Irene Gammel

  • The Passive Vampire

    What secret was trying to pierce through this hallucinatory and hermetic language?” asks poet Ghérasim Luca in his long-lost classic The Passive Vampire. The book, first published in French in 1945 by Les Éditions de l’Oubli in Bucharest, is chimerical and delirious yet remarkably concrete in its lewdness. Blending personal confession, prose poetry, meditation, verbal games, catalogues, and hymns to desire, this hybrid book is a Surrealist carnival that taps satanic and psychic rituals. Bawdy and bizarre, it also evokes the era’s dark history, including anti-Semitic pogroms. Writing of the

  • Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall

    “When I am dead let this be said of me: ‘He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.’” By capturing the anarchist spirit in this June 1870 letter, written the year before the Paris Commune, freedomloving realist painter Gustave Courbet makes an appropriate opening subject for Allan Antliff’s exploration of the relationship between European and American art and anarchist activism. Antliff considers “anarchism as a catalyst for social liberation” and points to the artist’s provocative depictions of the French