Arts + Culture » Visual Art

The Beats go on

Allen Ginsberg’s nostalgic, candid photography is in focus at MSVU

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Until November 8, the MSVU Art Gallery is showing 116 framed photos taken by 1950s American Beat poet, Shambhala Buddhist and cultural visionary Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997). MSVU Gallery director Ingrid Jenkner explains that, along with his poetics, Ginsberg practiced photography on a daily basis while he traveled the world. Many photos are candid shots of his friends, literary giants like Jack Kerouac and Beat poets like Neal Cassady.

Courtesy of University of Toronto Art Centre - ALLEN GINSBERG
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Courtesy of University of Toronto Art Centre

The line from one of his lectures on poetics and photography, “We are continually exposed to the flashbulbs of death” reveals Ginsberg’s spiritual and philosophical preoccupations, which we can also see in this self-portrait taken in Seattle in 1991.

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