Published by Bulfinch Press, Hachette Book Group USA
Available online at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble
and at most bookstores nationwide
ABOUT OUR BOOK:
Exquisite Corpse is a hypothesis, built from a wealth of visual and factual material. Unlike others who have preceded us, we make no definitive claim to solve the murder of Elizabeth Short, otherwise known as the Black Dahlia murder of 1947. We do suggest that clues about this crime may have been hiding, for decades, in plain sight.
Exquisite Corpse presents the theory that Elizabeth Short's murder may have been informed by surrealist art, and that the killer was familiar with surrealist art and ideas. It also proposes that art created after the murder may have made veiled references to it.
Our book generally supports Steve Hodel's best-selling book Black Dahlia Avenger, which proposes that George Hodel, the author's father, was the killer. We take exception to some of Steve Hodel's claims in Black Dahlia Avenger, however. For instance, his attribution to his father of many other murders is provocative but highly questionable, in our view. In addition, neither of us believes that the unidentified women pictured in his father's photo album are Elizabeth Short.
Foremost, our book asserts that this gruesome but precisely executed murder may have been a deranged attempt to imitate motifs in surrealist art. That said, we do not believe that Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, or any other surrealist artist was directly responsible for the murder, or that the killer himself was an artist.
Surrealism was a fascinating and wide-ranging art movement, filled with wonderful and strange imagery. The Black Dahlia's possible connection to it is a small chapter in surrealism's history, another testament to this art's irrepressible and revolutionary allure.
NEW: Downloadable recordings of Mark Nelson's
StoryCorps conversations with George Hodel's
grandson Joshua Hodel Spafford
Part 1 (Large file: 38.3mb)
Part 2 (Large file: 40.7mb)
Part 3 (Large file: 41.8mb)
Part 4 (Large file: 37.6mb)
Part 5 (Large file: 41.3mb)
Part 6 (Large file: 37.4mb)
MAP: Our revised map (now built with Google Maps) corresponds with the diagram "Los Angeles 1935–1950: A Web of Connections," that can be found on the endpapers of our book. It situates Black Dahlia murder suspect George Hodel within the culturally elite circles of Los Angeles at the time of the murder and illustrates the close geographical proximity of the central characters in our book. With the exception of George Hodel (whom we consider to be a relevant and viable suspect in the crime) the map is not intended to implicate any other person noted here, nor to imply that he or she knew the victim, Elizabeth Short. We will update the map occasionally when we have time.
View Larger Map
NEW: This downloadable PDF documents presents an
argument for the importance of a recently discovered document
George Hodel / Cement Sack
This downloadable PDF documents the
relationship between Man Ray and George Hodel
Man Ray / George Hodel
This downloadable PDF documents
George Hodel's Surgical Experience
George Hodel / Surgical Experience
This downloadable PDF documents
Hodel discussing his own surrealist photography
George Hodel / District Attorney Transcript p. 95
National Public Radio The "Three Books" Series: "Three Grisly Tales of Love and Death in Tinseltown," by Paula Uruburu; Online: October 21, 2010
Art In America "Surrealism to Die For," by Peter Plagens; Online: April, 2009; Print edition: April 2009, pp. 47-50
Art In America
Vanity Fair "California Dreamgirl," by Sheila Weller; Online: December, 2007, pp. 1-2; Print edition: December 2007, pp. 359-361
MCAD Magazine (Magazine of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) "A Sharp Eye" by Kim Zimmerman; Print edition: March 2007, pp. 12-13
Art & Australia "Ingrid Periz on Exquisite Corpse," (Short Book Review); Print edition: Volume 44, No. 3, Autumn 2007, p. 44
Artforum "A Bright Guilty World: Daylight Ghosts and Sunshine Noir," by J. Hoberman, Online: February, 2007, p. 5; Print edition: February 2007, p. 315
The Village Voice "Top Shelf: Our 25 Favorite Books of 2006," Online: 22 December, 2006; Print edition: 27 December, 2006 - 2 January, 2007, p. 46
The Village Voice
Modern Painters "An Excellent Cadaver," by Ed Park,
November 2006, pp. 48-50
see also: The Dizzies (Ed Park Blog)
The New Republic "Deathworks," by David Thomson,
Online: 15 September 2006; Print edition: 25 September 2006,
The New Republic
The Independent "Film Studies: Who killed the Black Dahlia?,"
by David Thomson, 10 September 2006
Los Angeles magazine "Living with the Black Dahlia:
The Murder that Changed Los Angeles," by RJ Smith,
September 2006, p. 242
ARTnews magazine "Body of Evidence," by Sarah P. Hanson,
September 2006, p. 44
None currently scheduled
Barnes & Noble Booksellers Park Slope
267 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11215
Thursday, 19 October, 2006 (7:30 pm)
19 October - Reading
Marcel Duchamp and the Forestay Waterfall
Last May, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Cully, Switzerland to participate in a three-day symposium called "Marcel Duchamp and the Forestay Waterfall," so named for the waterfall that Duchamp used as part of the backdrop of his final masterpiece Étant donnés
. Cradled between vineyards that rise into steep hills and the shore of magnificent lake Geneva, the setting couldn't have been more sublime. Our gracious hosts, Caroline Bachmann and Stefan Banz, planned and executed the event with attention to every detail. A profusely illustrated catalogue, with essays by many major Duchamp scholars, has just been released in the U.S. by JRP-Ringier and is available in bookstores now. Edited and designed by Banz, the book contains my essay, "Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder," a distillation of the argument Sarah and I made in Exquisite Corpse
and a presentation of new information discovered since that book's publication.
As a postscript, I should note that the essay corrects an erroneous date given in our blog post of November 28, 2007. Denise Bellon's photograph (pictured in that entry) was actually made in 1936 — not in the late 1950s as I reported earlier.
Labels: Black Dahlia Murder, Forestay Waterfall, Marcel Duchamp, Mark Nelson, Surrealism