BOMB 129, Fall 2014

The cover of BOMB 129

Moyra Davey, James Hoff, Claudia Rankine, Matthew Weinstein, Ben Lerner, Ariana Reines, Valeria Luiselli, Tyondai Braxton, Nicole Cherubini, Kevin Killian, Ugo Rondinone...

Aby Ngana Diop's Liital

by Boima Tucker

This is the type of record that will slap cultural essentialists in the face. Africa is ... gangsta-rap-sampling, digital-griot-pop-mbalax? You bet! If Aby Ngana Diop were alive today, surely she would be a star of the international touring circuit, turning heads with her talent for simultaneously presenting tradition, pop, and innovation. In her time, she was a star in her home country of Senegal, but her innovations came too soon to grab the attention of international audiences. Now, twenty years after this album was recorded, she is getting another chance to shine.

Chloé Griffin's Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller

by Pati Hertling

Late one night in the summer of 2002 or 2003, I was in Berlin, having just returned after six months in Paris. Friends told me of a woman I just had to meet, a bartender at Barbie Deinhoff’s. Barbie Deinhoff’s was always happening back then, packed with punks, drag queens, rockers, queers, and random tourists. I stepped into the bar and before me, Chloé Griffin was sitting in a swing over the bar, dressed in black patent leather high heels, ripped tights and super short jean cut-offs. Her blond bleached hair was growing out and you could see the black roots. She wore bright red lipstick and dark eyeliner around her eyes. She nimbly jumped off the swing and we were introduced. We have been friends ever since. Years later, when I learned of Chloe’s admiration for Cookie Mueller, I wasn’t surprised. Of course! The two were soul sisters.

It rebegins quietly, with a line
    from Alain Robbe-Grillet
that announces itself from time to time:
    “And now, in this place, my life, once more. . .

Brie Ruais

by James Trainor

It was a relationship that, from the outset, was not fated to last. She knew that. Brie Ruais had tended to her companion for weeks that summer—an unfired clay replica of Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647-52)—reclining in blissful repose, arrested between sensual pleasure, mystical “transverberation,” and death.

“You may have heard the sad news that John Chamberlain passed away last Wednesday morning. The Chamberlain family will host a public funeral this Friday, December 30th, beginning at 10:30 am at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. All are welcome; please come by if you can.” That was my only email this morning. His death became part of my life a week ago, when it was announced at the dinner I attended at which I spent the rest of the meal holding back my tears. Although I cannot say we were close friends, John’s art has brought much joy into my life.

Valeria Luiselli

by Jennifer Kabat

At the core of Luiselli’s two books now available in English—Faces in the Crowd, a novel, and Sidewalks, an essay collection—is an interest in cities and their fragmented representations in literature, maps, and GPS devices.

Ben Berlow

by Lanny Jordan Jackson

If something figurative appears in Berlow’s work, it comes from the haptic way he involves materials that surround him daily. He works almost exclusively with things that are in immediate grasp, and applies to them exquisite yet subtle plays with line, shape, and color— sometimes in reference to the surface itself, sometimes in reference to something imagined.

Tyondai Braxton

by Ben Vida

The two musicians discuss the use of hybridized generative systems, Stravinsky, hip-hop, and performing as switchboard operators in Braxton’s in-progress work HIVE.

Nicole Cherubini

by Sarah Braman

Cherubini describes her lush, material-based approach to clay and glaze as "baroque minimalism." Braman visited Cherubini’s Brooklyn Navy Yard studio as she prepared for her fall exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Somewhere on the crossroads of history they stood: the pillar of Salt and the pillar of Fire. They stood where the ancient Sphinx would later sit; and that was just as well; they were more ancient; the Sphinx was not the sole symbol poised on a crossroads.

9:43 pm
Latitude: 40° 44' 49.8336''
Longitude: -73° 59' 57.2208''

this was only the process that exposes the evening that
your intention jots itself down onto a specific location
a piece of tape this going into overdrive the subway
where we expect the evening to expand and where the
expectation categorizes the push—

The patron saint against temptation sits straight-backed in an Italian convent as if mortised into her chair, and she is dead, dead, dead. Her name is Saint Catherine of Bologna, and nuns have been lighting candles at her feet since Columbus asked Isabella for those ships.

Rainey Royal, in the reading room of the New York Public Library, peers at the photo in the book so closely she can smell the paper. Her shiny hair spills over the page. Saint Catherine is not just about temptation: She’s the patroness of artists, for Chrissake—just what Rainey needs. She thinks they could be sisters, 500 years apart. Rainey is an artist, and she embodies temptation.

“Accuracy, spontaneity, and mystery” are among the qualities Elizabeth Bishop said made for an outstanding experience with the best poems. The dozen finalists BOMB sent me to choose from all have these qualities, making it a thoroughly difficult and even painful job deciding. When I read and reread what wound up being Steve Dickison’s extraordinary poems from “Wear You to the Ball,” I found poetry that takes me the way I love to be taken to the place I want to be taken. It’s poetry you want to read at your funeral, it’s poetry you want placed in your casket or set ablaze in your pocket in the crematorium. There is not a more splendid way to live than with poems you want with you when you die.


