102 pages, paperback
Copyright © 1986
Liam O'Gallagher (October 2, 1917 - December 4, 2007) was an avant-garde sound artist, painter, writer, and teacher. His influences -- and his influence on others -- spanned decades. O'Gallagher displayed a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In three years, from 1945 to 1948, he lived among other artists and writers in Monterey Peninsula, studied Abstract Expressionism with Hans Hoffman in New York, and by 1948 was back in California, where he taught art at Ojai's Happy Valley School founded by J. Krishnamurti and Aldous Huxley.
His trajectory included dance collaborations, performance pieces, and experiments in concrete poetry, and he was integral to the creation of foundations and centers for human growth, including Feathered Pipe Ranch, The Ojai Foundation, and the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts. In the 1950s his San Francisco studio became an early gathering place for Beat writers and poets. O'Gallagher was also a futurist. In his poetry and other writings, he was a champion of the "invisible worlds" that can be revealed by the mind, a believer in randomness (he was a practitioner of the cut-up technique in poetry) and that information "need not be comprehensible to be revelatory".
As described by William Gray Harris, "His concrete poetry and cut-up writings heralded a future of artificial intelligence, space migration, and expanding consciousness" (and with an ecological conscience as well; O'Gallagher's 1969 performance piece, "Return Trip," presented a voyage back to the moon to return the rocks and pick up the litter left by the NASA crew, accompanied by an electronic soundtrack). He saw technology in new ways, too: "People's Opera" was scored for telephones, transistor radios, and instrumental soloists on tambourine, oboe, flute, and French horn. His published collections include a compilation of poetry and performance scores, The Blue Planet Notebooks (1972), Planet Noise (1969), and Fool Consciousness (1986).
"Mr. O'Gallagher was associated with some of the twentieth century's most innovative artists and philosophers. In his published works, he dealt with themes related to the evolution and future of human consciousness. He painted in the Abstract Expressionist style, and at the time of his death in 2007 was working on a series of paintings that he described as expressing "the surreal aspects of space science." The critic Richard Kostelanetz called him "one of the finest visual poets in America."
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