred to me that one very latent influence on these works may have been Dan McLaughlin's wonderful animation, best known as “Classical Gas” to most people (who were around in 1968).  It was featured then on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, along with Mason Williams’s performance of his composition (by that name) for guitar and orchestra.  (McLaughlin’s film, of 1967, was originally titled “GOD IS DOG SPELLED BACKWARDS”, and his soundtrack was taken from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.) 


McLaughlin’s animation consisted of some 2500 images of classical works of art which flashed by in only three minutes, at the usual rate of twelve images per second.  (At the end, the viewers are informed that they are now “cultural” because they have covered 3000 years of art in three minutes.  Although I can appreciate the irony of this statement, it seems merely flippant in the manner of the late 1960s, and it means much less to me than the tremendous quantity - and quality! - of the material that has been condensed into a short interval.  I can still remember the impression this had on me and my brother at the age of seventeen - a barrage of evocative images, conveyed at a speed beyond the threshold of perception.  A mental trip.  One can make out perhaps three images per second; the rest register only subliminally.  The overall effect of this mad, flood-like frequency is one of overload, but one which stimulates the mind rather than numbing it.  Aside from their delivery via bombardment, all these human creations - mostly paintings and historical scenes - are highly evocative in themselves.  Not a long road from this animation to what I’ve done with the tags, a slow way of working with a similar idea.  I'm in no hurry, and I want to give the images the time theydeserve.


Classical Gas - 3000 Years of Art
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viyufRQKlto


© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020.  All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.


P.S. - Following here in this "gallery" are a series of four videos of the works shown above as photographs, in the order already encountered.  They are collected here rather than being put right after the corresponding work, only so as not to interrupt the flow of silent concentration on images that don't move.

They're right around the corner on this site (where the presentation is more elegant than on Vimeo), but here are the links anyway to the same videos on Vimeo:


A Brief History of the World
https://vimeo.com/521161547

Homage
https://vimeo.com/520358592

A Landscape Painted with Tea
https://vimeo.com/524287760

The Tags Variations

https://vimeo.com/521365701


A short video of the piece "A Brief History of the World".

A short video of the piece "Homage".

A short video of the piece "A Landscape Painted with Tea".

A short video of the series of variations of a box hung with eight coordinated tags, known for short as "Tags Variations".

Method and Technique (for wonks only)


I chose clippings for the tags, which I would use just as they were.  Also, a selection of image files were brought to size, assembled in a Photoshop document, printed in black-and-white with a laser printer on ordinary paper, and finally cut into separate pieces.  I also went ahead with the construction of the boxes or cases, all made with wood I had on hand, some scrap, and a couple of wooden panels from some very good shipping crates.  One box was roughly square, painted black with the scrap wood’s texture showing, one a small, short horizontal format, one a longish horizontal, and one a very long horizontal. These last three were of unfinished wood, which I stained a deep brown.  Separately, I also stained a number of skinny wooden kebab sticks and cut them into suitable lengths.


First removing the elastic bands, I applied the tags to a roll of archival mounting adhesive, then cut the tags carefully to separate them.  Then, one tag at a time, I removed the adhesive’s backing sheet and affixed an image (whether a clipping or something I printed), allowing a millimeter or two to stick out from all four edges.  I trimmed the protruding material, burnished the whole sandwich, and re-punched the hole.  I had nearly 500 tags, which I sorted according to the schema that were developing in my mind.


To work some of the bugs out of my method, I started with the small box.  Mainly I wanted to figure precisely how the tags would be positioned, and thus the intervals that would remain.  I was going to have to drill many peg holes in the backs of the cases, and I didn’t want to make mistakes.  (Of this small box, I re-drilled several of the holes once or twice because I didn’t like the intervals that resulted.)  Measurements established, I made marks on the backs of the three larger pieces to indicate where to drill, drilled the the holes, and glued the pegs in place.


As soon as I hung a few sample tags in the small box, it was clear that the elastic bands wouldn't work - hanging from a peg, the tags twisted unpredictably, while I wanted them to face more or less frontally.  My recourse was a thin wire wrapped in brown paper, which I could twist so the tag could hang well.  I cut 450 or so lengths of this wire and strung them to the tags.


