Daily Postings
art : portfolio

Portfolio

by Gabriele Beveridge

Gabriele Beveridge has quite the eye for sad-looking models in posters—the kind of women who hawk things like hair dye and shampoo. Hanging in the sun too long, the women's faces are now dull and not so lustrous. There's often an equally sad-looking, droopy, blown-glass bubble hanging off Beveridge’s picture frames, like a deflated balloon or even a saline breast implant. In Sugar baby, mystic mountain the glass sprouts tentacles of plastic tubing. In other examples, eyes are obscured by feathers or fake bamboo. Either way, beauty is marred, literally and figuratively so.

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literature : first proof

The Hypochondriac in the Landscape

by Walter Benjamin

Penned between 1906 and 1912, the following fragment of fiction is among the earliest writings of critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin. This tale—along with many other of his fables, parables, riddles, and novellas—are gathered in The Storyteller, forthcoming in late July 2016 from Verso Books.

 

ONLY FOR GROWN-UPS. NERVOUS TYPES—BEWARE!

Above the landscape hung such storm clouds as cause that specific fear of storms among young people known to physicians under a Latin name. It was a gently apprehensive mountain scenery. The path was steep and tiresome; the air was very hot and high temperatures prevailed. A mature man—greyed by the passing of the years—and an adolescent moved as inaudible points through the silence. They carried an empty stretcher. From time to time the gaze of the younger man fell upon the stretcher and his eyes would fill with tears. It was not long before a doleful song streamed forth from his mouth, reverberating from the mountain with a thousand sobs. "Red of the morning, red of the morning lights the path to an early death." In the distance, bloody bolts of lightning tinged the sky. Suddenly the singing broke off and was followed by a faint groan. "Permit me for a moment," the young man said to the elder one. He rested the stretcher on the ground, sat down, closed his eyes and folded his hands.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by Malik Gaines

“Americans don’t agree on what happened in Orlando, or what should happen now.”

Are we? Or…

America is very concerned with which forms of violence are permissible when. Execution, murder with impunity, homicide, warfare, negligence, and revolution—each holds an important place in our law. In our discourse, we constantly debate the proper distribution of these forms. In our field of representation, we rehearse their efficacies. I’ve seen so many murders on TV.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by niv Acosta

"Orlando is a queer AND racial issue AFTER a gun control, Islamophobia, and mental-health issue."

first i would like to acknowledge that i am one of two artists of color who was invited to contribute on a story about the mass shooting of a club full of Queer and Transgender people of color (QTPOC)…

i was traveling while black recently in three different cities, London, Hamburg, and Berlin, when i logged onto social media and realized yet another instance of gun violence had occurred in Amerikkka. normally i scroll endlessly until i’ve scraped together the entire story and subsequent op-ed's that follow to craft a robust and informed post regarding the issue, but this time was different. facebook widget wiggled and cleared.

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art : oral history

Eldzier Cortor

by Terry Carbone

American Art lost a unique and vital presence last year, when the painter and master printmaker Eldzier Cortor died on Thanksgiving Day, just months before his 100th birthday. The oral history presented here is synthesized from two interviews permitted by this intensely modest and private man, at the Brooklyn Museum in 2014, and at his Lower East Side home last fall. I was introduced to the work of Eldzier Cortor in 2005, when I saw his arresting Southern Landscape (Southern Flood) in a booth at the Park Avenue Armory. The artist presented two beautiful, young black figures stretched out on a grassy hill, while behind them flood waters sweep through a valley and carry away unmoored, frame houses. The figures appear calm, owing to the artist's having cast their faces according to the forms of African masks. We purchased the picture for the Brooklyn Museum, where it has hung ever since. I called Mr. Cortor at the time. Although he claimed he remembered little about a work he had created sixty years earlier, he subsequently completed a questionnaire with precision, noting his materials ("Gesso panel, Shiva casein paint, Shiva emulsion, Shiva oil paint, Shiva glossy varnish, Damar varnish—glossy finish.") and the location, a site in Kentucky that he had witnessed en route to the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. He wrote, "It was created from my feelings in the face of devastation, and the two figures represent youth with hope." When I asked Mr. Cortor if he would come to the museum to speak, he replied with a polite but categorical "no thank you."

