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Ostensibly, they were deeply in love. Objectively, they were talented artists.Very talented.  The suicides, one week apart of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake are now branded as the “Golden Suicides”, coming to a theater near you, hang your hat on a hook of many tropes. Still, there has always been some nagging noises, the sound of a faint heartbeat   lurking in the shadows: why people living such vibrant lives would choose to end them. Blake, to give him credit, redefined visual art for a digital age. Though still abstract, his films were becoming more openly story-driven,narrative centered; though claimed to be infused with themes of paranoia and secrecy. However, reading interviews with Blake, he appeared highly coherent and articulate about his art; nothing slapdash; there is deep comprehension of what he aiming for.

Blake,had become  an authentic  art-world star acclaimed for his lush and moody “moving paintings,” shape-morphing innovations mixing abstract painting and digital film, along with other pop imagery that blended, merged, bled, and dripped into one another,as if by osmosis; and all bundled together by a psychedelic mix of high key colors. He also managed  to locate a deep psychological, sometimes romantic and playful pulse in his work even while negotiating the rigorous terms of Conceptualism; a unified theory of all the major visual art arcanes since Picasso. The aesthetic and critical terms surrounding, and prompting his artistic decisions are not so clearly drawn and remain a mystery. Certainly, in work and in person, Blake and Duncan  shared a kind of low-key irreverence when it comes to artistic postulates and predicates, an elementary willingness to move around and outside the accepted terms of art and of operating in the art world.

They avoided the temptation of transforming their particular visions of genius into some kind of packaged goods of art; fetish objects and cheap mental stimulants of hipster chic. The strength of their work was based on the humility of the emotion it held; perhaps from a caring and believing that only love alone matters. As their story is written, it is alleged that their celebrity implied its own destruction. The bigger the celebrity, and the ambitions, the more glamorous the destruction. It is plausible, but then.  The mourners who laid flowers metaphorically by writing about them, and shaping the narrative also seem in some cases those who keep this business of celebrity, the industry; the same ones who stick needles in skin, performing voodoo on a roast beef while making sure its cooked for consumption. her to her death. Did they really know or care about these people; gifted beyond measure. The Duncan and Blake  deaths hark back to the era of the Romantic poets…

"The dreamlike, psychological investigation that is characteristic of artist Jeremy Blake’s work has developed since his short film “Reading Ossie Clark” in 2003. Blake is well known for his DVDs, C-prints, paintings and drawings, all of which present visual narratives that are broken by psychedelic and hallucinogenic imagery. In 2002, the artist was invited by director Paul Thomas Anderson to create a digital series of abstracted sequences for the film Punch-Drunk Love, featuring Adam Sandler."... read more:

The body of the novelist Laurence Sterne was dug up shortly after his death by resurrectionists at the behest of surgeons who prized the opportunity to examine the great wit’s organs. The body was recognized on the slab by horrified students also acquainted with literature. When the body of John Milton was exhumed in 1790 in order to locate the exact site of his grave, it was immediately ransacked for hair, teeth, and ribs and put on display for anyone willing to pay sixpence. The dismantled Milton was eventually put back together, but only after a scandalized antiquarian bought back the remains at an inflated price. The heart of Percy Bysshe Shelley was famously plucked from the flames of his funeral pyre on a beach near Viareggio and squabbled over by Leigh Hunt and Edward Trelawny, the former wishing to preserve it in a jar of wine, and the latter wanting to present it to Shelley’s widow, Mary, who eventually kept it in a drawer of her writing table. Lord Byron had wanted to keep Shelley’s skull, but Trelawny, “remembering he had previously used one as a drinking cup,” only preserved a fragment of it,… (Stott) read more: a

Amsden:Within a few weeks it seemed to friends that Duncan and Blake had been together for years—two people connected by an almost compulsive fascination with the idea of the artist: the fantasies, the mythologies, the clichés. Duncan, a careful crafter of her own history, enjoyed telling friends and strangers about an early night they spent together at the Chelsea Hotel, where plaques list the famous names of those who lived and worked there: Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas. In her words, from a 2005 interview: “I remember before we went to bed we were making out in the window, looking out at the street filling up with snow, it was almost completely quiet and we were overlooking the electric Chelsea Hotel sign ... I remember later the wild noises that the hotel made late that night, like some madman in the basement playing a church organ made with the hotel’s old radiator pipes.”--- read more: photo:

“They’re upstairs?”

“They won’t come down?”

“Is everything okay?”

Duncan and Blake had been found in the rectory, seated by the window, looking down at the party—their party—below. Without apology they explained that they could not come down, no, they were experiencing a “collective vision” that the grill was going to explode, somehow harming Duncan. It would have been a more troubling exchange were it not, by this point, almost expected. During their moments of clarity there were few people as thrilling to be around as these two—the banter was invigorating, the exchange of ideas fervent—but an incident like this was a reminder that moments of clarity were increasingly rare. For many friends this image of the couple—abrasive, frightened, isolated from what they loved and fostered—would prove to be their final memory. Seven days later, on the evening of July 10, Duncan swallowed a number of Tylenol PM tablets with bourbon. It was Blake who first discovered her body on the floor of their bedroom, and it was Blake who, a week later, ended his own life by taking the A train to Rockaway Beach and walking into the Atlantic Ocean. ( David Amsden ) read more: a

