Daily Postings
Art : Interview

Daniel McKewen

by Madeleine Stack

An outsider looking in.

For a number of years, Daniel McKewen taught a class at the Queensland University of Technology that functioned as a drop-in critique and discussion session for whoever was around at the time. We almost always ended up talking about film and the media, which for a number of years have formed the content of his video-based work. Last summer, sharing a workshop in the subtropics, we worked side-by-side in a steamy tin shed, doors thrown wide to catch whatever breeze there was. As he obsessively polished a bronze sculpture to mirror-finish, he offered his steady and reasoned advice to whoever came knocking. The advice was usually: Keep doing it. At the 2014 Sydney Biennale and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s NEW14 exhibition McKewen showed video-based work focusing on popular media, cinema, and fan culture, but his newer pieces consist of sculpture and drawing. His work, culled from familiar sources, aims for the jolt of recognition before the quotidian is made strange. We spoke about harvesting laugh tracks, the politics of art funding, and his upcoming show at Milani Gallery in Brisbane, which deals with the global financial crisis.

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Art : Portfolio

Summer Vacation

BOMB Daily has gone fishing. We'll see you again on August 18.

BOMB Daily will be on vacation from August 12th to August 18th. All of us here would like to take this opportunity to thank all the artists, writers, filmmakers, and others who have contributed to this project.

Please consider subscribing or donating now to help BOMB continue to deliver the artist's voice, and enjoy the summer!

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Literature : Interview

Elizabeth Mikesch

by Erik Morse

Strange songs: Elizabeth Mikesch channels the grit and caprice of suburban adolescence.

Elizabeth Mikesch’s debut novella, Niceties, is a collection of domestic fairytales that evoke the kind of suburban witchcraft of Harmony Korine, Vladimir Nabokov, and Catherine Breillat. Presumably based on the author’s experiences as a precocious child living in Small Town, USA, the book is composed of a series of loosely related miniatures on eroticism, witchery, and boredom, which occasionally braid and loop back on one another as if through the tiny nooks of the book’s imaginary floor plan. Mikesch’s sentences are, throughout, pleasantly plump and oleaginous, seeping with the sights and smells of pubescence: grandmother’s repasts, masturbatory bed-sheets, and nocturnal beasties. “We were sleeveless daughters once in the sleet nights of the wild fields, smokes and talk, eyelids stained, in the spunout drives, riding suicide, in the chardark, in the moonlight,” she writes of the rituals of teenage girls in the parlance of a millennial Sibyl. “There was hiding coughing—do not make a sound—inhale a puff of a poison, did the coffin slam shut?” Its familial subject matter, often portrayed in illicit and traumatic vignettes, and a lyrical, albeit dissonant, use of language makes Niceties a rewarding experiment in the linkages between Victorian “house” literature and the transgressive, free-versification of the archly feminist New Narrative.

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Art : Interview

Laura Aldridge & Lee Maida

by Alhena Katsof

Finding meeting points: in preparation for a joint show, two artists talk about materials, process, and presenting their work.

At the onset of this conversation, the artists Laura Aldridge and Lee Maida had never met each other. We shared a couple of short, three-way email exchanges to get the ball rolling, but ultimately this session was a lot like a blind date, a real set up. We initiated the talk, which took place over Skype, because I had invited them to present new work in a two-person exhibition at Andrew Kreps gallery in New York over the summer. While Aldridge is based in Glasgow and Maida in New York, it would be easy enough to apply a synchronistic frame around their practices. Aldridge and Maida’s three-dimensional works show an interest in color, the legacy of images, and the malleable, textured life of material. If left to their own volition, though, I doubt that either artist would initiate a conversation about their work according to the vestiges of materiality. Especially for that reason, I leaned into this potentially troublesome zone. A discussion about material and desire might tease out various distinctions and nuanced similarities regarding the use of ceramics and fabric in each of their work, which include some of the most poignant, anachronistic examples of clay and fabric in a day-glo world.

