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Archives for February 2022
C von Hassett and Rachel Reid Wilkie are, as they say, co-conspirators in all things – with heavy emphasis on spirit – which together they’ve been exploring since the day they met. Throughout the years they have collaborated on numerous projects in the Arts, both in Los Angeles and New York City. Their time in the East Village culminated in a monumental exhibition, Documents of Love, at the famed Hosfelt Gallery in Chelsea, where the couple exhibited a diverse body of work – poetry, paintings, photography, a short film – to the attendance of thousands. Upon returning to Los Angeles, C von & Rachel founded Riot Material magazine, a now thriving and widely read literary-cultural magazine with its eye on Art, Word, and forward-aiming thought.
by Christopher Benfey
A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art
at New Bedford Whaling Museum, MA
“American history is haunted by nightbirds in the nineteenth century,” Lewis Mumford wrote in The Brown Decades, his landmark 1931 study of Gilded Age culture. Chief among these nocturnal artists, for Mumford, was the painter Albert Pinkham Ryder, who was given to long, solitary nighttime walks in Lower Manhattan. Born in 1847, Ryder was a virtuoso of turbulent moonlit skies, ships lost at sea, and nightmare images—drawn from Poe, another nightbird, among other sources—that stick like burrs in the memory. In The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse), inspired by a waiter who killed himself after making a bad wager, a skeletal figure armed with a scythe rides a pale horse, while a menacing snake monitors his progress. “One might call Ryder the Blake or the Melville or the Emily Dickinson of American painting,” Mumford mused, “and thus define, after a fashion, one or another phase of his art; but the fact is that Ryder was Ryder. Like every great artist, he belonged to that rare class of which there is only one example.” [Read more…]
During the mid-1970s, Hunter S. Thompson was a central figure at Rolling Stone magazine. Although he did not write about music, he was its most popular contributor, and Abe Peck observed his primacy at close range. After editing an underground newspaper in Chicago, Peck worked for Rolling Stone in the mid-1970s and later taught journalism at Northwestern University. In his estimation, Rolling Stone was one of the most important American magazines of its era, and Thompson defined its nonmusical voice during the 1970s. In particular, Thompson linked readers to their youthful iconoclasm even as their tastes changed. “He kept the sparks flying when the readership was starting to settle down,” Peck said. As he did so, Thompson turned his growing renown to advantage. He began to lecture on college campuses, and though the work was easy and lucrative, he never enjoyed it. Rather than delivering speeches, Thompson limited himself to answering questions, which were often submitted in advance. Sensing that audiences were drawn to his alter ego, Raoul Duke, he played that role onstage. That approach, one of his friends noted, had the added benefit of masking Thompson’s shyness in public. [Read more…]
Pipilotti Rist’s wonderful exhibition, Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor, is currently on view at The Geffen Contemporary, DTLA, and is a must see! Below is one of the many Rist videos on display in varying contexts. “My Boy, My Horse, My Dog” is in gallery-space ‘Das Zimmer (The Room),’ and viewed on the old television sitting floorside. The MOCA exhibition is on through 6 June, 2022.
from the upcoming EP Forbidden Feelingz
By Ricky Amadour
From the inaugural print edition of The New York Review of Books
In remembrance of Jason Epstein, originator and co-founder of NYRB
by Mary McCarthy
by William S. Burroughs
Grove Press, 304pp., $14.49
“You can cut into The Naked Lunch at any intersection point,” says Burroughs, suiting the action to the word, in “an atrophied preface” he appends as a tail-piece. His book, he means, is like a neighborhood movie with continuous showings that you can drop into whenever you please—you don’t have to wait for the beginning of the feature picture. Or like a worm that you can chop up into sections each of which wriggles off as an independent worm. Or a nine-lived cat. Or a cancer. He is fond of the word “mosaic,” especially in its scientific sense of a plant-mottling caused by a virus, and his Muse (see etymology of “mosaic”) is interested in organic processes of multiplication and duplication. [Read more…]
Sofia Kourtesis’s “Estación Esperanza”
featuring Manu Chao
the single is out now on Ninja Tune
James Castle at David Zwirner, NYC (through 12 February 2022)
by Andrew Martin
Every James Castle picture seems to contain a secret. Approaching one of his works for the first time, you peer into pockets of shadow and smudge, examining the depopulated landscapes and interiors for explanations. Here, an empty rural road, with telephone poles standing like sentries at precise intervals, stretching to the drawing’s vanishing point; there, a cryptic attic space with a yawning doorway, captured on disintegrating paper that is then stitched to cardboard backing with red string. A series of drawings from multiple angles depicts the walls of an unloved upstairs bedroom, which seem to be shadowed by cage-like patterns hovering behind the brooding furniture arranged haphazardly around the space. Another piece shows two empty blue coats standing upright in front of a farmhouse next to an overturned bottle, a spiritual cousin of American Gothic. Even after repeated viewings and an immersion in Castle’s sprawling, insular oeuvre, these works refuse to yield their intentions. Their power lies in their ability to remain in one’s mind like half-remembered dreams. [Read more…]
The verve of English is under house-arrest by the under-educated: the students of Ivy League universities. They are the standard-bearers — Premium Woke — of our freshly scoured language. Still hallowed as God’s little incubators of future elites, America’s most prestigious universities began their decline in the 1980s. The humanities became a forum for hurt feelings instead of nuanced thought. Now America is carpeted wall-to-wall in the egg shells the Woke have laid.
The born-again Roundheads of academe damp-mop our language with trails of their tears. They hold conversations in capital letters too numerous to remember, tacking on new ones to keep pace with fresh categories of victims. Our future leaders neither speak nor write. They abbreviate.