Instagram Takeover: Jack Smith
For our final day exploring Jack Smith’s ‘Sinbad in the Rented World,’ we’re looking at the artist’s desired afterlife for the project.
In an act of institutional subversion, Smith hoped that his “Bagdadian” set for the film - which he constructed in his apartment on 1st Avenue - would remain intact in perpetuity after his own passing.
In Smith’s own words: “I have turned an apartment in an old building, built by Italian workmen, into ‘Basra’ the Arabian Nights apartment. Here, art has been put back into architecture, where it belongs, as in ancient times. When this film is long since over, the apartment will be lived in and used, with its kitchen in the style of a ruined sambucca, beached in a papyrus swamp, and perhaps someone will be gazing at the Bagdadian sink instead of at a television.” #JackSmith #Sinbad #16mm #RentedWorld
The ongoing saga of Jack Smith’s ‘Sinbad in the Rented World’ continues today with the artist’s script notes and ephemera surrounding the project.
Slide 1. Collage on paper with the words: “Sinbad Glick / Why must this American artist cover his mouth for / Search for the worlds most exotic,” along with images of Smith, Yolanda the penguin, Maria Montez and a pool scene.
Slide 2. Rolodex card with the words: “Sinbad - chase roaches out of prunes”
Slide 3. First page of stage directions for "Sinbad in the Rented World” written in black felt marker.
Slide 4. Black pen drawing of "Sinbad the Panther” on the back of a flyer for "Penguin Rustling Out by the Old Archives"
Slide 5. Handwritten note with the question: "I tried & tried to find a way to do Sinbad prog as a slide show. Why?”
Our look behind the curtain of Jack Smith’s unfinished ‘Sinbad in the Rented World’ continues today, with production shots taken by Takahiko Iimora during filming.
As the exhibition program from Artists Space 2018 retrospective of Smith details, the plot of ‘Sinbad’ consists of the protagonist attempting to sail to “glamorous Roach Crust Island” to participate in a high-profile radio show called “Your Big Moment.”
His ship is thrown by “a storm of commercials,” after which he is menaced out of a pearl jewel by Uncle Pawnshop, and later attempts to see a Maria Montez film by taking a dollar from the Crab Ogress, who swats Sinbad away in a “climactic roach stampede.”
Unfinished upon his death in 1989, Jack Smith’s ‘Sinbad in the Rented World’ was a master film epic that the artist worked on for well over a decade during the 1970s and 80s.
For the next few days, our feed will explore Smith’s writings, notes, and ephemera surrounding the incomplete feature film, starting first with his costume collages.
Envisioned as an anti-capitalist critique of, in Smith’s words, “the scrounging effect of landlordism,” ‘Sinbad in the Rented World’ was a B-movie fantasy, taking cues as much from the collected stories of ‘Arabian Nights’ as from Alfred Green’s Technicolor romp ‘A Thousand and One Nights’.
The costumes here attest to this Arabian allusion grab bag, wherein stereotypically Moorish silhouettes meet with Smith’s pattern mixing and flare.