Daily Postings
art : interview

Leah Beeferman

by Lucas Blalock

Drawing, the digital, technique.

Leah and I met a number of years ago in New York, possibly at the LMCC Workspace residency, or maybe somewhere before that. I remember her work at the time feeling like vector drawings or very lo-fi computer generated images. I was interested in them in a systems or process way more than in a pictorial way, which seemed to be what the works were asking for. They had a foot in science (they still do), and they read like information. In the time since, we‘ve seen each other periodically but never really had an occasion to talk about the work. Last May, we met up at a two-person show at Fridman Gallery in New York, in which Leah was participating along with Stephen Vitiello. As we walked through the show, I got really excited about the implications of her new work as a model for thinking through a number of contemporary bugbears, particularly regarding our interface with screens and screen-based pictures. As works for the wall, these extremely glossy metallic photographic prints were adroitly challenging basic terms of description. Were they photographs? Or were they screens made more static and material? Leah uses the computer as a drawing tool in the classic sense, as an extension of the hand rendering the spaces of the world, which really resonated with me.

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music : interview

Damon & Naomi

by Tobias Carroll

Silent film, Oulipian lyrics, and keeping it all together.

By any standard, the music made by Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang (as Damon & Naomi) has achieved a remarkably high level of consistency. From their 1992 debut More Sad Hits to this year’s Fortune, the duo has tapped into a beatific sense of melancholy, constantly finding new expressions and refinements of their sound. Throw in the work they did as two-thirds of Galaxie 500, and that winning streak extends even further back in time. The duo has also maintained Exact Change, a small press dedicated to surreal and experimental literature; they’ve also been running their own record label, 20|20|20, for the last ten years.

Both Krukowski and Yang also work in creative disciplines outside of music. Krukowski released several volumes of prose poetry and has written astutely about the current state of the music industry for the likes of Pitchfork. And Yang’s distinctive photography led her to work in film. She recently directed a series of music videos as well as the short film for which Fortune acts as a soundtrack.

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art : portfolio
music : interview

Neil Michael Hagerty

by Gary Canino

Faux reunion shows, B-sides, new-age garage music, and packing albums to the brim.

Neil Michael Hagerty’s creative output over the past thirty years is a tangled and winding road, to say the least. If you were to divide it into three acts, you could start with his membership in the Washington DC scuzz-rock outfit Pussy Galore, famed for their own version of Exile on Main Street, in which they threw the Stones double album into a musical blender and produced a “covers” record that is a true descent into the maelstrom. It wasn’t Neil’s idea, nor was it his band. Then there was the undeniable, meteoric rock n’ roll odyssey that is Royal Trux, Hagerty’s partnership with Jennifer Herrema. The flagship Drag City band, they later signed an infamous multi-million dollar deal with Virgin in the wake of a post-Nirvana indie feeding frenzy. The Trux produced some of the most confrontational, beautiful, hot-shit rock n’ roll records ever committed to tape. Each record—whether the patterned chaos of Twin Infinitives, the roaming free-boogie of Cats and Dogs, or the “accessibility” of the post-major label Accelerator—demonstrated a complex and meticulous deconstruction of the American “rock” canon, if not the entire genre itself. And, against all odds, Royal Trux will return for at least one occasion this August in Los Angeles.

But, one must look to the future and live in the present. After the implosion of Royal Trux in 1999, Hagerty released the solo records Neil Michael Hagerty and Plays That Good Old Rock and Roll, two spiritually shaking albums in the mode of Link Wray’s Three Track Shack run. Breaking from the Trux mold, both albums cathartically diverge from the strange continuity Royal Trux had developed. They are something entirely new, and are all the more compelling for it. This paved the way for The Howling Hex, Hagerty’s main musical outfit for the past decade. In his own words, “Royal Trux is the long haul, and the Howling Hex is something that cannot be destroyed.” The Hex is just empirically there—records of harmolodic blitz were released at a lightning clip, with sporadic (and not-to-be-missed) live shows popping up across the US every year or so.

In the prolific decade since the inception of Howling Hex, Hagerty has also released full-length novels, comic books, narrated audio books, resurrected a recreation of “Royal Trux” with new band members, gone on extensive tours, produced records for Bill Callahan and Hebronix, and most recently, started other potent acts such as Dan’l Boone and the Hagerty-Toth Band.

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film : interview

Masha Tupitsyn

by Charity Coleman

Radical intimacy, technological estrangement, and hyphen as psychic portal.