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film : review

Bound by Cinema

by Daniel Bird

On the fiery filmmaker Andrzej Żuławski and his final work—Cosmos.

Five years ago in Copenhagen.

A hotel restaurant.

Breakfast.

Polish director Andrzej Żuławski has a dramatic announcement to make: "There are no real directors at this festival."

"Why?" I ask.

"Look!" A young girl, bored senseless, stacking plates loaded with breakfast remains.

"A real director would stop stuffing his face and cast her in a movie."

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music : interview

Vivien Goldman

by Michael Patrick MacDonald

"Dub was my sound because of postcolonial movements. I grew up in it. I bathed in it. I breathed it. So why shouldn't it be mine?"

I first heard the foreboding bass line of Vivien Goldman's "Private Armies" in Boston, 1981. Stereophonic sounds crashed into each other, dissipated, and appeared again, and the bass kept it all together while a British woman's voice alternated between sweet sing-song and militant shouts of resistance. That summer, police were violently clamping down on behalf of the new corporate state in the working-class Caribbean community of Brixton, as well as in striking white mining towns across England. As a kid, listening eagerly with big ears across the pond, "Private Armies" evoked all these images in visceral ways that newspapers could not. And that a woman's voice spoke up to the masculinity of oppression put the images in a focus we were not getting in mainstream reportage.

The lead voice and visionary of the project was a music journalist. Vivien Goldman often wrote in NME and Melody Maker about London's "sound systems" and the links happening between white punks and rastas at all-night Blue Parties. Coming from Boston's poor and working class white ghetto where any interaction with nearby poor and working-class black neighborhoods seemed unimaginable, such "crossing over" lit me. A glimpse into this faraway world sparked my own fantasies of class-conscious and cross-cultural intersections.

Thirty-five years after those angry teenage days of alienation, I called my now good friend and ally for a conversation about the new collection of her music—Resolutionary (Songs 1979-1982) (Staubgold Records), covering solo songs as well as her work with The Flying Lizards and Chantage—from that explosive and brilliantly creative period.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by Corrine Fitzpatrick

"We need a new word, because neither 'hate' nor 'terror' will suffice."

Will called me from Missoula on Tuesday to talk. He told me that one of the times he'd gone to see Carol in the theater there he'd been touched to see so many older lesbian couples in attendance. Then it occurred to him that someone could come into the theater and wipe out "a hundred of us at once." He spent the movie wondering what he would do if somebody opened fire.

As the massacre at Pulse began, I was in my living room in California drunkenly discussing the pace of gay progress versus race progress in the United States. I cautioned Chris and our guests, who were thoughtfully commending the swiftness of gains in gay rights and mainstream acceptance of homosexuality. I brought up suicide rates, addiction rates, homelessness rates, assault rates, murder rates, and insidious marginalization—particularly the alienation of queer people from their families.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by Gerard & Kelly

“I don't know how to pray so I cry.”

Dear Brennan,

I did not want to begin my email to you like this, but oh no, Orlando. The sinking feeling of opening Facebook to see a friend marked “safe,” signifier of our time. Globe-trotting crises; Orlando, the next peg on the map of violence. Pulse nightclub. No, not another nightclub, too soon after the Bataclan. Then, the sucker punch, a gay nightclub. 50 dead and counting, as many injured. They call it a terrorist attack. Why not a hate crime? It is not immaterial that these bodies were queer and mainly brown. I want hate there in what we call this thing. I update my status: I don't want to pray for the dead or their families. I don't want to thank the police for their courage. I want to pass a fucking law that prohibits the sale of assault weapons.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by Carlos Motta

"Queerness is a political force powered by anger."

