Tuesday, February 27, 2018


As an afficianado of anything to do with cave paintings, the latest news is terrific. Artwork found in caves at three locations in Spain appear to confirm that they were "painted" by Neanderthals.

Homo Sapiens, reached Europe 40,000 years ago; these art works date from 65,000 years ago. This is the new birth date of art. 

We know that Europeans and Asians have 1-2% Neanderthal genes in their DNA. These new findings suggest that Sapiens and Neanderthals shared a consciousness - and a desire to crawl into caves and paint.

It's a fascinating story which was widely covered in national papers around the world. The Guardian story by Ian Semple begins:  'More than 65,000 years ago, a Neanderthal reached out and made strokes in red ochre on the wall of a cave, and in doing so, became the first known artist on earth, scientists claim'

Check out this link: Were Neanderthals Artists 

What you see [above left]  is a drawing of one of those artworks. Spots up at the top, a "ladder-type" form containg two different animal parts [they believe these were added by a later artist!] and something else. I have looked at all the videos, pictures and read the accounts.

THE GENERALIST has noticed something. Nobody talks about the shape on the right. It's in none of the accounts. Is it just me or does this look remarkably like an ant perched on some kind of rotor and flying craft made of bones? The scientist's involved did say that nobody would ever be able to decipher the full meaning of this painting - but we can speculate.

What does that stand for? If it's symbolic what the hell is it symbolising. Is it an extra-terrestrial Banksy? It looks incredibly modern and is the first thing I have ever seen which I might consider having tattooed on my body. What else could it be? Whatever it is, I love it!

The Generalist has been tracking developments in many aspects of Ancient Art since 2009. Use Search box (top left) to find them.

Monday, February 26, 2018


Sometimes real life takes over. After a two-month break, THE GENERALIST is back in action. When I finally did manage to shake of the effects of one or maybe two seasonal bugs, I visited the 'Magazine Brighton' shop in Trafalgar Street where I purchased these three titles that demonstrate that print is still a powerful medium.

Jamie Read's cover for the  'Anarchy in the UK' a promotional
zine published by Malcolm McClaren's company Gitterbest. The
front cover features Soo Catwoman, a London punk icon.

'Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980' is a book stuffed with fantastic punk print memorabilia collected by Toby Mott, a punk anarchist who, then and later, amassed a huge collection of concert and promotional posters, flyers, fanzines, music papers and pop magazines, a selection of which appears in this book.

Mott writes a great compressed biopic of his life being an anarchist punk in London in that period, Rick Poynter writes 'Graphic Anarchy in the UK', an interesting essay about the design and style of these ephemeral pieces of print.

The entire rest of the book is a brilliant whambam headbut of these powerful scraps, run full-page size, arranged chronologically with minimum captions, printed on the right kind of cheap litho paper. Its a WOW. Phaidon first published this book in 2016. I got the last copy in the shop, Its damaged cover not only makes it distinctive but it also earnt me a discount.

'Punk was a moment of social and cultural insubordination when the established ways of forming a band, writing a song, dressing in the street, or laying out a page or a flyer were thrown aside. The crucial thing was to participate, to make your own scene and not meekly accept what the market decided you should consume. Now that the X-Factorised music business is more controlling and deterministic than ever, punk's core message is even more urgent. An authentic living culture should have DIY entwined in its DNA. Toby Mott's collection is raw, messy and seething with life. It's both an arresting document of what happened and an incitement to seize the moment, reject the obvious choices, find some like-minded collaborators and construct something challenging and new.' - Rick Poynter

'Dressed Like A Woman' was published as a limited edition newspaper of 5,000 copies. The Dutch artist Jet Nitkamp used pastels on newsprint to produce a series of subversive images that disturb and resonate on many levels. Here is a shortened version of the editorial that explains the project and the artist's intentions.