I once knew a projectionist who carried a notebook with him to every single screening he attended. In that notebook, he would document the film’s format, running time, the quality of the print (including sloppy splices—he refused to watch digital projection), and he always sat in the same area of the theatre. He filled his notebooks with thousands of films. It was a lesson in devotion, a gesture of love: even if he hated the film, he still archived its anatomy. The passivity of “moviegoing” is turned on its head by such active listening, active viewing. Similarly, Masha Tupitsyn’s Love Sounds is a visual-aural dissection that draws the viewer into a more discerning, engaged perceptual experience.

As a meticulous and unflinching archive, its numbers are impressive. The final part of Tupitsyn’s immaterial trilogy, Love Sounds is 24 hours long and comprised of more than 1,500 love-related audio clips from films spanning 85 years (1930s– present). The only images are of a black screen with white titles denoting subject matter. The other two parts of the trilogy are LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film (Zero Books, 2011) and Love Dog (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013).

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music : interview

Circuit des Yeux & Bitchin Bajas

Barbecues, Night Train, and La Monte Young.

Haley Fohr and I first met in the summer of 2010 in Chicago, where she played one of our “Bitchpork” festivals in Little Village. She kept coming back to the city to play and eventually moved here in the fall of 2012. We started hanging out more and have become close friends. I've had the pleasure of working with her on the Circuit Des Yeux records Portrait, Overdue, and In Plain Speech, out now. I've watched Haley grow in her music, personality, and spirit in the best way over the last few years. We recently met up during a beautiful Chicago sunset in Chinatown’s Ping Tom Park with a bottle of Chilean wine and a joint to talk about our upcoming shows, records, how long they can sometimes take, and making music like its a painting.

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art : interview

Dena Yago

by Marie Heilich

Care and control ​of the social and self.

Dena Yago began working primarily in writing, suggesting poetry as a place where relationships between objects and images could be easily mapped, without sacrificing the richness and precision of language. In 2011, she debuted a book of poems alongside an exhibition at Tomorrow Gallery (Then in Toronto; now in New York). The exhibition, titled ESPRIT, consisted of high-resolution scanned images of products associated with self-care, such as fruits, tea, and fish oil capsules. A poem from the book, also titled ESPRIT, describes a body caught within a cycle of self-care and resignation. It begins:

Aporia in love

Aporia in a bouquet of flowers that smell

Do these smell correctly or am I the one that

stinks?

And ends:
What am I? Dead meat?

As aside—I am so dead meat

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film : interview

John Pirozzi

by Steve Macfarlane

Recovering the history of Cambodia’s sound.

“We were like a blank piece of paper. When they tell you to sing, you just sing.” So says chanteuse/genocide survivor Chhom Charvin of life under the Khmer Rouge in John Pirozzi's Don't Think I've Forgotten, a spellbinding survey of Cambodia’s lost era of psychedelia-infused lounge rock and roll. Pirozzi’s film is enamored of a music that never got a chance to take off internationally, but it’s also sober and methodical in its analysis of the circumstances that led to its demise—collecting firsthand accounts from dozens of survivors and artists with dashes of colorful concert footage, album covers, and Technicolor studio performances.

What initially seems standard-issue about the film soon betrays a high watermark of investigative journalism, with individual relationships between artists mapped across a sequence of agonizingly tense years as a Nixon Administration-backed coup (led by prime minister Lon Nol) deposes Cambodia’s heretofore god-king Sihanouk. A former French colony still young in its era of independence, the staunchly neutral Cambodia would soon open itself up for American intervention, and it's here—following the coup, and Nixon's illegal bombings just over the Vietnamese-Cambodian border—that the Khmer Rouge found an opportunity to topple Lon Nol’s government.

Among the 1.7 million people killed by the regime, iconic musicians like Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea didn’t merely vanish into the death camps; their albums, films, and personal effects were destroyed in an attempt to rub out the country’s postcolonial heritage. The scene was crushed, their friends and colleagues sentenced to labor in agrarian camps, disguising themselves as farmers and laborers. More than a few of those veterans live to tell the tale in this film, while the music—already plenty ethereal in its own right—takes on a tragic, retroactive poetry. These are the songs of a generation allocated exactly one brief moment on the world stage, rendered both haunting and quotidian in Pirozzi's film—which is equal parts heartbreaking elegy and long-overdue restoration. Plus, the tunes are catchy as hell.