Queerness is an unstoppable force powered by dreams of survival. Queer is a language of freedom from systemic oppression. Queer lives hardened by violence: familial prejudice, bullying at school and work, exhaustively discriminatory institutions. Yet we carve spaces to cope and thrive. We build dissenting forms of living. We construct futures that resist the suffocating norms of the mainstream.

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art : comment

We Are Orlando

by David Everitt Howe

On June 12, 2016, at just after 2 AM, Omar Mateen entered Orlando's Pulse nightclub—the city’s biggest LGBT club—and opened fire, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. I, like many, awoke the next morning to loved ones marking themselves “safe” on social media. This is a really unsettling thing. While the massacre—now the nation’s worst—was in Orlando, it could've been Boiler Room or Eastern Bloc here in New York, or anywhere really. You can be shot anywhere, at any time. And as a gay man, the attack feels personal. It's difficult to put words to it.

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literature : interview

Dorthe Nors

by Lauren LeBlanc

"The adjective is just something we put in front of beings or places to tie them to the ground or lift them to the sky."

To Americans, Scandinavian literature in recent years has been synonymous with crime novels. Incidentally, the popularity of books such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced fiction in translation to thousands of readers who might not have otherwise encountered it. Writer Dorthe Nors found herself translating these novels before going on to publish her own work—fiction which is playful and dark in turn. But where Scandinavian crime fiction employs psychological strategy to probe a wide range of human depravity within the genre, Nors in no way conforms to this or any other literary standard. She experiments with form as a means to explore the rich inner lives of her characters. There's great humor and unflinching pathos in her examination of modern life in all of its absurdity and loneliness. She skewers our relentless need to be connected. Her story collection Karate Chop was published in 2014, and a collection of her novellas, So Much for That Winter, is now available from Graywolf Books.

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music : interview

Michael Morley & Alan Licht

"Oh no, this is sounding too beautiful, too seamless, and too much like it was planned. I have to unravel it."

Last December I spotted a surprising new release by Michael Morley, Moonrise—surprising because it wasn't credited to his usual solo alias of Gate, but also because of Michael's description of the contents: "After thirty years of playing the acoustic guitar in private for no good reason, I decided to record the activity." Just a month earlier, my own first-ever acoustic guitar album, Currents, had come out, which also documented a practice not previously shared with the public.

Both of us are known as noisy electric guitarists: Michael as a member of the long-running New Zealand underground rock trio The Dead C, and myself in various experimental and indie rock settings. We've been acquainted since the early '90s via his Dead C bandmate Bruce Russell, who released one of my previous solo albums on his Corpus Hermeticum label, and Lee Ranaldo, with whom we've both collaborated. I was intrigued that we had each "unplugged," and wanted to talk to Michael about our respective routes to acoustic music. As it happened, a Gate “disco” album, semi-ironically titled Saturday Night Fever, followed just after Moonrise. Given my own 2001 deconstruction of Donna Summer's "Dim All The Lights," this too seemed to merit further discussion.

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art : portfolio

Portfolio

by Baseera Khan

"One actively is olived, one actively becomes a desired color, desired manufactured ethnicity."

Personally-recorded conversations, emblematic artifacts, diplomas, college lecture mini-cassettes, academic texts, vinyl and Bollywood mixtapes, clothing, expired identification cards, empty billfolds, and torn family photographs from my father's migration to the US in 1973. These materials often lack essential information, which become unmoored along with the displacement of its person. Literature and music are used to form and fill in narrative. Emotional testimonies.

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literature : review

Visible Men

by Paul Devlin

"A thousand clinics could not cure the sense of unreality that haunts Harlem as Harlem haunts the world."

Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem, which accompanies an exhibition now on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, collects and contextualizes one of the most significant archival finds of mid-century American culture: their hitherto lost 1948 collaboration—an essay by Ellison with photographs by Parks that offers a gritty panorama of Harlem life. Foreshadowing each man's achievements in subsequent decades, the book also reproduces and explores Parks's interpretive photo spread of Ellison's Invisible Man for Life magazine in 1952.