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Film : Interview

Joaquim Pinto

by Paul Dallas

Portuguese cinema, dealing with illness, and "the tissue connecting the cosmic and the corporeal."

A bee lands on a cheeseburger being held by Joaquim Pinto. The camera moves in and, with microscopic focus, captures the perverse comedy and unexpected beauty of the creature determinedly sawing off a chunk of meat before flitting away. It’s one of a dozen extended sequences of bodies close up—insect, canine, and human—that could strike the first-time viewer of Pinto’s latest film, What Now? Remind Me, as curious, poetic digressions. But the deliberate and obsessive attention imparted to such incidental observations underscores an urgent and necessary function. They act as tethers to the present, pulling the filmmaker back from the hazy edges of memory and exhaustion. Cumulatively, they become the tissue connecting the cosmic and the corporeal in the film’s unique cosmology.

It’s safe to say that you will not see another film like What Now? Remind Me in cinemas this year. Pinto’s 162-minute epic—made in collaboration with his husband, Nuno Leonel—is a deeply personal love letter to life lived fully, in the face of so much decay. The fifty-seven year old director, a central figure in Portuguese cinema who has worked with auteurs like Raúl Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira, and João César Monteiro, has been living with HIV and Hepatitis C for nearly twenty years, and his latest documentary is an intimate diary of a year spent in a clinical trial for experimental treatment.

As the film shuttles between life on the couple’s remote farm and trips to medical centers, it weaves past and present, reverie and reality, the personal and the political. There are glimpses of Pinto’s early days in cinema, on set with Ruiz in 1981, and flashes of the vital generation of critics and filmmakers (including friends Derek Jarman and Serge Daney) devastated by AIDS. There are glimpses of his remarkable first two features, Tall Stories (1988) and Where the Sun Beats (1989). But What Now? Remind Me deftly skirts the solipsistic and the sentimental, and its striking images, evocative dissolves, and terrific soundtrack remain with you. It’s a testament to Pinto and Leonel’s extraordinary filmmaking, as well as to their remarkable decades-long relationship, that together they’ve produced a film that looks outward as generously and deeply as it looks inward.

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Music : Interview

David Kilgour & Robert Scott

by Clinton Krute

The Clean, The Heavy Eights, The Bats, and smoking hash with Alex Chilton.

Robert Scott and David Kilgour are perhaps best known as two-thirds of the influential New Zealand band The Clean. With David's brother Hamish (who currently lives in New York City), the trio released a handful of EPs of shambling, psychedelic, and otherwise unclassifiable pop songs in the early '80s. These records were some of the first to come out of the nascent Dunedin-based New Zealand music scene, centered around the Flying Nun label, and remain among the best to come out of that movement. The band reformed in the late '80s and, since then, have put out another focused, playful, and beautiful record every few years. A compilation of work spanning their entire output, the four-LP Anthology, was recently released by Merge Records.

David's long and equally rich solo career continues with End Times Undone, his new record with longtime band the Heavy Eights. The album, out August 5th on Merge Records, is David and the Heavy Eights's first since 2011's Left by Soft, and is a further exploration of his overlapping interests in compressed pop song-forms and lush, expansive guitar music.

Robert's group The Bats have also been active since the early '80s and have produced a number of astonishingly great pop albums over the years, several of which were recently reissued in the US by Captured Tracks as part of that label's series of Flying Nun Records releases. He also has a solo album, The Green House, out shortly on Flying Nun.

Both David and Robert are also prolific painters whose work frequently doubles as album art. I emailed them a bunch of questions about painting, their solo work, history, and The Clean. The two old friends then sat down and talked them over on tape. Revelations abound.

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: Paper Clip
Film : Essay

Leos Carax's Boy Meets Girl

by Nicholas Elliott

Modern love in slow motion and black-and-white.

