Gary Indiana’s The Hidden Life of the Image will trace the passage of images conjured in literary description, embodied in paintings, and depicted in photography and film as they move from one medium of expression to another. Successive versions of Aldous Huxley’s historical novel, The Devils of Loudun, as film and opera, and the many literary sources of the films of Luis Buñuel (Pierre Louys, Octave Mirabeau, Pierre Robles) are two examples that Indiana’s book will consider. Of equal interest is the influence on literary works by visual art – of Gustave Moreau’s painting Salome, for example, on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name, which in turn inspired Beardsley’s illustrations; this ensemble of visual/poetic exchanges resonates further in the films of Salome by Werner Schroeter and Carmelo Bene.The Hidden Life of the Image will chart “influences” in a different sense than drawing a straight line between artist and artist or artist and writer; instead, it will show reciprocal effects of things painted or pictured on things written, and vice-versa, as well as the (apparent) concealment of originary ideas by an artwork’s self-sufficiency or autonomy.
Gary Indiana is an independent writer and critic who contributes to many publications, including New York Magazine, Bookforum, Artforum, London Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Times. He was the Staff Art Critic at the Village Voice from 1985-1988. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt (The New Press, 2005) and the novel Do Everything In The Dark (St. Martin’s Press, 2004). His book Utopia’s Debris: Selected Essays, a collection of over 75 essays on art, literature, music, architecture, and film (including “Weill, Brecht, Mahagonny” from the proposed book) will be published by Basic Books this fall. Also forthcoming is the book Last Seen Entering the Biltmore (selected writings 1976-1994), to be published by Semiotexte/MIT Press this year.