Profile: Lucian Freud

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“Few artists attain the same respect in their lifetime as is given to the 81-year-old Freud. Respect not just from fellow artists or lovers of contemporary art, but from museums around the world who treat this violent, deliberately ugly and ungainly portrayer of the naked human body as a titan, securely established in the great tradition of Chardin, Manet and Degas, rather than a contemporary whose reputation has yet to be tried by time.” —Guardian.UK

Who’s Got the Acid?

“So what explains the LSD drought? The best explanation is a bust, a really big bust. The DEA claims it reduced the LSD supply by “95 percent” with two arrests in rural Kansas in November 2000. Clyde Apperson and William Leonard Pickard were charged with and eventually convicted of possession and conspiracy to distribute LSD. According to court testimony, the DEA seized the largest operable LSD laboratory in agency history, as well as 91 pounds of LSD and precursor compounds for the potential manufacture of nearly 27 pounds more. If you define a dose of LSD as 100 micrograms, Apperson and Pickard had around 400 million hits in stock. At the more common dosage level of 20 micrograms, the two were sitting on 2 billion hits. Apperson got 30 years in prison, and Pickard got two life sentences. The Kansas bust marked the third time in four years that the DEA had arrested Apperson and Pickard on LSD lab charges.

The LSD market took an earlier blow in 1995, when Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia died and the band stopped touring. For 30 years, Dead tours were essential in keeping many LSD users and dealers connected, a correlation confirmed by the DEA in a divisional field assessment from the mid-’90s. The spring following Garcia’s death (the season the MTF surveys are administered), annual LSD use among 12th-graders peaked at 8.8 percent and began their slide. Phish picked up part of the Dead’s fan base—and presumably vestiges of the LSD delivery system. At the end of 2000, Phish stopped touring as well, and perhaps not coincidentally, the MTF numbers for LSD began to plummet.

Where have all the acid-eaters gone? MTF records a stable interest in “hallucinogens other than LSD”—the hallucinogen usually being psychoactive mushrooms—since the 2000 decline of acid. DAWN shows the same trend under the “miscellaneous hallucinogens” category. (Over the same period, use of both ecstasy and methamphetamine dropped in the MTF survey.) In other words, the decline in LSD use doesn’t look like a demand-side phenomena: The cultural hunger for a substance that lets you hold affordable conversations with God, watch walls melt, breathe colors, and explore your psyche remains unsated. ” —Slate

Related: “Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. Each year, a total of some 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students are surveyed (12th graders since 1975, and 8th and 10th graders since 1991.) In addition, annual follow-up questionnaires are mailed to a sample of each graduating class for a number of years after their initial participation.”

Quagmire Coverage

US Casualties Close to 12,000: “Although the number of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq is rarely mentioned, previous estimates in the media have ranged between 2,000-3,000. The Pentagon now says that in the first year of war in Iraq, the military made over 18,000 medical evacuations – representing 11,700 casualties.” —Democracy Now!

Kerry Adviser Looks for Running Mate

Although Kerry’s friend, James Johnson, coordinating the vetting of Kerry’s vice presidential candidates (hopefully more effectively than hevetted Geraldine Ferraro), is characterized as discreet, there are some tidbits in the article. The first four approaches were reportedly made to Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Gov. Thomas J. Vilsack of Iowa. It appears that Edwards has several strikes against him, however; not being a governor and not being from a crucial battleground state, and possibly Kerry’s envy. There is interesting specualtion about John McCain; despite his categorical denials that he would defect from the Republican Party, he is giving out mixed signals. A Kerry-Kerrey ticket has a nice ring to it, though… —New York Times

After 17 Years, They’re Back

…and in the Mood for Love: “After more than 16 years underground, periodical cicadas will begin emerging in late May or early June, as soon as the soil warms up. While they tend to be more widespread in, say, Ohio and Indiana, the bugs – up to two inches long, with orange-veined wings and red beady eyes – should also grace yards farther east, including the New York area.

‘Grace’ is somehow not the proper word, however, to describe the onslaught that may greet the family dog as it fetches the morning newspaper next month. According to Gene Kritsky, a biology professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati and an expert on periodical cicadas, during the last emergence of Brood X, in 1987, concentrations of the bugs reached as high as 100 per square yard. ‘I calculated that in the greater Cincinnati area alone there were something like five billion of them,’ he said.” —New York Times