Counterculture icon and essential figure in the early postwar Los Angeles art scene, Marjorie Cameron is the subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman opens October 11 and will feature over 90 artworks and ephemeral artifacts, including correspondence with husband and occult mentor, the engineer and Thelemite Jack Parsons. “Her hallucinated vision, at the edge of surrealism and psychedelia embodies an aspect of modernity that deeply doubts and defies Cartesian logic at a moment in history when these values have shown their own limitations. Her work demonstrates that the space in the mind is without limit,” states MOCA Director Philippe Vergne. The exhibition offers a rare look at the life and work of a female occult practitioner — too frequently depicted as mere muse or lunatic, even though female-centric mysticism has existed for thousands of years. Here are a few other female occultists who deserve mention.
New Biogaphies of Aleister Crowley and Proto-Fascist Poet Gabriele d’Annunzio Raise Big Questions on the Nature of Evil
Aleister Crowley was routinely referred to during his lifetime as “the wickedest man in the world.” He was an occultist, the founder of Thelema, a person who lived by the phrase “Do what thou wilt,” a drug addict, and all told, not a very fun person to be around. He was also a painter, a poet, a great mountain climber, and ultimately more an aesthete than a madman.