Beautiful and damned
The rich and famous of 1920s era Hollywood appeared to have it all - but artist Pam Glew's new exhibition examines the curse of the seemingly blessed
Monday 23 May 2011
Artist Pam Glew's third London solo exhibition examines what F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the 'beautiful and damned' stars of silent movies in the roaring Twenties.
It features portraits of Charlie Chaplin, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich and other iconic faces from the era with notorious addictions, troubled pasts and relationships or roguish tendencies.
Her work examines the notion of beauty as a curse. Several high profile names from Twenties Hollywood committed suicide or died in dubious circumstances: Lupe Velez is thought to have died with her head in the toilet after taking an overdose, Olive Thomas, ‘the original flapper’, died accidentally after ingesting mercury, and Peg Entwistle dramatically jumped to her death from atop the Hollywood sign.
"The tragedy amongst the beauty is what has inspired this show," Glew said. "It is the sharp contrast between a blessed life and one that ends in scandal, hedonism or destitution.”
Glew used her trademark medium of bleach to distress vintage fabrics until a likeness appeared from amid the pattern. She has used valuable antique botanical ‘crewel work’ fabrics from 1930s and American quilts from 1920s are all used in a similar way to the ‘flag series’. Rather than add pigment, Glew takes away the pigments in layers, creating ghostly figures, which appear almost woven into the cloth.
These imperfect and ethereal renditions of faces normally so glossy and flawlessly smiling onscreen are a contrast to the seemingly carefree culture of the post-Great War era and are a succinct comment about the mixed blessing beauty can bestow.
Beautiful and Damned is at Mauger Modern Art in London 25 May to 29 May, www.maugermodern.com
arts + entsThere were towering ideas, some scintillating performances and revelatory grooves... our writers pick out their personal highlights
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >