Arnold also played an instrumental role in giving The Cockettes, the famed psychedelic San Francisco drag troupe, their first chance to perform on stage in exchange for free tickets to his "Nocturnal Dream Show" - which was among the first-ever Midnight Movie showcases. This launched The Cockettes into underground fame. Early in his career, Arnold also nurtured a prolific creative relationship with the pioneer of the wearable art movement Kaisik Wong which lasted until Kaisik's death in 1989. Their work together included the production and design of a play titled Dragonfly, and several tableaux vivant photography collaborations.
Throughout his life, Arnold's eccentric modes of expression led him to the upper-crust of both American coasts, including encounters, in some cases lifelong friendships, with the likes of Vogue's Diana Vreeland, actress Ellen Burstyn, psychedelic explorer Timothy Leary, Jay Leno, The Cars, George Harrison, Blondie's Debbie Harry, John Waters' star Divine and the Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn.
Among Arnold's most notable early works is a rarely seen film gem titled Luminous Procuress, starring Pandora and featuring The Cockettes, which was lauded by Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol, among others. In fact, Dalí was so impressed with the film, that he invited Arnold, Pandora (Arnold's muse, and the film's star), Kaisik Wong, and their entourage to help him open his Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, Spain. Luminous Procuress was edited and scored by the electronic music forefather Warner Jepson. The film continues to be screened worldwide, including showings at the Tate Modern in London and CPH:DOX in Denmark. Arnold's 1969 short-film "Messages, Message", which was invited to Director's Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival, was recently shown at the Tate Modern and the List Visual Art Center Film Night at MIT.
Kaisik Wong, Merle Bulatao and Steven Arnold
Steven Arnold played an instrumental role in giving The Cockettes, the famed psychedelic San Francisco drag troupe, their first chance to perform on stage in exchange for free tickets to his "Nocturnal Dream Show" - which was among the first-ever Midnight Movie showcases. This launched The Cockettes into underground fame. Early in his career, Arnold also nurtured a prolific creative relationship with the pioneer of the wearable art movement Kaisik Wong which lasted until Kaisik's death in 1989.
Although his early film work garnered him much attention, Arnold was best known for his exquisite, surreal, black & white tableau vivant photography produced from the old pretzel factory he called Zanzibar Studios in Los Angeles. His photography has been exhibited at the Tate Modern, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles among others. Arnold's works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA), the Oakland Museum of California and the Cincinnati Art Museum. His works are in the private collections of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ellen Burstyn, Cher, Salvador Dalí, Goldie Hawn, Yves St. Laurent, Diana Vreeland and many others. Arnold published three books of photography during his lifetime: Reliquaries, with a foreword by Ellen Burstyn, Epiphanies, with an afterword by James Leo Herlihy and Angels of Night. Details of some of Arnold's early film work is to be included in the book Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945–2000 to be released in fall 2010. Tokion and Lurve magazines have also recently printed articles featuring Arnold's photography and sections of the upcoming retrospective biographical/autobiographical fine art book and documentary film, Steven Arnold's Heavenly Bodies, by Stephanie Farago and Steven Arnold.
Steven Arnold with Salvator Dalì
Reliquaries by Steven Arnold
Publisher: Twelvetrees Press; 1st edition (1983)
Strange and unique photographs. Introduction by Ellen Burstyn.
Steven Arnold: "Exotic Tableaux" by Peter Weiermair
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Edition Stemmle; 1ST edition (March 1996)
Amazon: Steven Arnold: "Exotic Tableaux"
Steven Arnold (died 1994) was a master of drama. He used his camera to concoct bizarre fantasies rich in imagination and overflowing with props. He had no fear as far as subject matter and he painted is often nude models, draped, positioned and manipulated them, and the results are like Rorschach tests - often bipartite views that serve to make the eye investigate while it is titilating. Other phototographers have used the staged studio setup (Joel Peter Witkin is the most familiar of these), but few have pulled off the theatical, operatic, erotic images like Steven Arnold. This is a priceless book that can be enjoyed on many levels. A definite collectors item! (Grady Harp)
More Photographers at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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