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Posted on January 28, 2013 by Isabella Cecconi

“Without even intending it, there is that little shiver of a moment in time preserved in the crystal cabinet of the mind. A little shiver of eternal space. That’s what I was looking for.” – Allen Ginsberg

The beat movement, the cultural and literary movement that woke up a nation’s consciousness. Never too big but gigantic in influence and cultural status. The years after the Second World War, the loss of conventional structures of society, the post war economic boom, the rampant materialism. The Beat Generation was the result of questioning on capitalism on dissatisfaction with the consumer culture, the taboos against sexuality. The Beats stood in opposition to the clean formalism of the early twentieth century modernists. Their literature was bold, straightforward, provocative. The “founders” of the Beat Generation were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, but also  Lucien Carr, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Neal Cassidy. Gregory Corso and  great William S. Burroughs. In 1956, the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl was a turning point in the history of Beat literature, not to mention American literature in general. The long-form poem to be read aloud, almost chanted, a sort of return to an oral tradition neglected in literature for a long time. In the beat movement there were drug-addicts, drifters, prostitutes, and swindlers. There was a visceral rage against the conformity of the system. No Beat Generation novelist had more attention and adulation than Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Beat Memories is an in-depth look at the Beat Generation  as seen through the lens of Allen Ginsberg who died in 1997. Known for his poetry, Ginsberg was also an avid photographer, capturing the people and places around him in spontaneous, often intimate snapshots. His black-and-white photographs include portraits of his fellow beatniks: William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac. The Beat Memories exhibition will be a good chance to see live these snaps and eat some real food for thought.

BEAT MEMORIES jan 15-april 6 2013