In her project 'Dress Like A Woman', Jet Nijkamp expresses her worries about the misogynist attitude of president Donald Trump of the United States and his government, not just because of its consequences for women in the US, but also because it could encourage misogynist developments elsewhere in the world. 
Soon after his inauguration Trump decided to cut governmental support for planned parenthood and abortion. Dutch minister Ploumen reacted instantly and founded She Decides to help fill the financial gap. Artists in Amsterdam wanted to contribute and sold their work for the benefit of this fund at the Nasty Women Exhibition in Amsterdam. 
On this occasion Jet Nijkamp created a series of pastel drawings on photographs of Donald Trump in newspapers, in which she reacted against the White House decree that all women working there should 'dress like a woman'. She asked herself how Trump would look in a dress? How would he look as a woman of his age and with his figure? 
With pastel Jet Nijkamp drew women's clothing on newspaper photographs of Trump. She gave him a skirt, high heels, blouses with rushes, a swimsuit, a tutu and so on. She didn't change his age nor his figure, she just put him women's clothes on. Would he respect himself as a woman? 
Now, after a year of adapting photographs from 20 different local and international newspapers and presenting them at different Nasty Women Exhibitions (Amsterdam, Mexico, London), it is time to conclude the project with a publication of all the drawings made until now. Thanks to publisher Tien-stuks, specialized in art publications, it was possible to publish this once-only newspaper (naturally) on January l0th 2018, exactly a year after Trumps inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America.
All the images in the paper can be viewed on the indy 100.com site and at www.boredpanda.com 
You can buy some of the original pages on the artist's website: www.jetnijkamp.nl/


 Have taken to picking up 'Bookforum', a bi-monthly broadsheet magazine published out of New York because it makes a nice complement to 'The London Review of Books' and is usually packed with a wide-ranging agenda of book reviews and features that tickle my curiosity needle. Its well-designed with interesting visuals, printed on a good but not too gloss paper. Last issue I read about the late punky cult writer Kathy Acker; this issue about Denis Johnson, the US novelist and poet - both of whom I interviewed. Tapes and transcript yet to be edited and made more widely available.

Fascinating is the review of 'Blue Dreams: The Science and the story of the drugs that changed out minds'. This includes chlorpromazine, lithium and antidepressants, as well as later trends, notably psychedelics and drugs designed to enhance or erase memories. It should not astonish you to learn that some of these medications have unintended consequences [the Greek word pharmakon means both "remedy" and "poison".

The investigation into the CIA and America's secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2000-2016) by Steve Coll is carefully dissected by reviewer Andrew Meier, a journalist with experience of Afghanistan. America set out with the extraordinarily ambitious aim of  stabilizing war-shattered Afghanistan. Coll believes that his story reveals "a humbling case study in the limits of American power". Meir writes: 'Afghanistan remains in  tumult. The US once operated 715 bases in the country. Now the number is twelve.Yet the CIA's "longest war" has done little to heal the country. The population has swelled from twenty million in 20000 to more than thirty-four million, even as the coutry remains one of the world's poorest.

A book by Patrick Sharkey entitled 'Uneasy Peace, reveals that in America, for nearly 30 years, rates of violent crime have been at record lows. This phenomena, identified and named by criminologist Franklin Zimring as the "Great American Crime Decline" is 'a dramatic and sustained decrease in murders and assaults that began in the 1990s, after three straight decades of record highs.'

Blondie and Hannah in a still from 'Unmade Beds. See
the trailer here:
On a lighter level the notebooks compiled by the artist Duncan Hannah in the 1970s, have been published under the title 'Twentieth-Century Boy' [Knopf] with some shortening and tweaking. 

Hannah at that time was, writes Howard Hampton, 'a resplendently androgynous figure on the CBGB scene, as well as a born bon vivant and a straight sex object who wouldn't give his gay patrons a tumble.' 

He was also, 'in the right light, a ringer for teen idol David Cassidy and an Under the Volcano-class alkie..' Hannah was enamoured with the band Television and the world they inhabited. Here, says HH, 'Hannah found the likes of Warhol and Bowie and Hockney to be like well-padded bumper cars to bounce off amid the mad scramble.' 

Hannah claims to have introduced Nico to Eno. He records: 'A sortie to see Roxy Music wends its way to a boho's-who party at Larry Rivers loft, and thence by limo (with Warhol, Bowie and Bryan Ferry) to a club where a "diesel-dyke" bouncer throws his shit-faced ass into the street. "The famous gutter that I've heard so much about. I made it". 

I like the fact that Hannah recalls that at CBGB one night he found clone Ramones on stage while the real band played pool at the back. He hooks up with the Ziggy Stardust adventure in London where he sees Mick Jagger dancing in the aisle at one gig. His lovelife is like the speeded up scenes in Clockwork Orange. Sounds like a must-have read, a grand companion to Richard Hell's 'I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp'.