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August 12, 2010 - No Comments!

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker rose from a life of hardship to become the sensual and sensational darling of Art Deco Paris. Born in St Louis, Missouri in 1906, working for an abusive white woman at the age of 8 and dropping out of school to live rough aged 12, her dancing on street corners got her noticed. She moved to New York to take part in the renaissance gripping the neighbourhood of Harlem, and it was not long before she crossed the Atlantic to dance in the French capital. It was at the notorious Folies Bergere that she performed her infamous Danse Sauvage in 1925, wearing the iconic banana skirt that became her trademark.

The French embraced Josephine as their own and she shot to super stardom, for her singing and acting as well as her dancing. Continuing to perform until 1975 (the year she died) she pioneered the elevation of the black performer and was highly involved with the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 60s. The energy, skill and playfulness with which she danced is amazing! Here is a clip of her performing at the Revue des Revues in 1927. There's no sound, but put on an upbeat song in the background - I listened to this - it works!

August 6, 2010 - No Comments!

Happy Birthday to…Andy Warhol

If Andy Warhol were alive, he'd be the ripe old age of 82 today. Whatever you think of his art, he undeniably changed the visual landscape of the 20th century, putting to canvas a potent mix of consumerism, death and celebrity that remains an iconic symbol of what it meant/means to be modern. Some of my favourite works are his early advertising illustrations from the 1950s before he shot to super stardom. In particular, his drawings of shoes, employing the use of the blotted line, bold colours and whimsical slogans, always make me smile.

[pullquote author="Andy Warhol"]I never understood why when you died, you didn't just vanish, everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn't be there. I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I'd like it to say 'figment.'[/pullquote]

[pullquote author="Andy Warhol"]People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.[/pullquote]

[pullquote author="Andy Warhol"]They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.[/pullquote]