Monday, 23 May 2011

Ida Kar exhibition

"Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer, 1908-1974", an exhibition showing at the National Portrait Gallery until 19 June, is well worth visiting ( Kar's portraits are primarily of painters (including, for example, Man Ray) and writers (the young Iris Murdoch, for example) but some of her pictures from Armenia - where she was born - Cuba and elsewhere are included, together with some memorabilia. Five Leaves' interest is in her photographs of Bernard Kops, Terry Taylor and Laura Del-Rivo, pictured here, as well as others in their circle including Colin MacInnes. Kops has long been a Five Leaves' writer (and is the model for Mannie Katz in MacInnes' Absolute Beginners) while Terry Taylor's only book, Baron's Court, All Change, resurfaces on our New London Editions list later this year. Taylor, whose life MacInnes drew on in his fiction, appears twice in Kar's exhibition. In one he is shown as her assistant, in the background, in another solo portrait he appears listening to jazz records on what looks like a Dansette. The NPG holds many other portraits of Taylor, many showing him getting happily wrecked on what was in that era called "charge". Laura Del-Rivo's first novel, The Furnished Room, comes out later this year as well, also in New London Editions. It would have been nice to have had them around during Kar's exhibition. Both Taylor's and Del-Rivo's books included Kar's portraits on first publication, as they will in ours in November.

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