Sunday, August 29, 2004

Ginsberg Exhibition

Yesterday morning I went to Chapel Hill with a friend to see Lines Drawn in the Sand: The Life and Writings of Allen Ginsberg, a terrific exhibition at UNC (through August 31) in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Area of Wilson Library.

Among the things I saw were a blue book exam from a Columbia class taught by Meyer Schapiro (Ginsberg received a B on the exam). The answers discussed Picasso, Léger, Cézanne. I was struck by Ginsberg's beginning one of his answers with the phrase "I don't remember."

I also enjoyed seeing a number of broadsides. One was of "Kral Majales" with a Robert LaVigne drawing. There also was a broadside of "A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley." Another broadside contained the "Moloch" section of Howl and an engraving depicting the figure of Moloch. A broadside for "America" had the original with a French translation, along with prints by Roy Lichtenstein.

I saw some of Ginsberg's typescripts, with his corrections. The exhibit also had on display a mimeographed Howl. I learned that the copies of Howl that Ginsberg sent out to famous people (including Charles Chaplin) were mimeographs. It was also great to see Ginsberg's self-published second book, Siesta in Xbalba and Return to the States (1956), around fifty copies of which were ever produced.

Also on exhibit were numerous photographs taken by Ginsberg, with his handwritten commentary (leading to some interesting handwriting analysis of Ginsberg by my friend).

The exhibition wasn't restricted to Ginsberg, but also contained displays featuring other Beat writers.

I enjoyed the exhibition a great deal, and saw some amazing and surprising things.

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