Uzi Parnes: BASRA ON FIRST AVENUE (Jack Smith's last apartment)
“When the film is long since over the apartment will be lived in and used with its kitchen in the style of a ruined sambucca, beached in a papyrus swamp and perhaps someone will be gazing at the Bagdadian sink instead of a T.V. The apartment, the architecture entertains you, it soothes you. It helps you, it civilizes you, it is ‘BASRA’…” -Jack Smith, excerpt from grant application, February 5, 1982.
I shot these photos of Jack’s apartment at 21 First Avenue shortly after he passed in 1989. I began in daylight, but, as the apartment was quite dark I returned later with a movie light and reshot some of the darker areas. Even then, I realized the apartment would ultimately have to be surrendered to the landlord and felt it was important to document the incomparable environment Jack lived in and had created as a set for his never-lensed film project Sinbad in the Rented World.