The Jack Smith revival marches on with the Boo-Hooray gallery’s typically dense and wonderfully archival show, up through March 10.
Despite a quartet of stunning color photographs from the late ‘50s, the emphasis is not on Smith’s art but Smith as an artist—which is to say a force of nature. Its heart in the underground, the gallery is a treasure trove of of evocative ephemera including the hilarious annotated “Beautiful Book” that Smith gave to his prime model Marian Zazeela, the impeccable frame enlargements he made from “Flaming Creatures”, impossibly rare multi-colored napkin drawings, exotic doodles, announcements for Smith’s movies, plays and slide-shows, and a few collages to rival Kurt Schwitters, including a reworked page from the Village Voice.
To steal the title of an early Smith movie, it’s all pretty “overstimulating” and also very (very) funny. Plenty to read–letters, scripts, manifestos disguised as press releases–as well as look at and listen to. Alternating with excerpts from scratchy vinyl exotica in his collection, you can hear Smith’s unmistakable plaintive voice riffing with Mario Montez (and others) on a Tony Conrad tape from the mid ‘60s or, on the phone, suffering from a cold and pondering the questions posed in November 1978 by an earnest young interviewer—namely moi.
Photograph: Ira Cohen, courtesy Boo-Hooray