Parks was also an accomplished writer, and Ellison was also a professional photographer—a curiously symmetrical pairing that undoubtedly adds dimension to this reconstruction. They knew how to communicate, and Ellison even printed from Parks's negatives, which is how some prints ended up among his papers. At the time of this collaboration, Parks and Ellison—born in 1912 and 1913, in Fort Scott, Kansas and Oklahoma City, respectively—were running in parallel, both accomplished journeymen in the fields in which they'd find the most success. They'd both had years of significant achievement to look back on, but were still scrambling for steady traction. By 1952, both had achieved national recognition and prominence that would never dissipate. The book straddles that liminal moment when both failure (or at least frustration) and success looked equally possible.

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literature : first proof

Late Saturday to Early Sunday

by Olga Tokarczuk

Translated by Jennifer Croft

God created drugs with an addendum, a few minutes after midnight on Saturday night—in other words, on Sunday, when he wasn't supposed to be doing anything anymore, for the work of creation had reached its end. Thus it might be said that God's creation of narcotics was a violation of both law and order.

And the fact that he was tired after his six-day project is hardly an excuse.

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art : portfolio

Portfolio

by Sebastian Black

"It felt like a thought. That's something."

For whatever reason, I thought it would be nice to make some black paintings. Then when I was in Berlin I saw an x-ray of an old, old painting. The image was very dark and its circumference was peppered with pale imprints of the little nails used to pin the canvas into place.

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literature : interview

Daniel Saldaña París

by Ottessa Moshfegh

"I feel ignored and doomed to anonymity, but free to do whatever I want within the sacred space of literature."

I met Daniel Saldaña París last fall and soon discovered that we probably descended from the same galaxy; our imaginations have traveled a similar celestial pathway down into this mysterious shitstorm called "life on Earth." I'm not afraid of being completely grandiose and arrogant around Daniel. He's a generous friend and understands what it means to be overwhelmed by one's own growth, and devastated and entertained by the limitations of the idiots all around. It's important to have at least one friend like this.

This interview was conducted over email rather formally alongside a more personal correspondence. "All my appetites are on the rise lately. I want to eat, drink, and fuck all day. I think it may be from overexercising," he wrote. "Everyone is a slave. I am retreating from the brainwashed society. The only way for me to spiritual freedom is celibacy and daily purge of delusion," I wrote back. So, it's like that between us.

Daniel is from Mexico and writes in Spanish. I don't read Spanish, so I haven't read much of his work. His first novel, Among Strange Victims, was recently translated into English by Christina MacSweeney. As I read it, I felt I was witnessing a great performance. It reminded me a little of young Mozart showing off at the emperor's golden harpsichord, giggling and improvising variations on Salieri's welcome march, startling all the wigged and powdered Viennese stiffs. And I sensed something desperate and inflamed in the writing, too, as though the author assumed all along that nobody would ever read his book. That's probably what I like most about it—the cocky, indulgent, nihilistic virtuosity.

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art : interview

Jamian Juliano-Villani

by Samuel Jablon

"I'm not trying to make post-Internet paintings. What the fuck is post-Internet? It's life."

Jamian Juliano-Villani does not paint a nice picture; there's something haunting and dark to her work that I can't pinpoint. Vulnerability, trauma, and humor are all on display. At her 2015 exhibition Crypod at JTT, her paintings' punchy and unresolved narratives left me hanging. Unable to grasp the whole story, what I was able to grasp seemed fucked.

A few months ago Juliano-Villani and I sat down in her studio and had a conversation. We discussed how nice paintings are formulaic—caught up in skill, craft, and technique. Hers are a mix of emotion and intuition. She makes decisions necessary to her narratives, which are like a series of childhood nightmares.

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film : interview

Athina Rachel Tsangari

by Giovanni Marchini Camia

"It's not really subversion, it's catching something before it becomes what we're accustomed to."

