Boo-Horray gallery on West 23rd St will present Dreamweapon: The Art and Life of Angus MacLise from May 10 – May 29 curated by Johan Kugelberg (JOHANN KUGELBERG!!!) and Will Cameron. The larger project will also encompass a Sound Installation (at 265 Canal St) and a Film series at Anthology (on May 12th) featuring the film and video works by Ira Cohen and Piero Heliczer. The exhibition marks the first overview of the artist, poet, percussionist, and composer active in New York, San Francisco, Paris, London and Kathmandu from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Best known as the original drummer of the Velvet Underground, MacLise’s lifework included music, calligraphy, performance art, poetry, drawings, plays, and limited edition artist’s books.
The exhibition website states:
On Summer Solstice 1979, MacLise died from hypoglycemia in Kathmandu, and was cremated in the fashion of Tibetan Buddhist funerary rites.
A suitcase of Angus MacLise’s artwork, publications, and manuscript as well as more than 100 hours of recorded music was left with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela for safe-keeping thirty years ago. This extraordinary time-vault is the foundation of the exhibition, with additional materials drawn from private previously unseen collections and archives.
The 521 West 23rd Street exhibition features manuscript, calligraphy, ephemera, photography, artwork, memorabilia, posters and handbills illuminating MacLise’s multi-faceted career through a narrative of original artifacts.
The 265 Canal Street Suite 601 sound installation, the premiere exhibition at Boo-Hooray’s new Chinatown space, features previously unheard recordings from the 1960’s and 1970’s featuring Angus MacLise performing alongside notables such as: Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, John Cale, Billy Name, Terry Riley, William Breeze, Piero Heliczer, Jack Smith, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker among others. Each day one may experience a unique set of curated programs of MacLise’s music. Every day is different.
Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 8pm, Anthology Film Archives are hosting an evening of film and video works by Ira Cohen and Piero Heliczer. At the center is the underground classic, The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda (Dir. Ira Cohen, 1968), showcasing the music of Angus MacLise. The program will also include works by Heliczer featuring MacLise, and Marty Topp’s portapak video from the Ira Cohen Jefferson St. loft (1971-72). Boo-Hooray are also pumped to announce the world premiere of Heavy Canon, directed by Ira Cohen (1968/2011). This film is comprised of unseen 16mm footage shot in Cohen’s Mylar Chamber and scored with the music of Angus MacLise.
“Angus MacLise was the Velvet Underground’s first drummer. He withdrew when he found out that at a paying job he had to start and stop playing when told to. No one told Angus to stop playing. So the job of a working musician was impossible for Angus, and he taught us all a lesson about purity of spirit.” — Lou Reed
Co-curator Johan Kugelberg describes Angus MacLise as the American Henri Michaux:
MacLise was a collaborative partner in the early 1960’s with art groups and individuals such as Fluxus (George Maciunas, Yoko Ono), Theatre of the Ridiculous, and Jack Smith. As a poet, MacLise began publishing in partnership with high school friend Piero Heliczer in the late 1950’s, establishing the Dead Language Press in Paris, widely acknowledged as one a most significant small artist book presses of the 20th Century. Together with his wife, artist and underground press illustrator Hetty MacLise, he edited issue No. 9 of the magazine-in-a-box, Aspen, considered a hallmark of American publishing.