I worked with all three of the larger pieces more or less contemporaneously, hanging the tags at first provisionally, but always with an eye to what worked best.  I lived with them for weeks and made changes, discovering or applying a scheme to the arrangements.  (Which are not the result of chance as they might appear. Chance can be a useful element in some works of art, but here I felt that such a refusal to decide and control would have lacked rigor.  For me, the arbitrariness of the sizes of the boxes and the size of the tags was enough "random" for me; I still had to find a forceful, harmonious resolution within these "givens".) When I was satisfied with the three large pieces, I used the remaining tags to make the many versions of the eight-tag piece.  (I had already made numerous provisional groupings of eight.)  Of the larger pieces, the squarish one consisted of five rows of nine columns, the smaller rectangular piece of four rows of twelve columns, and the long horizontal piece of four rows of 27 columns. There were 28 variants produced with the small box.  This makes a total of 425 tags, a little more than half used for the small box variants.

The squarish work, “A Brief History of the World”, consists of clippings in color, and the two bigger horizontal pieces are composed of clippings in monochrome (whether black-and-white or sepia) and of my own image files printed in black-and-white.  The variations of the eight-tag box are mostly monochromatic or sepia in key.  Many of the clippings were yellowing.  Some of the files that I printed in black-and-white were too bright for what I wanted, so I toned them down with a fingertip and some espresso coffee.  This tended to unify the color scheme or palette of the piece, a sepia backed by the warm dark brown of the case.  It was then that I decided to print the resulting photographs in color, in order to vaunt the beautiful warmth of the constructions.  (With my usual still-life photography, I almost always print in black-and-white.  The source images are in color, but when I construct a photograph I’m visualizing it in black-and-white.)  I like very much the subtlety of monochrome as opposed to the “impact” of color.  Of course it all depends on the image and what the artist is trying to do. But here I had a subject that, in color, would look almost like a subtle monochrome print.  I also started to think of the idea of the landscape painted with tea.

Once the pieces were constructed, the photographs were quick work - relatively.  While most of my recent photographs were done of subjects positioned on the floor and photographed straight down, the tag pieces had to be photographed frontally.  This required an adjustment of my studio set-up, and I worked with one of the small boxes to establish good positions for the light, subject, and camera.  My studio has low ceilings, so I was constrained to position the subject and the camera as low as possible, as I wanted the light to come from above and to the left of the subject, the same type of lighting I use for subjects placed on the floor and photographed from above.  (With high ceilings I could have raised the light, a much easier solution.)  The subjects were only several inches off the floor, an awkward place to work.  The only way to get the camera just as low was to mount it upside down on the boom, which seems somehow unnatural - I never even imagined it was possible until I was forced by necessity.  It’s also an awkward position, but it works.  (The column functions like a tripod - it’s a vertical column on a broad solid base, with a boom arm attached, on which the camera is mounted.)

With the lighting established, I was able to photograph the 28 combinations in the small box without complications.  Then I had to determine the best way to photograph the larger three pieces in two or three or more multiple sections, in order to have an image of much higher definition.  To do this with a small subject, one can easily move the camera laterally, cranking the boom left or right.  But the boom only goes so far - not enough for the longest piece - and besides, the fall-off of light from left to right becomes significant with long subjects.  After a few trials I decided to move the subject left and right for all the larger pieces.  But I had to be very careful, in shifting the subject, to maintain the consistent inclination.  (I had already made single-frame photographs of the two medium-sized pieces since it was easy to do.)

My usual practice with still-life photographs has been to make several exposures of each subject, each exposure made at a slightly different focus from the others.  These are laboriously combined, choosing the sharpest zones of each one, to create a master file with optimal focus everywhere, near or far.  Such a technique is most crucial when working with small subjects - the closer the camera is to the subject, the shallower the depth of focus.  That is, if I focus on a point about halfway between the nearest and farthest parts of the subject, the near and far parts will be noticeably out of focus. With a big subject, the camera is farther away, such that focusing at a halfway point will still give good focus elsewhere.  With the tags pieces, I made the exposures at several different focuses in case a single overall focus wasn’t good enough.  (This can only be judged critically on a computer screen.)  It worked out well, however, as the exposures focused on the tags were perfectly good as well for box edges and box back, the nearest and farthest points. Even the small box, with room for eight tags, was quite good.  This was a relief, because I didn’t look forward to my usual labor of unifying many layers.


Allen Schill

December, 2020


© Copyright Allen Schill, 2020.  All rights reserved.  Anyone is welcome to use the above for any educational, cultural, journalistic, or other non-commercial purpose, or to cite passages for a review, but I would be very glad to be notified and linked.




© Copyright Allen Schill

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