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music : interview

Sam Prekop & Zak Prekop

One billion tiny dots, a modular synthesizer, and Japanese ceramics.

A few months before its release, Sam and I listened to The Republic, his new solo album outside of his work with The Sea and Cake, as we drove in his car from Chicago to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to see our dad‘s exhibition of photographs at the Kohler Arts Center. He insisted that we listen to the music loud. We listened, chatted, and joked as we drove past tan, November farmland.

The Republic is a collection of flickering fields, shifting textures, and tone patterns that sound like a telephone dialed in a dream. It was made on an analog synthesizer that Sam has been assembling and customizing over the past few years. The first half, or side A, if you're listening to the record, was composed as a soundtrack to a video work, also called The Republic, by the artist David Hartt. The album is the latest instance of my older brother‘s influence over my own aesthetic education, which began with Christmas and birthday gifts of records and art books that continue to form the foundation of my interests.

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literature : interview

Suzanne Scanlon

by Kate Zambreno

Index as fiction, mess as virtue.

I first met Suzanne Scanlon just under a decade ago, both of us in a small conference room filling out forms for adjunct teaching gigs at an arts school in Chicago. I remember looking at this composed, smiling woman in that yearning kind of way, as I was longing for female friendship, especially with other writers. We were both, as I was later to learn, there to teach literature and writing, but I don’t think we had a conversation about it then. Being a writer wasn’t something either of us announced. I really met her, I think, through her writing, as she confessed to me several years later that she kept a blog (I had started one, too). I remember reading entries on her blog that became drafts for her book Promising Young Women and being completely struck by this intimate and searching voice, this memory project, and also a library of a mind inhaling and referencing literature voraciously, as if it was a crucial life force. It was through Suzanne’s blog and our correspondence that I began to feel a sense of community as a writer. I felt this same admiration and kinship reading Her 37th Year: An Index (Noemi Press, 2015), her fictional essay of a life and a marriage.

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film : interview

Frédéric Tcheng

by Paul Dallas

Haute couture, vérité documentary, and the ghost of Christian Dior.

The histories of fashion, art, and film often intersect in unexpected ways. I was reminded of this recently while watching Les enfants terribles, Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1952 film adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s classic novel about devious siblings immersed in a private world of games, role-playing, and self-destruction. It’s a strange, dark parable of creativity and alienation wrapped in Melville’s stylish production. And notably, the film’s opulent costumes were created by Christian Dior, the preeminent romantic post-war designer.

Admittedly, his name might have slipped by unnoticed in the credits had I not also recently seen Frédéric Tcheng’s new documentary Dior and I. Tcheng’s film, which details the creation of Raf Simons’s first couture collection for the House in 2012, is as much an absorbing ticking-clock vérité as it is a moody meditation on time and transference. Throughout, Tcheng artfully deploys archival footage of Dior, often slowed down and paired with an intimate voice-over narration taken from the designer’s 1952 memoir. The effect is haunting and emotional—which is appropriate, given that Dior and I is essentially a ghost story.

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Hyperbolics

by Valeria Luiselli

An excerpt from The Story of My Teeth

Our first lot is a piece in a somewhat deteriorated state. Yet, considering its antiquity, the overall condition is good; one might even say excellent. Significant flattening of the point leads to the supposition that the original owner, Mr. Plato, talked and ate continuously. He was five feet five inches tall and thirty-three and a half inches broad; he was of medium height but robust, with a fighter’s build. He had a long, cotton-woolly beard, light brown in color; thick hair of the same hue and texture. Mr. Plato flaunted the conventional fashions of the day and wore his toga loose, without a belt. Neither did he wear sandals.

Mr. Plato once made a comparison between the period of dentition and a man falling in love: “In this state, the soul enters into effervescence and irritation; and this soul, whose wings are just beginning to develop, can be compared to a child whose gums are inflamed and enervated by its first teeth.” Lovely, don’t you think?

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literature : interview

Tim Parks

by Scott Esposito

The international novel, mistranslation, and blogging in print.

At some point in 2011, everybody I knew in the international literary community was suddenly talking about the columns Tim Parks was regularly filing at the NYRBlog. At long last, here was a columnist at a major periodical actively engaging with the questions that most mattered to us: What was this new globalized novel genre taking shape right before our eyes? How can we best understand the psyche of that schizophrenic entity known as the Nobel Prize jury? And why in God’s name do the Germans like Jonathan Franzen so much?

