Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Stéphane Mandelbaum

Portrait of a Turkish Punk (Stéphane Mandelbaum)

A show of Stéphane Mandelbaum's work just just closed at The Drawing Center. Mandelbaum like Pasolini died violently-- at a particularly young age (he was 25). Mandelbaum was an infant terrible and one of those artists who bust onto the scene, their light almost extinguished by its own brightness. Rimbaud comes to mind, as does the turbulent period of Weimar Germany explored in Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz. Indeed Francis Bacon's model George Dyer, a one-time criminal, was one of the artist's subjects along with Pasolini and a number of personalities in the night life of 60s Brussels. Mandelbaum was a perfectionist in love with impurity. For example, he liked to imbed pornographic snapshots into his meticulous drawings. Many of his pieces were collages. Ironically Mandelbaum became an art thief. Shades of Wyatt Gwyon in William Gaddis' The Recognitions? Mandelbaum calls up a litany of literary and artistic characters including, of course, Caravaggio and Genet. He inhabited Hades and was ultimately killed by criminals, who threw acid in his face so that his body could not be identified. His short life's work, however, was less criminal than prolifically transgressive.

Read Francis Levy's "Making the Graphic Novel Graphic," Vol. 1 Brooklyn

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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