<strong>Ira Cohen</strong>, <em>Alien Intelligence</em> (detail), 1967. Photographic print, 50 x 33 cm.<strong>Ira Cohen</strong>, 
<em>Opium Queen</em> (detail). 
Photographic print, 49.5 x 32.5 cm.<strong>Ira Cohen</strong>, <em>Jimi Hendrix</em> (detail), 1968. Pigment print, 69 x 106 cm.

IRA COHEN

Ira Cohen as Moses at October Gallery.
Photo: © Ishmael Annobil, 2003.
Ira Cohen, William Burroughs and his Gilded Cobra, 1966. Pigment print, 106 x 70 cm.
Photo: © Ira Cohen Archive, LLC.


Ira Cohen’s most iconic works are his Mylar images which he created in the late '60s in his loft on the Lower East Side, New York City. Among the artists reflected in his Mylar mirrors were John McLaughlin, William S. Burroughs, Jimi Hendrix and Angus Maclise.

“Looking at your pictures is like looking through butterfly wings”
                                                            -Jimi Hendrix

“Poetic extravagance and poisonous beauty”
                                                            -AVANT GARDE

Ira Cohen, poet, photographer and filmmaker, was born to deaf parents and instead of just developing speech, began developing his vision early, learning to spell with his fingers. In 1961 he took a Yugoslavian freighter to Tangiers where he lived for four years and published Gnaoua, a magazine devoted to exorcism, introducing the work of Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs and other members of the Interzone mob. In 1970 he went to the Himalayas where he started the Starstream poetry series under the Bardo matrix imprint in Kathmandu, publishing the work of Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford, Gregory Corso and Angus MacLise and developing his art of bookmaking, working with local craftsmen. In 1972 he spent a year in San Francisco reading and performing and then returned to New York mounting photographic shows.

Cohen showed at October Gallery from 1982. In 2006 Cohen’s Mylar photographs were included in the exhibition Summer of Love, organised by Tate Liverpool, touring throughout Europe and to the Whitney Museum in New York. In 2017, his photographs were included in the major exhibition As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics, at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland.


 

SELECTED WORKS





 

IRA COHEN

Born 1935, New York, USA. Died 2011, New York, USA.
Selected solo exhibitions
2007   Ira Cohen: From the Mylar Chamber, October Gallery, London, UK
Ira Cohen; Photoworks, CEREALART Project Room, Philadelphia, USA
Hautnah – Up Close & Personal, WIDMER+THEODORIDIS, Eschlikon, Switzerland 
2006   Ira Cohen; Licking the Skull: A Retrospectacle, Cynthia Broan Gallery, New York, USA
Selected group exhibitions
2019   Dream No Small Dream: Celebrating 40 Years of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2017   As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics,  Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland
2016   Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA
2014   35 Years of the Transvangarde: Contemporary Art from Around the Planet, October Gallery, London, UK
The Other Side Mirrors and Reflections in Contemporary Art, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria, touring to Museum Moderner Kunst Karnten, Vienna, Austria 
2013   Masters of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2011   Transvangarde Illuminations, October Gallery, London, UK
2008   Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE with October Gallery, London, UK

OCTOBER GALLERY ARTISTS