Reclining Baba, c. 1970's
cibachrome matte print , 16 x 20"
Licking the Skull
A Retrospectacle of Photographic Works
Cynthia Broan Gallery is pleased to announce "Licking the Skull: A Retrospectacle of Photographic Works by Ira Cohen". Noted also as Poet, Filmmaker and Keeper of the Akashic Record, Cohen has spent over thirty years capturing images of shamanic splendor, archetypal images of the unconscious. The exhibition includes portraits of leading figures of the counterculture, shots from his years in India and Nepal, and his mylar images of the world behind the mirror. Cohen's work is seminally linked to the mind-expansion of the '60s and '70s but, more importantly, must now be recognized as ravishing, visionary Postmodern Maximalism.
Masks, skulls and mirrors recur throughout Cohen's images, reminding us of the power and possibility of transformation and revelation. His subjects are Initiates, a tribe of yogis, literati, divas and tricksters, including legends such as Jack Smith, Jimi Hendrix, William Burroughs and Eugene Ionesco. Cohen's camera documents the timeless netherworld of dreams, dope and the divine, the world of esoteric ritual and disguise, and the magical theatre of street life and self-awareness. Here we find the poetry of life - sublime, humorous and deadly.
Ira Cohen calls himself an Electronic Multimedia Shaman. A native New Yorker, he has also lived in Tangier, Amsterdam and Katmandu. He is considered the Father of Mylar Photography, developing a unique style with the use of bendable mirrors. He has travelled worldwide as a poet, has been translated into several languages and has worked extensively as a publisher and editor. He has collaborated with Brion Gysin, Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford, Gregory Corso, Angus MacLise and Ornette Coleman, among others. His film "The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda" has won critical acclaim and "Kings with Straw Mats", his video about India's ancient Kumbh Mela festival, has quickly become a cult classic. Major exhibitions of his photographic work have been held in London, Tokyo, Dublin, and at The Caravan of Dreams in Ft. Worth, Texas. This is his first New York retrospective.
"These images are like jewels and should be displayed at Tiffany's" - Timothy Baum
"Best Surrealist photographs I've ever seen, bar none" - Jacques Stern
"Poisonous beauty" - Avant Garde Magazine (Ralph Ginzburg)
"Looking at your pictures is like looking through butterfly wings" - Jimi Hendrix
"Ira Cohen's photographs always leave me hungry for more" - Gerard Malanga
"From Beatles music to Masters' theses' few came as close to explaining the euphoric distortions of the hallucinogenics as did the photographs of Ira Cohen" - LIFE magazine
Ira Cohen will have a live poetry reading with musicians.
A catalog for the exhibition, as well as CDs and videos, are available at the gallery.
Exhibition: April 6 - May 13, 2006
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 10 am - 6 pm
Cynthia Broan Gallery
546 W. 29th St.
USA-New York, NY 10001
Telephone +1 212 760 0809
Fax +1 212 760 0810