“Brian Butler conjures the demon Bartzabel” is an article that further discusses from the viewpoint of someone in attendance interviewing Brian Bulter about his recent public Bartzabel working at L & M Arts in Los Angeles.
“The auteur of this scene is Los Angeles-based artist Brian Butler, an icon in an occult subculture that has blossomed over the last decade. A would be polymath—artist, filmmaker, musician, and writer—Butler’s persona has been constructed around an overt dedication to the black arts, and a willingness to make public the rituals and tenets of a faith that have traditionally been kept secret by others. That, along with his ties to people with infamous reputations, most notably Kenneth Anger, have made him equally lauded and reviled.
The scene in question—Butler’s latest and most grandiose display—was a public performance of Aleister Crowley’s The Bartzabel Working. Based on techniques of evocation found in medieval grimoires, the ritual was written in 1910 and designed to manifest Bartzabel, a traditional spirit of Mars in Western occultism, through a hooded person placed in a magical triangle. The crowd, which packed the gallery’s courtyard, was the largest ever assembled to witness a Crowleyan rite.” [via]
“Are there precedents for what you are doing, or do you believe it to be unique? What do you think the connection with ritual portends for the future of art and performance?
In the context of the art world, this connection is a new one—it hasn’t really been explored. Certainly there have always been artists interested in the occult, and who allowed that to inspire their work—it even became a kind of subgenre in early Modernism, but it was often hidden under the formal content of the work, as in the case of Piet Mondrian, for instance. But the overt connection, with the performance of ritual magick as art, is something new. I think it is a step towards a more intimate relationship between artist and audience—I am reminded of something that Marina Abramovic elucidated to me about the occult in the context of performance, that the future will be one of a non-objective world without art in the sense that we have it now. She foresees us attaining a mental state and level of consciousness enabling us to transmit thoughts to other people. “There will not be sculptures, or paintings, or installations,” she once said, “there will just be the artist standing in front of a public, which is developed enough to receive a message or energy.” I think the fusion of art and ritual is a step toward that kind of connectivity and that kind of intimacy.” [via]