In the few months before his story was to appear, he was treated differently at work and at his usual hangouts. The bartender at the White Horse Tavern, himself a yet unpublished novelist, called out his name when he entered the bar and had twice bought him a double shot of rye with a beer backer. He had changed in everyone’s eyes: He was soon to be a published writer.

Ben Lerner & Ariana Reines

For Lerner, Reines’s poems are "sites for irrational and transpersonal powers." Reines, in turn, thinks of Lerner’s new novel, 10:04, as "Time Regained retold as The Odyssey in a best of all possible worlds." Their banter touches on Whitman, poetic address, and "obliviating."

Matthew Weinstein

by Laurie Simmons

Weinstein elaborates on the sources behind his animated videos with Simmons, with whom he has previously collaborated. These range from telemarketing, Brecht, entertainment, and what Weinstein calls the "national pastime" of self-absorption.

Andra Ursuta

by Veronika Vogler

I first encountered Andra Ursuta’s work at her show Solitary Fitness, at Venus Over Manhattan, in New York City, in 2013. Walking into the gallery, the first sensory experience I had was a loud, constant pounding.

Moyra Davey

by Elisabeth Lebovici

Prior to Burn the Diaries, her exhibition at the ICA Philadelphia this fall, Davey exchanged thoughts with Paris-based writer Lebovici on autobiographical writing, the formal potential of aerograms, and scatological confessionalism.

Allen Ruppersberg's Sourcebook: Reanimating the 20th Century

by Lauren Mackler

Reanimating the 20th century ... is the second in a series of Sourcebooks published by Independent Curators International. This edition is on Allen Ruppersberg. Or rather, on his sources, his collections, the materials mediated into his work, and, most importantly, the selection of ephemera that he has composed for this particular volume. Ruppersberg is a collector, a purist—knowledgeable and thorough—but what makes this book unique as an insight into his process is that, as artist, he has been asked to be editor.

Carroll Dunham's Note to Self (Drawings 1979–2014)

by Chris Chang

Imagine an alternate universe—a dimension not only of sight and sound but also of mind: a Q-tip stuck beneath the tongue of the Wonder Wart-Hog provides necessary evidence. We can now verify a genetic connection between said hog and the Square Mule. (WTF?) Alternate art history proceeds thus: the pig in question is the cartoon creation (circa 1962) of Gilbert Shelton who is, of course, a ZAP Comix godfather. Square Mule is the title of a 2006 Carroll Dunham painting. In it, a cartoon-like individual, naked from the waist down, bends over to insert a pistol into “her” anus. To complicate matters, this mule is arguably a hermaphrodite.

Fantasy Football Psychoanalysis

by Sina Najafi

Some time in late June, in the middle of the World Cup, a friend asked me an apparently simple question: "If you could psychoanalyze one football player, who would it be?" Overwhelmed, I ducked the question, responding that we have already made our pets neurotic and would do better to leave our sport stars alone. I went to bed thinking about the question, though, and I woke up the next morning with a road map of sorts for three different scenarios. With some trepidation, I’m now going to share my sleep-thinking/fantasy.

Disco Patrick & Patrick Vogt's Disco

by Nick Stillman

In the New York of a decade ago, the square inches of blue eye shadow, lip-disappearing moustaches, and ludicrously suggestive grapefruits dotting the pages of Soul Jazz Record Publishing’s history of disco record covers were still easily plucked from dollar bins and discarded curbside stacks. Not so much anymore. Artist Adrian Piper wrote in the 1983 essay “Notes on Funk II” that the genre and its associated dance exacerbated white incomprehension of black American popular culture. This had been clear at least since 1979, when a local DJ emceed the promotional Disco Demolition Night event at Comiskey Park in racially polarized Chicago. Attendance heavily outweighed expectations. “Disco Sucks” banners were hung, records were dynamited, a mostly white mob charged the field, and a full-on riot ensued. It was “The Day That Disco Died.”

James Hoff

by Eli Keszler

For Hoff, distribution networks serve as creative agents. Musician Eli Keszler queries the artist and publisher of Primary Information on paintings based on viruses and syndromes, and also on his pop-leaning sound works.

Claudia Rankine

by Lauren Berlant

Rankine and Berlant parse the implications of having to maneuver everyday racism, as well as Rankine’s incisive choice of images for her new poetry book, Citizen: An American Lyric.

The Cahiers Series: Center for Writers & Translators, The American University of Paris

by Sarah Gerard

Translation as visitation. Translating silence, or the inability to translate silence. A word that does not want to be translated. Translation as story. Attempting to translate grief. Translation as unanswered letter to the dead. Translation as discovery, biography, or history. Invisible translator. Translation with seams, as weave, as warp or weft, as continuity via femininity. Translation as architecture, music, painting, or poetry. Translation as inevitable failure. Translation of the body, of text into movement or gesture. Translation as transportation, transformation, reformation, performance, puppetry. A translation scrambles the syntax of daily life.

BOMB 129
Fall 2014
The cover of BOMB 129