The French director Leos Carax made Boy Meets Girl (1984) at the age of twenty-three. You would expect a filmmaker in such a hurry to get his first feature out the gate to make something that zips past or hurtles forward, a youthful bullet train that leaves you with a smeared impression of shapes and faces and—if all went well—the promise of movies to come. But Boy Meets Girl is a slow movie, moving at a zig-zagging crawl to an inevitable but long-delayed outcome: the meeting of Alex (Denis Lavant), a nocturnal loner betrayed by his girlfriend Florence, and Mireille (Mireille Perrier), left alone on a summer’s night by her insensitive boyfriend. The movie is drawn out by the rich, dark shadows of its black-and-white images—deep pools in which the gaze finds no end—and the way Carax’s constant inventiveness lights up the peripheral action—nearly obscuring the central business of girl meeting boy—with a density of details including a woman driving to the mountains with her skis and ski poles poking through a hole in her windshield, and a man opening a giant empty fridge to kneel before it and cool off.

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Literature : Interview

Peter Mendelsund

by Christopher King

Wrapping words up in images.

Among book designers, Peter Mendelsund is the best reader of all. You always recognize one of his covers when you see it, and it’s not because he tends toward certain colors or typefaces—quite the opposite. Rather, it’s something about the way the cover illuminates the text. You can tell he didn’t just read the manuscript; he internalized it. The result somehow feels both inevitable and surprising: the only possible solution but one you could never dream up yourself.

That such a good reader would turn out to be an outstanding writer is perhaps inevitable as well, but Peter has once again confounded expectations by publishing two books of his own, with two different publishers, on the same day. The first, Cover, is a design book full of words, and the second, What We See When We Read, is a philosophy book full of pictures.

Six years ago, I had a desk a few floors up from Peter’s office at Random House. He was already famed for his iconic covers for authors like Martin Amis and Mark Haddon, but many of his greatest hits—the Kafka reissues, the Cortázar covers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—were still to come. We became acquainted that summer, and every now and then I’d poke my head in and ask for advice about how to be a better designer.

Of course, now I realize I was asking all the wrong questions. So I recently went back to Peter’s office and asked for advice about how to be a better reader.

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Art : Portfolio
Literature : Word Choice

Meaningful Work

by JoAnna Novak

Pre-shift you stop at Valley Mart. You need two Mountain Dews to survive. The slog. See yourself when you say slog. You’ll slug Dew—wind catching your black cargo chef pants, raw chicken gunking your kitchen clogs—and mud will pour into the Mansion. Gray-brown, doom and gloom, life after your mother’s death—that’s what you need to overcome: today’s shift. Tell yourself it’s any Tuesday.

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Literature : Interview

Clive Phillpot

by Elizabeth Zuba

Human collage, mail art, and punning with the nothing master Ray Johnson.

Almost twenty years after his death, Ray Johnson continues to be revealed as one of the most consequential figures in American contemporary art. The progenitor of correspondence art and an influential pioneer of pop art and conceptual art (though he eschewed all of these monikers), Johnson’s curiosity resulted in an immense body of work that spans collage, correspondence, performance, sculpture, drawing, painting, and book arts. For better or worse, he embodied that over-glorified and under-recognized role of “the artist’s artist.” Johnson’s dynamic life-art unfolded within a nexus of artists and media that read as a who’s who and what’s what of American art from the 1950s through 1970s, and yet he systematically refused or flouted all opportunities to popularize his work through mainstream art commerce.

Grace Glueck once wrote to me that Johnson sent letters to academics and journalists in the art world whose attention he wanted. Maybe, but it certainly wasn’t fame he was after. So I guess the question is, what kind of attention? From what I can tell, Johnson was highly selective about whom in the art establishment he tried to engage. He sent letters to academic figures who he thought could and hopefully would correspond with him the way he wanted—persons who might match his intellect and interests, and parry with his acerbic wit; persons who might be game to enter into an alternative kind of correspondence via the oblique and contiguous relationships of words, ideas, and images. Clive Phillpot was one such favorite correspondent and friend of Ray Johnson’s. Since Johnson’s death, Phillpot has become one of the foremost scholars of his work. It was an honor to be able to talk with Clive and plumb his unique and illuminating insight into Johnson’s art and person.

