Blood of a Poet Box (literally)

Blood of a Poet Box 1965-8 by Eleanor Antin born 1935


In 1965 Eleanor Antin began what she considers her first mature work as a conceptual artist, Blood of a Poet Box. Using a wooden slide box, Antin filled it with one hundred glass slides containing blood specimens collected from one hundred poets. The piece took three years to complete (1965–1968) and was an homage to Jean Cocteau’s surrealist film of 1930, Le Sang d’un Poète (Blood of a Poet). Antin’s piece is an ironicalplay on the romantic ideal of the inner artist as being a poetic, creative soul who gives no less than his lifeblood to make art. Among the poets who donated specimens areAllen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jerome Rothenberg, Barbara Guest, and Yvonne Rainer.


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