“Looks like Parks is working his way toward a book,” one of my friends commented back then, and he was right. This spring NYRB Classics releases Where I’m Reading From, some 240 pages of lightly edited and meticulously arranged postings from Parks’s four plus years as a blogger. I’m as skeptical as anyone of collections of pre-published material—particularly when it’s work that just happens to be sitting around for free online—but the writing in Where I’m Reading From really does take on new dimensions as a printed, choreographed book. Arranged into four linked sections, these pieces deal with what the novel has become in the 21st century, how globalization has impacted it, the authors most relevant to it, and where Parks himself fits into this equation, both as a reader and a writer.

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art : interview

Todd Cronan

by Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

“Here are some marks, what do they mean?”

I don’t write book reviews very often, and I think it may be the case that the only other comparable in length to my review of Todd Cronan’s Against Affective Formalism: Matisse, Bergson, Modernism may have been on Derrida’s Truth in Painting, back in the seventies. I think this is a very important work, for artists as well as art theorists, and I hope it will be widely and carefully read. Cronan is an associate professor of art history at Emory University, and in addition to Against Affective Formalism, he’s written a book about Matisse for Phaidon, and articles on Brecht, Adorno, Merleau-Ponty, Santayana, Georg Simmel, Paul Scheerbart, Paul Valéry, and Richard Neutra. Brecht and Valéry are especially important to what he has to say, i.e., the political as well as the poetic are simultaneously of concern.

Cronan’s book, in my view, is most important for what he says about Matisse, but its argument also goes far beyond the specifics discussing that particular artist might involve. Cronan has revived the idea of intention, in response—at least in part—to what he shows to be a final, or at least extreme, eruption of what a determined anti-intentionalism can cause. He shows that this has led the most well-known followers of Deleuze—and Deleuze himself, at least in respect to what he has to say directly about art—to see movement and other qualities in Matisse and others to be neither more nor less than an opportunity for missing the point altogether. Philosophers are notorious for skimping on description in order to use what they’ve got to get to what they really care about as quickly as possible, Hegel’s impatience with Kant’s “ratiocination” about the sublime being a notorious example, and T.J. Clark’s lovely description of two paintings by Poussin a monumental and convincing argument against being too eager to take refuge in generalities rather than seeking to fully grasp specifics. This has caused a fuss amongst the eminent about which those who care may have more to say. I am more excited by how, as an alternative to leaving the work as soon as possible, Cronan gives us a thorough treatment of Matisse’s context, large as well as local, and the best approach to what Matisse gets painting to do that I have read. Also, it's by far the best treatment of what difficult art might involve that I’ve seen his generation produce. This is an approach to art—especially but not only to painting—that includes how the work acts in the world. This is how and why it involves Brecht and the political, and questions that follow from, and accompany, those sorts of questions are among the ones that we thought we might pursue here.

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dance : interview

Miguel Gutierrez & Stacy Szymaszek

Syllable, step, and surplus.

In anticipation of The Poetry Project’s annual Spring Thing on May 9th, dancer, choreographer, writer, and featured performer Miguel Gutierrez sits down Stacy Szymaszek, poet and director of The Poetry Project, to talk about the function of the somatic in writing, the potency of action, excess, and Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A.

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music : interview

C. Spencer Yeh

by Michael Barron

Smacking noises, violins, and skewed pop experiments.

At a recent show at New York City’s The Kitchen performance space, the artist, musician, and filmmaker C. (Chihfu) Spencer Yeh performed a set of violin and vocal work, the latter drawn largely from his newest record, Solo Voice I – X, out later this year from Primary Information. Yeh began by violently whipping his face back and forth, blowing into a mic as his lips passed by—producing a sound like a blade cutting through air—then following up with a rapid shaking of his head. The single sword had become many; I worried for his safety. The performance then settled into a flurry of looped smacking noises (also originating from his mouth, or more accurately, from behind the teeth) over which he tapped, taunted, and teased a violin with a bow.

The release of Solo Voice I – X isn't the only thing happening for Yeh this year. His video work was recently picked up for representation by Electronic Arts Intermix, which he celebrated by hosting an evening of his film shorts. In March, he performed in Cairo and Athens as part of an international contemporary art exhibition. And later this fall, Yeh will produce and show work as an artist-in-residence for the acclaimed time-based art organization ISSUE Project Room.