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: Paper Clip
Art : Oral History

Adger Cowans

by Carrie Mae Weems

BOMB’s Oral History Project documents the life stories of New York City’s African American artists.

Adger Cowans is a renowned fine arts photographer and painter whose works have been shown by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Museum of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum of Harlem, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard Fine Art Museum, Detroit Art Institute, James E. Lewis Museum and numerous other art institutions. His photographs were highlighted in the exhibition, Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2001. Cowans was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera in recognition of a Distinguished Career at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art. In 2015, Glitterati, Inc. will be publishing a book of his work.

Cowans attended Ohio University where he received a BFA in photography. He furthered his education at the School of Motion Picture Arts and School of Visual Arts in New York. While serving in the United States Navy, he worked as a photographer before moving to New York, where he later worked with Life magazine photographer, Gordon Parks and fashion photographer, Henri Clarke. The New York Times described Cowans’ work as “Boldly inventive and experimental ... the artist is a craftsman to his fingertips.”

Funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts with The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, with additional funding from the Dedalus Foundation and New York Community Trust, as well as A G Foundation and Toni L. Ross.

BOMB’s Oral History Advisory Panel is Sanford Biggers, Thelma Golden, Kellie Jones, Mickalene Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Stanley Whitney, and Jack Whitten.

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Art : Interview

Keith Haring: Languages

by Andrew Blackley Johanna Burton Scott Treleaven

Ciphers, graffiti hieroglyphs, and lateral communication.

This conversation between Andrew Blackley, Johanna Burton, and Scott Treleaven is the third and final component of Keith Haring: Languages. It supplements an exhibition at the Fales Library and Special Collections (NYU) of 130 never-before-exhibited, understudied artworks and documents held by the Keith Haring Foundation. A conference featuring nine speakers coincided with the exhibition's opening, bringing together figures from across academic and professional disciplines in order to publicly address the lineages available in these text-based materials as adjacent and precedent to the more well-known visual art of Haring’s later career. The text below threads together the major themes from Keith Haring: Languages—historicity, methodology, and the readership of artists’ writings and papers as substantive material and theoretical categories.

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Music : Interview

Graham Lambkin

by Matt Krefting

Childhood memories, dinosaurs, ghosts, and "other vaguely aquatic forms intermingling."

Graham Lambkin first came to public attention in the 1990s as a member of the band the Shadow Ring. He is also an accomplished visual artist, lending his art to countless record sleeves and maintaining a steady home practice of drawing, painting, and collage. Since 2009, the London-based Penultimate Press has published four books by Lambkin, including the recent Came to Call Mine, a gorgeous book of poems and drawings described by the artist as “a children’s book for adults.” The book’s release coincided with an exhibit of the same name held at Audio Visual Arts in Manhattan, as well as with Lambkin’s first-ever solo musical performances. Twenty years since the release of his first record, we see a host of fresh firsts for the artist.

One gets the sense that Graham Lambkin sees the world through a very peculiar lens. His observations on the mundane are often startling, though rarely far-fetched. William Burroughs said of Denton Welch that Welch “makes the reader aware of the magic that is right under his eyes,” and the same could be said of Lambkin. He looks at an everyday object and sees an ocean of possibility.

The following conversation was held in my living room, spread out on the carpet, nursing a few beers, and enjoying each other’s company.

