James Magee, Letters to Goya

James Magee and his art (in particular, The Hill) has been the subject of numerous extensive articles including Granta Arts Magazine and Wall Street Journal. Because he creates in uniquely different styles in the personae of Annabel Livermore and Horace Mayfield (two artists he refuses to acknowledge), he has created a mystique as a renegade artist. The Hill received national attention and comparison with Walter de la Maria's Lightning Field from his major retrospective at the Nashar Sculpture Center (Dallas Museum of Art) curated by critic Richard Brettel. Brettel was also the editor and curator of James Magee's The Hill (Prestel Press, 2010), a major book of photographs and texts, including a number of titles (poems). A remarkable performer, especially when collaborating with avant garde musicians (Kronos Quartet, for example), Magee hopes to travel to large city venues to perform and promote his book of poems. The website for the Cornudas Foundation in El Paso documents with text and photographs, the oeuvre of James Magee, especially The Hill. They also archives performances of poems included in Letters to Goya.

Why is Carl Jung dancing in the Streets of Death? Because one of his favorites among the living--artist James Magee, the creator of the colossal desert stonework, The Hill, and "the alleged" anima incarnate of the mysterious artist Annabel Livermore--has concocted this brew of poems and letters from the lands of Ordinary and Surreal. The poems flutter like butterflies from his imagination as he creates large steel assemblages. Weirdly, "Letters to Goya" are found pieces from 1955, from the rickety typewriter of the Duchess of Alba, who in (sur)real life is an old lady who wheel-chairs around the Waikiki Trailer Park in Sweetwater, Texas. Are the letters real? Well, yes. And no!

Tonight a cold rain falls in Tucson.
Under an overpass I see you standing stark-naked, 
headlights streaming by, 
you toweling off with a wing of a blue and yellow bird
found moments ago near a storm sewer, 
as if water were confessing of white tile, 
a room without walls, really
where earlier you had imagined yourself as a bearded ancient, 
a Mesopotamian Lord kneeling down in the wet grass near the freeway
to sing to an open field.

James Magee and his partner, actress Camilla Carr, live in El Paso, Texas, in the home of Annabel Livermore.

Kerry Doyle is the Director and Curator of the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts (University of Texas at El Paso), and a widely published scholar and respected curator of Latin-American and United States/Mexico Border arts.

Event date: 
Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 3:00pm
Event address: 
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Letters to Goya: Poems, Titles and Letters to the Dead Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941026984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - April 7th, 2019