Who's Alfred Leslie?
by ANTÓNIO CERVEIRA PINTO
Alfred Leslie (b.1929) and Robert Frank (b.1924)Pull My Daisy, 28 min., 16mm (1959)Made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Pull My Daisy is a 1959 short film, a classic look at the soul of the beat generation. It starred Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Peter Orlovsky, David Amram, Richard Bellamy, Alice Neel, Sally Gross and Pablo, Frank's then-infant son. Pull My Daisy is recognized as one of the most important works of avant-garde cinema — in Virtual Circuit.
Back in 1989 I draw and painted several red sentences on paper, that I named propositional images. One of these sentences says: The syndrome of Alfred Leslie. These propositional images are either enigmatic, nasty or funny. A few weeks ago a potential buyer of these drawing-paintings asked me what was the meaning of "the syndrome of Alfred Leslie". I was speechless because I couldn't remember any more why I did compose that sentence!
Now I remember: Alfred Leslie is a living American artist almost unknown in the art world though he has been a crucial presence in the core of such cultural moments in America as the abstract expressionism, the beat generation and even pop art. He's biography says, “born in the Bronx, New York, on October 20, 1927, multidisciplinary artist Alfred Leslie gained notice in the postwar period on the strength of his early abstract paintings, later figurative works, and independent films. An outgoing personality with close ties to Abstract Expressionist artists, Leslie turned his studio into a lively gathering place for New York’s avant-garde.”
|Alfred Leslie. Telephone Call, 1971|
|Alfred Leslie.The Accident,1969-70|
From abstraction to urban and almost photo-realism, from beat to pop. Alfred Leslie longevity has not been enough to give him the front pages in art exhibitions and magazines as he surely deserves from at least an historical point of vue. What is missing? Some name this accident as being just behind the curve. I call it Alfred Leslie syndrome.
|Alfred Leslie. Casey Key, 1976|
|Alfred Leslie. Brenna Gordon, 1976|
|Alfred Leslie. Laura Apastalou, 1976|
Alfred Leslie website