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Literature : Word Choice

Four Poems

by Darin Ciccotelli

Assistance

You have the vague hope. Like a fritillary
it ekes along the perimeter of what
you can see. It is some consequence of youth,
this idea that you can be revived.
Until then, each day seems like that
apartment you’ve lived in—unfurnished,
wet with primer. Then the weekend is gone,
television having usurped it with
the dressage portion of the event. Increasingly
you rely on the idea that you were nearly
understood. The sky all fumes.
Inside, a refrigerated lily holds itself
still. The post-industrial town fits its
hours in envelopes. So you assuage yourself
with the person you never knew.
She sits in the mind like a
telephone. The feeling can’t help be
compounded. I read the article that said
we weren’t supposed to look each
other in the eyes. Without being asked,
the unceremonious plot resets itself. You are
in love. Everyone, at every corner,
suddenly like road flares.

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Literature : Interview

Kate Durbin

by Gabriela Jauregui

Literary television, tragicomic starlets, and objects galore.

Kate Durbin and I sat together to gossip and eat pink food on her pink leather sofa—the only fit way to celebrate the publication of her most recent book, E! Entertainment, which was printed on pink paper. She wore a pink angora sweater (she’s always a little cold) and I wore a pink Lycra jumpsuit (and was therefore too hot). We had fish eggs, salmon, radishes, wild strawberries, Pink Lady apple tart with blush crème fraîche, and a dry rosé wine while we discussed the best shade of nail polish (powder rose) as well as writing and process. In the background the television set was muted and I could see flashes of a gemstone infomercial.

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Events

Read BOMB Daily

August 13th - 7:00pm
Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop
126A Front St,
Brooklyn, NY 11201


A selection of readings by contributors to BOMB Magazine's daily supplement! Featuring:

Jenn Joy
Sasha Fletcher
Bethany Ball
Michael Barron
Virginia McLure
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Film : Interview

Josef Kubota Wladyka

by Gary M. Kramer

Companionship and levity emerge from the exploitation of the drug trade.

Manos Sucias, co-written and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka, is a tense and urgent drama. The ripped-from-the-headlines story has nineteen-year-old Delio (Cristian James Abvincula) and Jacobo (Jarlin Javier Martinez) transporting a torpedo full of drugs to a rendezvous spot in the middle of the ocean off the Pacific coast of Colombia. Their journey—a coming of age road movie set on the water—has the pair encountering racism and setbacks as they also contemplate their future.

Wladyka, who deservedly won the Best New Narrative Director at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, has created a gritty but lyrical drama. Many of the elements in Manos Sucias are palpable—from the heat that beats down on the characters, right down to the rocking of the boat. Wladyka shrewdly makes the characters’ moments of boredom and anxiety interesting and authentic by emphasizing the space—from a cramped boat on the open water to the barrios and jungles the characters inhabit. The film memorably conveys a vibrant sense of time and place.

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Art : Portfolio
Literature : Word Choice

from Blonde Summer

by Andrew Durbin

In Basel, I smoked hash and listened to Sophie’s “Bipp,” a little out of date by the time I heard it, zoning out on the line I can make you feel better. I used to think life was about feeling better and searching for the better in what is not. I have now realized that there are errors in this pursuit.

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Music : Interview

OOIOO

by Scott Davis

Nature, melody, and the primal urge to make music.

Yoshimio joined Yamatsuka Eye in the noise band UFO or Die in 1987, and, the next year, joined Eye as drummer (among many other roles) in the seminal and highly influential Boredoms. Aside from Eye, she is the longest running member of that experimental project. In 1996, she was asked to do a photoshoot for a magazine and asked a few of her girlfriends to join her. They created a fake band called OOIOO for the shoot, but then decided to make it real. Gamel, the band’s eighth album, marks a shift in their sound with the addition two new members who are both trained in the the traditional Indonesian music of gamelan.

Although she was here last year for a few one off performances, including Doug Aitken's Station to Station event last year with Hisham Bharoocha and Ryan Sawyer and a performance at Union Pool with Ikue Mori, it's been seven years since Yoshimio—who recently added the o to her name—and OOIOO have graced American soil. With a seven date tour starting on July 15 in Chicago, Yoshimio and company bring their flowing, organic, and genre-less music to the States in support of their new album.

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