The 2010 release of Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari's second feature, marked the high point of the Greek Weird Wave set off the previous year by Yorgos Lanthimos's Dogtooth. With Tsangari producing Dogtooth and Lanthimos producing as well as acting in Attenberg, the pair became the wave's de facto poster children—even if, as is the case with most such categorizations, the filmmakers themselves vehemently opposed the idea of a movement. Lanthimos went on to direct increasingly large-scale films with relative regularity—his latest, The Lobster, features international stars like Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, and Rachel Weisz—whereas Tsangari disappeared from the spotlight to some degree. Apart from her short film The Capsule, which made the festival rounds in 2012, she mostly collaborated on others' projects, for example co-producing Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, where she also appeared in a minor acting role.

It was a very welcome surprise when last year's Locarno Film Festival announced that Tsangari's Chevalier would screen in the main competition. Very little information was revealed prior to the premiere and the press kit only consisted of a rulebook for "a fantastic strategic game for two or more male players," containing cryptic guidelines like: "Excessive use of adverbs, -5 points. Stiff hard-on, +2 points. Overblinking, -40 points." As it transpired, these pertained to the game invented and played by Chevalier's protagonists, six wealthy men vacationing on a yacht out at sea. The boat functions as a huis clos within which the men engage in a series of absurd contests, exposing and exploiting each other's insecurities and vulnerabilities as they try to ascertain who amongst them is "The Best At Everything In General."

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music : interview

Ohal

by Jesse Ruddock

"It's like bouncing ideas back and forth with a friend, but the friend is you."

Ohal is a Brooklyn-based pianist, composer, and recording engineer for whom music is rule of the bone. Born and raised in Ashkelon, Israel, an ancient seaport town tucked into sand dunes on the Mediterranean coast, she was introduced to the piano as a child and rigorously trained in classical performance. At seventeen, prompted by a runaway affection for the French Surrealists, she left Israel for France, determined to practice new and non-traditional forms of music. Onward to Paris with no plan, she carried only a knapsack and a shrimpy MT-205 Casiotone keyboard.

After a decade of collaborations with pop bands and visual artists, Ohal has just released her first two solo projects: Cancelled Faces, her Berlinale-acclaimed score to Lior Shamriz's film noir of the same title, and Acid Park, an eight-movement electronic suite. Ohal's sound palette is partly handmade on her own synthesizers and theremins, and it brims with sounds ranging from basement experiments to the Baroque. Her melodies beguile and uplift, like puzzles that don't want solving, revealing themselves most fully through a cyclical listening experience. This experience had me, with my headphones on, hard-caught and missing subway stops.

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literature : first proof

Horizontal Bar

by Benjamin Fondane

A cinepoem—introduced by Leonard Schwartz.

What needs to be understood about the following text is that Benjamin Fondane wanted it to disappear. Let me explain.

Benjamin Fondane was born in 1898 in Romania, the second child of a Jewish family of German descent. At the time when his poems first appeared in Romanian in the avant-garde literary reviews of Bucharest and his native Iasi, Fondane believed that poetry represented "the sole reason for being to persevere in being" and that "only poetry could succeed where morality and metaphysics had failed." But by the early '20s poetry as it existed (after the war years) seemed as much a lie to him as everything else, and his belief in an aesthetic justification of the universe crumbled. In a statement in which much of his later writing and thought is already prefigured, Fondane wrote of this break that "dans la nuit, jai commence a crier sans mots"—"in the middle of the night, I began to cry, without words." From this point forward Fondane's abiding interests would be the absurd and the contradiction between human liberty and all forms of rational thought and language.

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art : portfolio

Patrick Angus in Arkansas

"A kind of home museum, starting with the garage."

Patrick Angus was a New York City-based realist painter of the city's homosexual milieu, who was active in the 1970s and '80s; he's perhaps most known for his depictions of bathhouse and porn cinema interiors—such as the Gaiety Theater—crowded with men cruising, hooking up, or lounging. But there are numerous other works, too, that are less sexually charged and more in the vein of sketch-like sitting portraits. Painting in a somewhat Primitive style, there's something a little Rousseau about them, but they pop with color.

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