Posts Tagged ‘art’
August 26, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
This month, Swiss Institute becomes Swiss In Situ, moving temporarily to a massive space at 102 Franklin Street in Tribeca. Their first exhibition, up through September 2, features a collection of artist-made zines from the independent Swiss publishing houses Nieves and Innen. Some of our favorites are below.
August 19, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
This is the last week to see the photography of Roger Steffens and the Family Acid at Benrubi Gallery, in New York. Taken mainly in the sixties and seventies, Steffens’s self-consciously psychedelic pictures “imagine a different America, one of strange beauty and mystic truth,” as his son Devon put it. The photos are on display through August 26.
August 15, 2016 | by Caitlin Love
Inspired by our famous Writers at Work interviews, “My First Time” is a series of short videos about how writers got their start. Created by the filmmakers Tom Bean, Casey Brooks, and Luke Poling, each video is a portrait of the artist as a beginner—and a look at the creative process, in all its joy, abjection, delusion, and euphoria.
Today, Akhil Sharma discusses his first novel, An Obedient Father, which he started when he was a student at Stanford: “I got [to school] about a month before classes started, and I didn’t know how to write or how to begin writing a book. And I thought, I’ll begin writing five pages a day and in two months I’ll be done with a novel. I didn’t know how to come up with plot, I didn’t know how to do anything ... Still I don’t know how you get through all those years of being lost.” Read More »
August 15, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Try to stay calm, everyone, but I have some very exciting news: it’s about Hemingway’s antlers. Back in 1964, Hunter S. Thompson stole a set of elk antlers right off the guy’s wall, only three years after he’d shot himself … Thompson felt bad about it and meant to return the antlers promptly, but you know how it is, the decades go by, stuff piles up in your garage, and you just sort of forget that you have these priceless antlers sitting around, and then it’s 2005 and you’re dead, too. So it fell to Thompson’s widow, Anita, to return the property to the Hemingways last week: “They were warm and kind of tickled … They were so open and grateful, there was no weirdness … Still, it’s something that was stolen from the home. They were grateful to have them back. They had heard rumors. Sean Hemingway, the grandson, was the first family member that I’d heard from. He spoke with other Hemingway family members and he said that everyone agreed that he should have them. He lives in New York, where he curates a museum. So now that I’m back from Ketchum we’re actually shipping them to Sean.”
- Finally, New York’s newspaper of record has taken it upon itself that humblest of tasks: defining punk. Since 1976, the punk-rock spirit has been noxious, amorphous, and utterly unreconstructed. That was okay, but isn’t it better to have the Gray Lady trotting out a bunch of musician types to tell you what it’s really all about? One twenty-five-year-old says that punk as “like a massive piece of denim, and with that denim you can make something really cool. You can make a jacket, you can make some cool jeans, or you can make a cushion or a cover. There’s nothing that’s wrong or right about it, it’s just a thing that gives anything you want to do some backing.”
- Walter Benjamin wrote of the age of the mechanical reproduction—how quaint! In 2016, a good 3-D scanner-printer combo can do what mere mechanics never could; we have arrived, as Noah Charney writes, in the Age of the Mechanical Reproduction. “When we speak of scanned and printed works of art, copies made by computers and a fabrication mechanism rather than a human hand, it is a different story altogether. It might look good, but what about Benjamin’s ‘aura’? … A danger arises when amateurs and bogus experts aren’t able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s reproduced. Worse, they might see the digital copy and decide that it is not worth the effort to see the original. They might not think that the work is better, but it is unarguably more convenient to access.”
- Two new books, American Girls and Girls and Sex, see a kind of crisis in young women today, and of course social media is to blame—these girls’ parents didn’t grow up with Instagram, so Instagram can only be the enemy. Zoe Heller raises an eyebrow: “To be sure, certain kinds of sexism have been amplified—or perhaps transmitted more efficiently—in the Internet era, and girls are now under pressure to present themselves as pliable sexual creatures at a much earlier age than they have been in the past. But even in the far-off 1970s and 1980s, young women experienced their share of exploitation, abuse, and unsatisfactory sex … If the good old days were never as good as both writers are wont to imply, the dark days of our present era are not quite as unremittingly desperate either.”
- Hitchcock/Truffaut, a book of atypically intimate interviews between the two filmmakers, turns fifty this year, and it’s still “one of the sharpest, most enthralling studies of creative thought” in print, Nathan Heller says: “As Truffaut presses Hitchcock on decision after decision, in film after film, an elaborate, reasoned logic rises to the fore—a point that both directors, similarly inclined toward meticulous visual formalism, were keen to drive home. Hitchcock is occasionally self-dismissive in a way that seems self-blind. My first destination, on paging through, was the discussion of Rear Window, from 1954, which to me seems Hitchcock’s greatest … Yet the director’s account extends from indifference to dissatisfaction. He dismisses the Franz Waxman score—whose weaving through a wash of overlapping urban sounds is striking even today—as disappointing. Not even the most deterministic director in the movies, it would seem, could see a clear path to his full achievement.”