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theater : interview

600 HIGHWAYMEN

by Ben Gansky

The opposite of transportation.

Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone have created performances together under the name 600 HIGHWAYMEN since 2009. I first encountered their work in the summer of 2012, when I saw This Great Country, their interpretation of Death of a Salesman, at the River to River Festival in Lower Manhattan. Presented in a gutted department store, This Great Country was an exactingly contemporary revision of Arthur Miller’s play, in a way that was deeply and almost shockingly generous. I had never seen a show with a cast so diverse (in terms of age, ethnicity, bodies, voices) and so attuned to each other and to their audience. The performance felt like a portrait, not of the individual alluded to in Miller’s title, but of the nation referenced by 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s name for this piece. The presence and attention of the performers (seeing each other, seeing the spectators) seemed to deal directly with the reality of the situation—actors in front of an audience—rather than attempting to camouflage or mediate that relationship.

When I first spoke with Browde and Silverstone about this conversation, they asked if rather than conduct a one-time interview, they could instead write their responses over the course of several weeks or months. Since the success of their piece, The Record (a sold-out hit at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival in 2014, now touring in Europe), they had given a succession of interviews in which the writers chose to focus on the casting of their shows, and specifically on what had been labeled the casting of “non-performers” (Browde: “How can they be non-performers? If they’re performing, they’re performers!”)

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film : interview

Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman

by Pamela Cohn

A new documentary celebrates the great filmmaker Ousmane Sembène.

“It is good to be at Cannes, but I wish Africa would create something of its own. We should not be eternal guests. It is up to us to create our own values, to recognize them and to carry them throughout the world. We are not alone in the world, but we are our own sun. I do not define myself relative to Europe. In the darkest of darkness if the other does not see me, I do see myself. And surely do I shine!” – Ousmane Sembène

As a seventeen-year-old in Senegal, Samba Gadjigo didn’t really know what it was to be African. He only knew that he wanted to be as French as possible, to emulate everything French that was around him so accurately that he would, eventually, be able to bury everything about himself that was African.

Then he discovered a book called God’s Bits of Wood by a fellow Senegalese writer called Ousmane Sembène. Sembène would go on to become one of the most important film directors to come out of the African continent. And with the help of the young and star-struck Gadjigo—who was then a professor in the French department at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts where he still teaches today—Sembène’s legacy continues to live on.

Sembène was born in 1923 in Casamance in southern Senegal and worked as a laborer since the age of fourteen. In 1944, he was drafted into the French army, an experience that deepened his understanding of colonization. It served as the basis for his feature films, Emitai and Camp de Thiaroye. After World War II, Sembène moved to Marseilles where he worked on the docks, taught himself to read and write, and dove into studying the writings and teachings of Karl Marx, Pablo Neruda, Jack London, Birago Diop, Richard Wright, and Ernest Hemingway. He became a writer as well, in French but also in his native dialect of Wolof. But the majority of the people he wanted to reach through his writing were illiterate in any language, so he turned to cinema and proceeded to tell magnificent stories over the course of the next fifty years of his life. First-time filmmakers Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo have spent the last seven years ensconced in a very delicate, and ultimately, finely balanced co-directing partnership to make the documentary film, SEMBÈNE!

Sembène completed his last film, Moolaadé, in 2004, working against every adversity, just like all his other films. Moolaadé is about female genital mutilation practices, and it made a star of its lead actress, Fatoumata Coulibaly, a woman who was herself circumcised as a little girl. Sembène made the film when he was eighty-two years old, almost entirely blind, and very frail. He died in 2007, just a few years later. The film was shot on 35mm in the middle of tropical Africa, and Samba Gadjigo was there to document it all.

Premiering as an official selection at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film is told through Gadjigo’s experiences and memories of his hero, mentor, and “uncle.” Gadjigo became colleague, biographer, and the fiery-tempered director’s most trusted confidant. The film offers an epic story of the master told through the very particular and intimate lens of his protégé.

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art : interview

Exterritory

by Talia Heiman

The space of politics.

