music the ancient past visual

Glorious, degenerate exile

In yet anoth­er shal­low record-indus­try ploy to sell the same album twice, the Rolling Stones recent­ly asked pro­duc­er Don Was to dig through their Exile On Main Street archives and pro­duce a remas­tered ver­sion with a few addi­tion­al tracks. Think­ing about Exile reminds me, of course, of Robert Frank's doc­u­men­tary with an unprint­able name, a chron­i­cle the Stones' dai­ly lives around the time of Exile. This film pre­sent­ed in very raw form (in the words of one review­er) "mas­sive, almost unthink­able amounts of ego-grat­i­fi­ca­tion, and rou­tine, tor­pid, every­day bore­dom," and it was essen­tial­ly unre­leasable, shown only in art hous­es and pirat­ed VHS. It's safe to say that no mas­sive­ly suc­cess­ful band has ever, or will ever, give the kind of access that the Stones gave to Frank. (The sex and the drugs, they are every­where amidst the rock 'n roll). The above video is some of the clean­er stuff culled from Frank's footage. Need­less to say, the whole thing is worth see­ing, even if you have to cov­er your eyes every once in a while. Addi­tion­al read­ing: A nice lit­tle NPR inter­view with Mick and Keef.

inside art photo visual

Dream team

Saul Steinberg - Robert Frank - The Americans - Les Americains - first edition

Saul Stein­berg's cov­er for the first edi­tion The Amer­i­cans by Robert Frank. Pub­lish­er Robert Delpire: "The only point of dis­agree­ment was the cov­er. I insist­ed right away on using a draw­ing by Saul Stein­berg, whom I had met and whose work I liked. Frank said, 'It's a book of pho­tos, we could use a pho­to.' I told him, 'You can use a pho­to for the Amer­i­can edi­tion, but let me use a Stein­berg draw­ing.' But when I reprint­ed the book in 1986, I used a pho­to­graph because I had dis­cov­ered, basi­cal­ly, that he was right."


Walker Evans discusses Robert Frank

"If that were a ham­mer in his hand he would dri­ve the nail in one or two hard fast per­fect strokes, but not usu­al­ly care­ful. There wd be a ham­mer mark in the wood and the boards wd be joined for­ev­er." — Walk­er Evans, about Robert Frank