Synopses & Reviews
“You are right John Cohen—Quasimoto was right.…There is no eye—there is only a series of mouths—long live the mouths—your rooftop—if you don’t already know—has been demolished….”
“There is a saying that the treasures of the universe may be found between the eyes of a horse. One could say that the treasures of the earth may be found between the eyes of John Cohen. For we find in the images offered by this humble man, the wisdom of simplicity—its music, and its silence.”
Be it in the Peruvian Andes, in Kentucky bluegrass country, in the Gospel churches of Brooklyn, or in Greenwich Village with Bob Dylan and the Beats, famed musician John Cohen’s vision transcends history, even while it distills the spirit of a period and a place. There is No Eye, Cohen’s first monograph, is a guided tour through the worlds of outsider artists, poets, and musicians. Cohen’s lyrical stories of the cultures he has encountered complement his photographs taken over the past five decades.
Featuring never-before-seen photographs of legendary Beat generation icons, from literary lions Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso to artists and photographers Grace Hartigan, Franz Kline, Red Grooms, and Robert Frank, and a panoply of American Roots musicians, from Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Muddy Waters to Doc Watson, Elizabeth Cotton, and Roscoe Holcomb, There is No Eye captures some of the most influential artists of our time.
"There is a saying that the treasures of the universe may be found between the eyes of a horse. One could say that the treasures of the earth may be found between the eyes of John Cohen. For we find in the images offered by this humble man, the wisdom of simplicity--its music, and its silence."
Now in paperback.
"You can look at John Cohen's THERE IS NO EYE and see through very familiar eyes: the New York City eyes of Helen Levitt and Walker Evans, Evans' country eyes, the highway eyes of Robert Frank, even Margaret Bourke-White's doubting eyes in Holiness churches. . . John Cohen's argument is that the picture exists outside the photographer's intentions, or even his desires. . . Up against these eyeless pictures, those of Evans, Frank, Levitt, and Bourke-White can seem almost propagandistic. That is, they make arguments; you are aware the photographer wants to tell you something, to convince you of something, to accept a certain point of view. Here there is no point of view. There is something else; I don't know what to call it, so I won't try."