August 12, 2016 | by Caitlin Youngquist
“He only knew a drawing was good if it got him hard,” writes Dian Hanson of Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland (1920–1991). I’ve been spending my evenings drooling over “Tom’s men,” as they’ve come to be called—famously erotic, fabulously gay, and achingly virile. Tom’s is a métier that worships the male form. Sculpted, brawny bods dress up in archetypically masculine uniforms—men in uniform were a fetish of Tom’s—and frolic across the page to bone.
Since the late fifties, when a (comparatively tame) drawing of his was featured on the cover of the muscle mag Physique Pictorial, Tom and his drawings have risen to an iconic status—and there’s a whole cottage industry of ToF merch, from fire blankets to anal beads, to prove it. But I, bashfully, have only just found him. I owe much of that to Taschen, who have, to mark the quarter century since the artist’s death, published a handful of books comprising much of his delicious oeuvre—a retrospective culminating in the reissue of the Holy Writ of all ToF books, Tom of Finland XXL. Among the collection is The Little Book of Tom of Finland: Cops and Robbers, one of three in the Little Book series, and my favorite of the bunch. Read More »
August 10, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Ask any Joe on the street and he’ll tell you the best thing about Melrose Place was Heather Locklear. He’d be wrong, though. The best thing about Melrose Place was that it served as a secret gallery space for a collective called the GALA Committee, led by the conceptual artist Mel Chin. By agreeing to work for free, Chin brokered a deal with the show’s producers that gave him essentially carte blanche to insert his art into the show. As M. H. Miller writes, “The project was titled In the Name of the Place, and will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Red Bull Studios in New York this fall … Chin said of about 200 works that the group produced, roughly 70 percent were accepted. In one episode, when Alison gets pregnant, she wraps herself in a quilt that has printed on it the chemical structure of RU-486, the morning after pill … In one scene, Kimberly holds a Chinese takeout box, which has written on it, in Chinese characters, the words ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Turmoil and Chaos,’ a nod to the different interpretations among the West and China of the Tiananmen Square protests.”
- If you prefer art that’s unaffiliated with Melrose Place—though I can’t imagine why you would—head to the Whitney for “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing,” which celebrates “the only first-class Cubist to emerge from North America,” Robert Storr says: “From his breakthrough in the mid-1920s until his death at seventy-one in 1964, just as the wave of Pop artists—to whom he gave courage and taught ways of seeing and doing—crested, Davis concentrated single-mindedly on making art quiver with the energy he perceived around him. Jazz was an inherently urban music, but in Davis’s art its pulse could be felt everywhere, from Hudson River docks to small seaport towns in New England where swing bands and bebop combos—not to mention African-Americans—were few and far between.”
- At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, meanwhile, a show called “The Camera Exposed” features more than 120 photographs with cameras in them. It’s better than it sounds, Simon Willis says: “What emerges from the exhibition is a complicated bond. In one picture, an elderly Paul Strand carries a large box camera in his arms, holding it like an infant jealously guarded. In another Eve Arnold photographs herself in a distorting mirror, her figure and those on the street around her blurred and elongated. It’s a self-portrait that seems to take a wry look at the act of photographing, and how it can record the truth but also bend it out of shape. In fact the show examines not just the relationship between photographers and cameras, but also the guises that cameras have assumed.”
- Advice for male writers: come on, guys, knock it off already, we’ve had this conversation before! “Far too often, very ordinary phenomena like female sexual desire or the onset of puberty are elevated by male writers to something remarkable, frightening. Young women are either the animalistic bearers of the erotic urge, or bodily reminders of how sin enters the world. And other elements of female adolescence not associated with sex—like the intensity of friendships or familial bonds at that stage of life—are left off the page, or reduced to dramatic displays of hormonal cattiness.”
- The Olympics provide a great occasion for fantasizing about space—specifically, for fantasizing about the Olympics in space. But few among us would dare, as Chip Rowe has, to delve into the specifics of space sports: “Modern athletes pride themselves in their ability to withstand boiling temperatures and frozen terrain. But it wasn’t until explorers mapped the planet Gliese 436b that competitors got the chance to tackle both extremes at once. Roughly the size of Neptune, Gliese orbits far closer to its sun than Mercury does to ours, making its surface a balmy 820 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, you’d think the planet would be all gas. In fact, immense pressure in Gliese’s interior compresses water into an exotic phase of ice known as Ice X, in much the way pressure in Earth’s interior turns carbon into diamond. The result is a world cloaked in ‘hot ice’ and bathed in steam. A decade ago, 10 tenacious hockey teams flew the thirty light-years to Gliese for the first of what has become an annual tournament. The flaming puck makes the action easy to follow.”