Angus MacLise was an American artist, poet, percussionist, and composer active in New York, San Francisco, Paris, London and Kathmandu from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Best known as the original drummer of the Velvet Underground, MacLise’s lifework included music, calligraphy, performance art, poetry, drawings, plays, and limited edition artist’s books.
MacLise was a collaborative partner in the early 1960’s with art groups and individuals such as Fluxus (George Maciunas, Yoko Ono), Theatre of the Ridiculous, and Jack Smith. As a poet, MacLise began publishing in partnership with high school friend Piero Heliczer in the late 1950’s, establishing the Dead Language Press in Paris, widely acknowledged as one a most significant small artist book presses of the 20th Century. Together with his wife, artist and underground press illustrator Hetty MacLise, he edited issue No. 9 of the magazine-in-a-box, Aspen, considered a hallmark of American publishing.
While residing in Nepal, he formed the Bardo Matrix/Dreamweapon Press with Ira Cohen, issuing poetry in limited editions on handmade rice paper. The press published Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford, Gregory Corso and Diane Di Prima among others. MacLise also published his own works and edited the poetry magazine Ting Pa.
On Summer Solstice 1979, MacLise died from hypoglycemia in Kathmandu, and was cremated in the fashion of Tibetan Buddhist funerary rites.
A suitcase of Angus MacLise’s artwork, publications, and manuscript as well as more than 100 hours of recorded music was left with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela for safe-keeping thirty years ago. This extraordinary time-vault is the foundation of the exhibition DREAMWEAPON, with additional materials drawn from private previously unseen collections and archives.
The standard edition of the DREAMWEAPON exhibit catalog features texts by Lou Reed, La Monte Young, Ira Cohen, plus exhibit curators Johan Kugelberg and Will Swofford Cameron. This edition includes a laid in memorial letterpress broadside commemorating Ira Cohen, reprinting a 1976 ode to Cohen by Angus MacLise. The broadside printed by Jon Beacham/The Brother In Elysium Press.
Edition of 1000.
Boo-Hooray, New York