Portfolio by Daniel Lichtman

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

How would you know if you were the last man on earth?

Been walking the walk for the last thirty-five years being called an idiot, you know, being attacked, threats on my life, you know? I had a huge epiphany. Back in 2012, a number of problems that were just not possible to solve, you know? Bringing reports back that I’m a scout on two legs.

Sunday, nighttime …

The scout’s knife cuts two ways. There’s a new world out there that I just can’t be a part of. 2008, everybody who lost homes in the foreclosure crisis. New White Trash. All these people who got fucked out of jobs, fucked out of vacations. Two legs. Too many people who have been hypnotized that their food comes from a grocery store. It doesn’t come from the grocery store, it comes from Mother Earth!

The cranes have been destroyed, Building 4 is teetering. The computers that were there to run the cranes to make sure that you didn’t get contact have been destroyed and they’re going to be removed by hand within a couple of months because everybody knows the building is gonna fall over. The PC was the LSD of the 1990s. Nighttime, you know? Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.

Out West, you know? Oh baby I’m comin’ home. Summed it up in a speech I gave in Portland in 2011. On September the 11th. ClusterFukushima! Sunday, you know? Set and setting. Out West. I’d been looking for a dog, for a while now. They walked me through, they have kennels on both sides so you can look at them. You know, and all this loving talk from a woman waiting for a man to come home. “Fuck, baby, I’m on my way!” What a guy, what we all fantasize about, somebody really there, eager to see us. First kennel. Rags was the first on the left, he was a puppy.

Back out West. I was a cover singer, you know? In other words I sang somebody else’s music, you know? At the boathouse on the Sonta Monica Pier. I stood up at the mic and it came to the point where I sang it, you know. Baby I’m on my way, I’m on my way hooome. Like a Manhattan Transfer cut, 8 minutes, you know? It doesn’t seem to me that I’ve lost the fuckin’ plot. Seems to me I wrote this script a long fuckin’ time ago and it’s playin’ out allll right.

The puppy, he was all covered in mange, you know? And when I walked by his eyes locked with mine. He got up and stood on his hind legs, looking, then fell on his back, never losing contact, you know? The longer the island, the longer the shoreline, you know? Oh fuck, that’s my dog. I knew he was mine. He was the one for me.

But back then the only thing that was important to me was that I leave the place and all my relations to the world, clean. I come from a CIA family and there were attempts on my life, you know? I gave away what I could give away. Walking the walk. Paid off everyone I could pay off. Sunday, out West. Nighttime. I made sure that I was walking away leaving a place better than it was when I found it. Fuck baby, I’m on my way!

The scouts knife. Two legs. It’s like the solar cycles are ending. It’s like Chief Seattle said—not until you have killed the last fish, cut down the last tree and poisoned the last river will you discover that you cannot eat money. First kennel. Building 4. Two edges. How would you know if you were the last man on earth? How long before the sun comes back up?

New York and London based Daniel Lichtman uses performance and video to ventriloquize characters such as the outsider intellectual, amateur newscaster, spiritual tourist and parascientist. He embodies his characters’ social disposition, charisma and self-assurance in order to explore how knowledge is represented, and how this relates to structures of cultural appropriation, irony, sincerity, and intimacy. The text here was partially adapted from the VICE.com documentary Apocalypse, Man. Video clips come from his work Broadcasting from a Secret Underground Bunker—One million views, thanks for watching, recently performed at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK.

Recent and upcoming exhibitions include The Drawing Center, Exit Art, The Bronx Museum of Art, Chashama (solo) and Scaramouche, all in New York; the National University of Colombia, Bogota (solo); The Woodmill GP (solo), ICA, Flat Time House, and Tate Modern, all in London. He is currently participating in the Open Sessions residency at The Drawing Center.

For more information about Lichtman’s work, visit his website.

“O my body, make of me always a man who questions!”: Shikeith Interviewed by Jessica Lanay
An video still image of the face of a Black man covered in sweat while lying on the floor.

Photography, sculpture, installation, and performance that illuminate Black queer experience.

Finding the Right Wrong Tool: Cherrie Yu Interviewed by Vijay Masharani
Side by side images of two men wrestling in a ring next to two women wrestling in a sidewalk titled, Wrestling Study, by Cherrie You

Dance and movement that transcribe prior choreographies.

A Life Intrinsic to the Work: RAPHAEL MONTAÑEZ ORTIZ Reviewed by Jacob Korczynski
Cover Raphael Montanez Ortiz1

An overdue publication dedicated to the practice of the interdisciplinary artist, educator, and founder of El Museo del Barrio.