The Anita Pallenberg Story

A Project for haus.0 / Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
by Laura Cottingham

Based on the forthcoming video, The Anita Pallenberg Story
by Laura Cottingham and Leslie Singer

Series starting July 28th, 1999

# 1: On the Origin of The Anita Pallenberg Story
# 2: Casting as Life and Art

# 3: How Research becomes Image and Text...

#4: Some notes on aesthetic principles: The children of Hollywood, Hitler, and Coca Cola
#5: Illusions perdues


In five written texts accompanied by related images and printed matter, annotations, and bibliographic information, I will try to outline the conceptual and material process within which Leslie Singer and I have conceived, developed, filmed and edited The Anita Pallenberg Story.

The Anita Pallenberg Story is conceived as a satire on the contemporary international fine art scene of the 1990s, as told through backstage with the Rolling Stones circa 1968.

The texts for this project for Künstlerhaus Stuttgart will all be written before the video is finished. At the moment of this initial installment, in July 1999, we have completed most but not all of the filming and have edited a rough cut.

The structure for the Stuttgart project - five texts, written one per month, and posted with related documents and images on the Web-was conceived by and offered to me by Fareed Armaly, Artistic Director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. This was Fareed's idea. It is interesting to me, and I am thankful to him for both the idea and the invitation.

In considering the form and structure of these five proposed texts, I have been thinking of The Andy Warhol Diaries, which includes too many references to the exact cost of cab fare and Jean Cocteau's Diary on Beauty and the Beast, which concentrates too much on sickness and the weather.

If one considers telling a story, it is always a question of how to determine the difference between what is meaningful and what is trivial. Sometimes, after all, what at first appears to us as meaningful we later assign to the trivial. At other times the assignation of value goes in the opposite direction, with the at-first trivial later becoming apparently profound.

This sense of a notion of 'shifting emphasis' is one of the conceptual principles that informs The Anita Pallenberg Story:what happened in the past never changes, but our understanding of it does - more often than not. Our approach to the Rolling Stones of circa 1968 - their lives, their legend, their music, their art - is comprised of a reading as dependent on the personal narratives of Leslie Singer and myself as it is on the interpretive models made available to us through post-1960s models of cultural production offered by Performance Art, Identity Politics, Women's Liberation, Gay Rights, and Black Power.

Rock and Roll is one of the most vital art forms that emerged during 1960s. During its energetic development in the 1960s, the primary producers of this new medium, of which the great band called the Rolling Stones was one, were often struggling to assimilate their new genre into the high aims and tradition of Art - and they most often fell down. The irony for us is that it appears, in the 1990s, that the contemporary fine art arena of the moment is overwhelmed by people who want to call themselves artists but who are attempting to model their practice on rock stars, mimicking the very people who once wanted to be them - who aspired to be Artists and make Art. This is a debased misunderstanding. This is a silly mistake. This is a funny twist of fate. This is the basis of The Anita Pallenberg Story.

Laura Cottingham, New York, July 1999