Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)
Nam June Paik
Smith, the larger-than-life pioneer of underground cinema, was one of the founders of performance art and the creator of the “superstar” persona that was so influential for Andy Warhol. In the early 1960s, at midnight events in his downtown Manhattan loft Smith slowly assembled a costume from heaps of clothing piled on the floor. This photograph of one member of his entourage evokes the experience of attending these soirées. During the protracted evenings, it was difficult to tell where Smith’s real life stopped and his performance began. The sense of time created by his extended performances influenced artists such as Joan Jonas and Robert Wilson.
Jack Smith (American, 1932-1989). Head. 1958. Gelatin silver print, 14 1/4 x 11 1/4 (36.2 x 28.4 cm). Purchase. © 2008 The Estate of Jack Smith
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