Formed in 2009 by artists Maayan Amir and Ruti Sela, the Exterritory Project adopts the concept of extraterritoriality, taking it as an opportunity to reimagine the representational, political, and economic systems affected by nationalism. In the first iteration of the project, Amir and Sela projected video works made by Middle Eastern artists onto the white sails of boats navigating through the international waters of the Mediterranean. Since then, their work has taken many forms, including a number of interdisciplinary colloquia in various parts of the world, inviting artists, scholars, and students to explore notions of extraterritoriality. Their most recent video work Image Blockade (2015)—commissioned for the New Museum Triennial, Surround Audience—reacts to an open letter published in September 2014 by anonymous members of the elite Israeli military intelligence unit 8200, denouncing the surveillance practices used to gather information and exert control over Palestinians. Amir and Sela altered filmed interviews with the writers of the open letter that had originally been aired on national news programs and, in partnership with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, used MRI technology to capture the neurological responses of 8200 veterans as they watched these interviews, visualizing how bodies self-censor.

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film : interview

Nick Broomfield

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

“When you make these films you need to work very closely with people from the community. You’re only as good as your relationship with them.”

Over the course of twenty-five years, Lonnie Franklin may have murdered upward of one hundred women. Named as a suspect in the “Grim Sleeper” murders of South Central Los Angeles, he wasn't arrested until 2010. Further, this arrest happened almost by accident, and only when a computer's DNA match linked him to a possible twenty victims. Police put no effort into the case because the women being killed were poor, black, and mostly prostitutes. Had this happened in Beverly Hills, it would have probably made national news.

An official selection of the 2014 Telluride, Toronto, and New York film festivals, Nick Broomfield’s documentary Tales of the Grim Sleeper explores the impoverished neighborhood where these murders took place. Broomfield—director of Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2013)—is accompanied by his son and director of photography—Barney Broomfield—as he befriends men and women living in this community and attempts to reveal how these killings went unsolved for so long. Along the way, Broomfield exposes the prejudice and injustice that led police to flat-out ignore the cases (the LAPD refused to comment for the film). Police were even alleged to have used a slang term, NHI (no human involved), when a victim was a prostitute, drug addict, or gang member.

As Broomfield charges through the neglected LA neighborhood, he interviews those who knew Lonnie Franklin personally, including both his close friends and victims. In the tight-knit community, many are loathe to believe the well-liked Lonnie could have perpetrated such violence without their knowledge. But, as evidence mounts against him, everyone is forced to reconsider his involvement in dark deeds. The film reaches an emotional climax when Broomfield confronts Lonnie's son Chris, then speaks with individual women who were actually assaulted by Lonnie, but escaped.

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literature : interview

Michael Wiegers

by Peter Mishler

Fable and fact—an editor's perspective on the poetry and cult of Frank Stanford.

Frank Stanford was a prolific American writer who published several collections of poetry and left behind numerous unpublished works before his death at the age of twenty-nine. His poems have received attention through various posthumous editions, but What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford—just released by Copper Canyon Press—serves as the most complete and thorough survey of his work, now nearly forty years after his death. What About This deftly compiles both published and unpublished work, drafts, prose, an interview, ephemera, and excerpts from his 450-page poem The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You. In June, Third Man Books will release Hidden Water: From the Frank Stanford Archives, a companion collection of outtakes, alternates, and ephemera not included in What About This.

I first encountered Stanford’s poems as a student, through a loaned copy of an earlier selected poems. I was struck immediately by his obsessive and recursive image-making and idiomatic style; how he used the page to exorcise his head of symbols drawn from the speech and mise-en-scène of the American South in which he lived. As I began making my own poems, Stanford was an assurance for me that I could approach poetry as a means to define and redefine my own private symbology in a language both strange and everyday. I corresponded with Michael Wiegers, executive editor at Copper Canyon Press, editor of What About This, and co-editor of Hidden Water, to discuss these new editions of Stanford’s work.

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art : oral history

Stanley Whitney

by Alteronce Gumby

It gives me great honor to present BOMB Magazine’s Oral History of Stanley Whitney. Stanley is a New York based artist born and raised in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He studied art at various institutions, including Columbus College of Art and Design, Kansas City Art Institute, and Yale University. He is represented by TEAM Gallery in New York City, Nordenhake Galerie in Berlin, Christine König Galerie in Vienna, and Albert Baronian in Brussels. Stanley spends his time between New York City and Parma, Italy with his wife, the painter Marina Adams.

During the final year of my BFA at Hunter College, I was looking for Afro-American abstract painters. It was my subject of interest at the time. I wanted to know how contemporary Afro-American artists used abstraction and for what functions. Were they talking about identity, race, stereotypes, or politics in their work? After five years of studying art intensively, I arrived at the podium with a handful of names. Stanley Whitney was one of them.

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