Blake: Yeah, there was an idea floating around for a while that I somehow had something to do with the "technologization" of art or that I thought of it as a technical progression. That was really off, because I think about technology kind of the way a musician thinks about an instrument. Given all of the cool things happening in music and film, most people's thinking in the art world about the aesthetic potential of technology is still surprisingly passive. Even now, I think some critics have problems with the work because it's like the "paintings" are talking back. read more:

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As more details emerged—about their troubles in Hollywood, their claims of harassment by Scientologists, and how many people they had thoroughly alienated in recent years—the narrative grew harsher. Now their deaths became a story of wrathful envy, of toxic ambition, of fame obsession, of a woman spurned by success, of a terrible conspiracy, of madness. People so quickly grew fixated on trying to define what Duncan and Blake represented in death that it became increasingly difficult to understand and remember who they had been when they were alive. ( Amsden ) read more:

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Deven Golden:Film is linear, a structural characteristic it shares with music, literature, dance, theatre, and poetry. That is, they all have this in common: a beginning, middle, and an end. Because “Reading Ossie Clark” is a video, there is a logical tendency to think of it as film, with all of the critical and historical criteria that would naturally accompany that assessment. But there are key elements that belie that analysis and suggest that the more proper criteria for comparison may be painting.

Blake: ( On Winchester) :I'm taking a space that, in theory, is haunted, and using time-based abstraction to demonstrate that haunting. The dissolves relate to the return of the repressed, which undermines everything that seems solid. And these abstract passages allow you to process the violence done by the gun, the fear that made the gun seem necessary in the first place--the violent act of going West--and trying to present those things as if they're fresh. I mean, this mythology isn't dead. Every time we go to war we lean back on this wobbly logic of cowboys and Indians. read more:;col1 image:

Painting offers a system where the content is circular, not linear, a structural characteristic it shares with sculpture, photography and drawing. You can enter a painting anywhere and exit wherever you wish. Paintings can be viewed for minutes, hours, days, or merely out of the corner of your eye as you move through a room. In short, it affords a non-judgmental compression or expansion of the participant’s interaction time. Blake and a handful of other video artists would adopt painting’s circular content over film’s linear one. Read More:

Blake:But on a more subjective level, if my work has anything to do with a fantasy about technology, it’s a slightly nostalgic one. In Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451, you see Julie Christie in her apartment at the mercy of a, well, basically a flat screen, with kaleidoscopic, hypnotic projections being piped in from an all-powerful regime that has burned books and provided instead a kind of insidious abstract entertainment. When I was a student I saw that and thought, What a great comment on abstraction. What a weird, uncanny, dystopic potential for abstraction. I wanted to make paintings like that. But I couldn’t make paintings like that, because paintings only move so much.

"A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo sapiens--second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day's events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths." --Reynolds Price Tuesday, July 10, 2007 read more:

JOHN BALDESSARI: There is a kind of seamlessness to your work. I guess you do a dissolve, while I do a jump cut.

JEREMY BLAKE: I hope it is seamless. For me, the dissolve is a device that formally supports time-based abstract imagery. The philosophical discussion around painted abstraction has, I think, deteriorated lately, leaving abstraction as a kind of style. I want abstraction to be more than a style, or a backdrop, so I try to build a context for it in my work–often I make a kind of fantasy architecture to house the more:;col1

JEREMY BLAKE: Sometimes the past is the best door into the present. The mixture should make your head swim. I guess I also tried that in Reading Ossie Clark [2003], which grew out of an interest in forcing together narrative and delirium. Clark was a gifted fashion designer in Swinging London, one of these jet-set people who were just flinging open doors, and it didn’t really seem to matter so much to him what was behind those doors, until he was ruined. At the top of his game he was the subject of a terrific painting by David Hockney, and I thought it would be kind of interesting to move into the psychology of a Warhol or Hockney subject, which previously always felt off-limits. read more:;col1

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Blake’s work does recall the Surrealists and the brash experimentalism of a Captain Beefheart:

“Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca was affiliated with the Surrealists in the late twenties (although he found that some of their techniques based on subconscious processes lacked the clarity he sought). In Lorca’s view, the juxtapositions that ‘unlock the potential of meaning’ need not necessarily be purely imagination-based or ‘Surrealist.’ In his terms of reference, if poetry was born just from the ‘imagination’, then it would be largely bound by existing human knowledge and logic. His own processes of juxtaposition were more deliberate and produced poetry born of ‘inspiration’, which incorporated the idea of the hecho poético, or poetic fact (Robert Graves labelled these two types of poetry ‘muse’ and ‘Apollonian’ respectively).

In García Lorca: Poeta en Nueva York, Derek Harris explains the hecho poético as ‘an image which seems as inexplicable as a miracle, for it is devoid of any analogical meaning. Based on the hecho poético and bound together by la lógica poética, the poem becomes a self-sufficient entity without reference to any reality outside itself.’

Like Van Vliet, the Andalucian Lorca dealt with deeply rooted native folk archetypes and wrenched them out into a new, often shocking context. The apogee of this approach is in the collection The Poet in New York. The striking illogicality and haunting, self-contained images within these lines from “Well” can be seen …. read more:

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