BOMB 138, Winter 2017

The cover of BOMB 138

Featuring interviews with Lynda Benglis, Roe Ethridge, Becca Blackwell, Antonio Campos, Robert Greene, Angie Keefer, Liz Magic Laser, Laura Kurgan, China Miéville, Michael Palmer, and Rosmarie Waldrop.

How to Tell a Story

by John Menick

Several years ago, I began reading books about how to write books. By that I mean books that instruct a reader how to write screenplays, thrillers, plays, even cookbooks and self-help books. These books do the hard work of distilling culture down to a finite set of rules. They have titles like Writing the Romantic Comedy and Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. You may have read one or two of them—though, unlike me, you might not admit it.

One afternoon during the Holy Month, I have that indistinct but unmistakable sensation that I am being followed. It first occurs in the broad vicinity of Empress Market, environs I know like the inside of my pocked thigh; once upon a time, I would routinely accompany Papa to the landmark to purchase meat & vegetables for the kitchen at the Olympus, clutching an extended finger, cloth bag slung over my shoulder.

Edmundo Paz-Soldán's Norte

by Jacqueline Loss

Set in what translator Valerie Miles calls a "space of the imagination," Edmundo Paz-Soldán's new novel, Norte, uncovers its characters' complicated relationships to expression and the trappings of readymade discourses. While some search for their norte, or direction, others are directionless and detached.

End Page

by Jessie Stead

Jessie Stead is a New York–based artist working with installation, cinema, music, collaboration, and other overlapping disciplines.


by Suha Traboulsi

Kassab Bachi, one of the most prolific Arab painters, has never exhibited in the Arts Club of Chicago. Yet three of his drawings were found on the backs of three framed artworks in the club’s storage. It remains unclear whether these were drawn by Marwan himself or by an anonymous friend, admirer, backer, critic, defamer, or other.

Right now, they (they being a company, unnamed) are at work on a new operating system. It will be completely intuitive, they say, so much so that it does away with the need for thought or reference. It will not be like anything else and yet will be eminently familiar.

A Familienaufstellung Performance

by Chloe Piene

Often translated as "Family Constellation," Familienaufstellung is a form of therapy developed in the 1990s by the German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger with roots in existential psychology, Gestalt psychology, and psychodynamic therapy.

Ellen Cantor's Magical Thinking

by Nicola Tyson

In the years before her untimely death, Ellen Cantor had produced a complex body of work spanning painting, sculpture, drawing, and especially film and video. Her work—an open expression of her own sexuality—faced censorship battles in both the UK and Switzerland in the 1990s.

Singing is prohibited in this café.
Torture is permitted in this café.

I'll have a double, thank you,
in ¾ time, Sister,

may I call you Sister, you
almond-eyed, unsmiling,

in this ever-changing light
that cloaks the feral world?

"I was afraid, for awhile, that I might kill someone. Everyone
does, at a distance. But I never killed anyone, though that was only
personally." (Alice Notley, "In the Pines," 2007)

One must think of, but finally, I had to agree, not walk around naked, not in body or spirit. Not write about, when what is a word, at the risk of disconnection, no longer ask. What it would take. Acknowledge the dark, though with dreams in color and. If still possible. Moist skin against the page.

Around certain clusters of the dead, almost magnetically, a vortex of opacity gathers in the record. Inexplicable small lies, a silent energy of secrets, traces of something hidden, "errors." Not the missing link (more data, thicker cloud) so much as a hidden Order.

Jibade-Khalil Huffman's STANZA

by Thom Donovan

In Killer of Sheep, Charles Burnett's 1977 film set in LA after the Watts riots, there is a scene you may recall: a group of friends sit in a car outside a liquor store; on the hood rests a can of beer, and the man in the passenger seat reaches through the empty windshield to sip from it. It's a stunning sight gag, as well as a nod to anti-illusionist theater. I was thinking of Burnett as I saw Jibade-Khalil Huffman's multimedia installation STANZA, which was recently on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Klaus Kertess (1940–2016)

Klaus was sensitive, smart, elegant, funny, and sweet. He was a unique man, and his departure has left a hole that will never be filled—for his friends and for the New York art community.

Terence Davies's A Quiet Passion

by Tan Lin

A Quiet Passion, Terence Davies's biopic about the poet Emily Dickinson, faces a problem typical of movies seeking to recreate the life of a literary figure: how to accommodate film to language, and, in particular, to Dickinson's dense, elliptical, and unconventionally punctuated and often abstract poetry.

Big Star's Complete Third

by Andrew Hultkrans

In rock-historical terms, Third recalls the Beach Boys' unfinished SMiLE, another Icarus-like attempt at artistic transcendence by a drugged-out genius at the end of his rope, belatedly released to the public.

Larissa Pham's Fantasian

by Ben Fama

I began having better sex in the weeks I read and reread Larissa Pham's debut novel, Fantasian, and if there is any justification for spending money on literature, that's got to be at the top of the list.

I'm a Swede. I want you to be aware of this from the start because this fact is responsible for the strangest episode of my life, which I want to tell you about now.

Alan Reid's Warm Equations

by Ted Dodson

The basic conceit of Warm Equations is that a book can abstract the space of conversation typically delimited in front of paintings, that the thematics of a painter's practice, in this case Alan Reid's, can be constellated through a chorus of related texts.

BOMB 138
Winter 2017
The cover of BOMB 138