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  • DISCOVERING THE MT OF ROBERT JAMES CAMPBEU

    JESSICA FERBER I FOREWORD BY MARC MYERS po

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  • Rebirth of the Cool: Discovering the Art of Robert James Campbell

    By Jessica Ferber

    Published by

    To be released: December 2015

    This PDF of Rebirth of the Cool is only a partial preview of the book.

    Lifting images from mechanical files is strictly prohibited.

    To see the complete version, please contact Miranda Wonder, Publicist: miranda@powerHouseBooks.com

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  • REBIRTH OF THE COOL power

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  • BY JESSICA FERBER / FOREWORD BY MARC MYERS / DISCOVERING THE ART OF REBIRTH OF THE COOLROBERT JAMES CAMPBELL

    powerHouse booksbrooklyn, nypo

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  • TABLE OF CONTENTS foreword by marc myers 7

    introduction 11the beginning 15biography 33authors note 48

    the work 49Rebirth of the Cool: Discovering the Art of Robert James Campbell. Photographs 2015 The City of Burlington, Vermont. Text, compilation, and editing 2015 Jessica Ferber. Foreword 2015 Marc Myers. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic or mechanical (including photocopy, film or video recording, Internet posting, or any other information storage and retrieval system), without the prior written permission of the publisher.

    Published in the United States by powerHouse Books, a division of powerHouse Cultural Entertainment, Inc. 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-1021 telephone 212.604.9074, fax 212.366.5247 e-mail: info@powerHouseBooks.com website: www.powerHouseBooks.com

    First edition, 2015 Library of Congress Control Number: 2015948422 Hardcover ISBN 9781576877623 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Printing and binding by Pimlico Book International Printed and bound in China

    Additional editing by Amelie Trufant Dawson

    Design by Eric Skillman

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  • 6 rebirth of the cool the beginning 7

    musicians began to shift away from irony, melancholy, and detachment to spiritualism and social commentary. Many young artists like Campbell were enthralled by the new youth culture emerging.

    The 1960 shift was part of a more extended period of flux that began in New York at the end of World War II. With Europe in shambles and economic ruin, New York City emerged as the center of a new avant-garde that advocated individualism and abstrac-tion. Corporations built geometric glass skyscrapers, national radio and television networks expanded operations, and New York became home to leading art galleries, museums, recording studios, concert stages, jazz clubs, and theaters. As the countrys most sophisticated business and cultural

    by marc myers

    foreword

    THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO NEVER WASBUT NOW IS

    NEW YORK IN 1960 was a nerve-wracking place for any artist. The problem was an over-supply of genius, which produced enormous anxiety and self-doubt among those striving to make a mark. The competition was stiff and relentless, and opportunities in the arts were tough to come by and often fleeting. This was the New York that freelance photographer Robert Campbell found when he arrived from New England that year.

    Unlike today, when showboating and scandal govern relevance, brilliance in New York in the late 1950s was dry and decidedly noncha-lant. If you were exceptional, you didnt say so because you didnt have to. Greatness was self-evident and measured by peers, not the media or hype. But by 1960, New York cool had run its course. Artists, writers, and

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  • 20 rebirth of the cool the beginning 21

    PHOTO RESEARCH

    The dismantling of Bobs photo archive was a delicate matter. As a photographer myself I figured that he might have implemented some kind of naming conventionnumbers, letters, dates, subjectsbut he didnt. Just a bunch of blank sleeves with funny little notes like afternoon of an elf or xvill sports. I created my own naming convention based on Bobs original yet spotty numerical structure: A-1-300, B-1-200. Bobs notes were retained on the top margin of the new sleeves and

    contact prints in case they might make sense one day. A total renovation was the only way to preserve the photos and eventually deter-mine what the subject matter was.

    Who and what was in the photos? The majority of the commercial images were focused on jazz, folk, and blues, and the streets of New Yorks West Village. Bob and I had a 40-year age gap and that chasm made the matter of assigning names to his photos challenging. It was the early 2000s, Bob did not exist on the internet, nor did many of his subjects.

    Portrait of Campbell, about age 28

    Campbells original Sekonic light meter and case

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  • 36 rebirth of the cool biography 37

    Nash family album. Captions from the backs of these family photos are presented here.

    1 Elizabeth and Florence on the rocks in Portsmouth

    2 Robert [top left] on the family farm

    3 Robert in front of Fathers [grandfather, John Jay Nash] building, New York NY, June 1942

    4 Joseph in uniform

    5 Robert and Florence, Portsmouth, NH

    6 Elizabeth and Daniel Borzone [Campbells godparents and parental figures]

    7 Robert and Father in Bristol

    8 Florence, Robert, and Martin, Bristol, August 1944

    9 Daniel Borzone at the waters edge

    10 Father and baby Robert

    11 Robert and Florence in the sun

    12 Reverend WIlliam Nash, Louise Nash, Elizabeth and Daniel Borzone, and Robert in front of St. Francis Xavier Church, New York NY

    13 Robert on the North St. Porch

    14 Robert and Elizabeth

    15 Robert at home on the bass fiddle

    16 Robert painting green wings on his windmill, June 1942

    17 Robert school photo

    18 Robert in the snow, Bristol

    19 Robert at the dance

    20 Robert 1941

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  • 32 rebirth of the cool biography 33

    ROBERT JAMES CAMPBELLS PASTis as enigmatic as the photos found in his collection. He was born on April 2, 1936 in Manhattan, New York, into an affluent family. His maternal grandfather, John Jay Nash, was a real estate tycoon who invented and patented a bullet-casing machine, affording the family boats, cars, and homes and property in Europe and New York City. Nash built the family home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the early 1900s, as well as a massive working farm in Bristol, Vermont.

    Bob, an only child, would spend much of his childhood between these two homes. His father, Martin Campbell, either died in the war or abandoned the family sometime before Bobs tenth birthday leaving Bobs mother, Florence Nash, to raise him alone. The relationship between Campbell and his mother poses a variety of questions and invites interpretation, but it appears that she was unable or unfit to care for him as a result of severe depression.

    OPPOSITE:

    Campbell in his West Village photography studio; New York City, 1962

    LEFT:

    Campbell as an infant; Bristol, Vermont, age 1

    BIOGRAPHY

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  • 51

    Philly Joe Jones, Birdland; New York City, early 1960

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  • 52 53

    Lee Morgan, Birdland; New York City, early 1960 Tommy Turrentine, Birdland; New York City, early 1960

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  • 54 55

    Mississippi John Hurt, performing at The Gaslight Cafe; New York City, 1963 Mississippi John Hurt, outside The Gaslight Cafe; New York City, 1963

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  • 56 57

    A street game in Cooper Square; New York City, early 1960

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  • 58 59

    Myrlie Evers after the assassination of her husband, Medgar Evers, 1963 Myrlie Evers after the assassination of her husband, Medgar Evers, 1963

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  • 60 61

    Percy Heath of The Modern Jazz Quartet; Germany, 1958 Gerry Mulligan and His Quartet: Bob Brookmeyer, Dave Bailey, Joe Benjamin, 1962

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  • 62 63

    Milt Jackson of The Modern Jazz Quartet; Germany, 1958 Connie Kay of The Modern Jazz Quartet; Germany, 1958

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  • 64 65

    Dick Gregory, The Village Gate; New York City, 1965 John Lewis of The Mod