Posts Tagged ‘The moon’
August 16, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
- If you live in New York, you have to make your peace with Keith Haring—his public works are all over town. But the city’s murals rarely, if ever, showcase Haring’s once-in-a-generation gift for drawing cocks. To see that, you must turn to Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks, a new book of Haring’s dicks that “envisions the city as a kingdom of phalluses”: “he transforms Manhattan’s churches, skyscrapers, and fire hydrants into architectural penises. The Twin Towers become twin penises. There are penises drawn in front of Tiffany’s, in front of the Museum of Modern Art, while ‘waiting for a yam.’ There are minimalist penises, composed of as few lines as possible. There are also Gucci penises, alphabet penises, flying torpedo penises, optical illusion penises, deconstructed penises, ‘actual size’ tracings of penises, and clusters of penises on the subway at rush hour.”
- Here’s one way museums have found to make money: they’ll let you watch the varnish dry. It’s not quite as lively as watching the actual paint dry, no, but for people with a new interest in the art of conservation, it’ll do. At the Musée d’Orsay, Doreen Carvajal reports, “the once mysterious craft is increasingly turning into a high-end reality show—long-running spectacles that appeal to donors who lavish money on makeovers, but trouble some conservators accustomed to quiet and absolute concentration … In the slow-moving drama of restoration, fishbone cracks vanish, figures that were muddy sepia become radiantly blush, and yellow clouds, thick with old varnish, transform into white gauze tinged with rose. The results are a publicity bonanza for museums; they tell a before-and-after narrative that attracts media attention and appeals to crowdfunding campaigns and companies that have never donated to art projects before.”
- In 1938, Gertrude Stein published The World Is Round, a book for children. Let her never be accused of condescending to kids—she dumbs nothing down. In fact, the manuscript sounds pretty much the same as her works for adults do: “Everywhere there was somewhere and everywhere there they were men women children dogs cows wild pigs little rabbits cats lizards and animals … Rose was her name and would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose … Don’t bother about the commas which aren’t there, read the words. Don’t worry about the sense that is there, read the words. If you have any trouble, read faster and faster until you don’t.”
- It’s important to have a contingency plan. If life on Earth takes a turn for the apocalyptic, you won’t find me huddled around some garbage fire eating another man’s thigh, no, sir. I’ll be on the moon. The Atlantic has taught me how to claim land there: “You could launch a small rover—like China’s Jade Rabbit, which just ceased operations—to set up a research station at one of the moon’s more resource-rich areas, probably the poles. The rover would set down a copper wire, trundle a few meters away and unspool more wire. This length of wire is now a low-frequency radio antenna. Think of the rabbit-ear dipole antenna on an ancient TV set … Under the Outer Space Treaty, you would have to allow other countries and entities to inspect your new solar observatory. But the treaty also says that inspections cannot get in the way of your normal operations, and any inspection would likely interfere with your radio observations. So for practical purposes, nobody else can ever come to your mountaintop. You have become the de facto owner of that piece of lunar real estate.”
- Thomas Mann’s story “Mario and the Magician” skewered Mussolini as a man with “very ugly hair” and “small hard eyes, with flabby pouches beneath them”—a man who “talked without stopping—but only in vague, boastful, self-advertising phrases.” You see where this is going, don’t you? How this fascistic asshole might resemble another, more contemporary fascistic asshole? Don’t make me spell it out. Colin Campbell writes of Mann’s story, “The magician’s name is Cipolla, and his show is preceded by a flurry of cheap publicity. When Cipolla himself appears on stage, he spouts a lot of blather about his grand reputation and, after ingratiating himself and reading a few minds, he makes it clear that he leads and commands, while others willingly follow and obey. But could he make a gentleman who challenged him dance foolishly even against his will? ‘ “Even against your will,” answered Cipolla, in unforgettable accents.’ ”
July 27, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
- The USPS, in its infinite wisdom, has finally put Flannery O’Connor on a postage stamp, but it’s kind of an ugly one. (Peacock feathers have never more resembled dune grasses.) Our art editor, Charlotte Strick, took a stab at a redesign: “I thought about the puzzle offered up by a six-stamp grid. Using selections of the cover art from our newly rereleased O’Connor editions, I found it great fun to wrap the elements around one another in new ways—aiming for each individual stamp to be a mini-artwork of its own.”
- On Max Beerbohm, whose writing, with its “high masquerading style,” is the subject of a new anthology, The Prince of Minor Writers: “No one is more emphatic about the necessity of making a style out of the sound of spoken English … He understood that the sound of spoken English might be anything but blunt—that spoken English tends to be more circuitous, touched by asides, than the self-consciously simplified kind. There are two kinds of extended sentences: one depends on expanding an idea, the other tries to detail a consciousness. The first is argumentative, the second exquisite.”
- Johannes Kepler is remembered for his contributions to astronomy, but his 1608 book, Somnium, in which a demon describes life on the moon, testifies to his talents as a science-fiction author. Jason Novak has illustrated a few passages: “The dark side of the moon is urban, with landscaped gardens and commerce. The face of the moon is wilderness, with forests, fields, and deserts.”
- In which the printing press meets its perfect shadow, the scanner: “As I pushed down on the lever and the shutters fired, it struck me that this was a kind of reverse press, of the most ancient Gutenberg kind. Instead of a block of ink-stained type being pressed on to a page, the book itself is pressed towards the light and its contents are released into the digital ether, to be republished, retransmitted once again.”
- If autofiction and the “memoir-novel” are the order of the day, then why does Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life succeed on such fiercely imaginative terms? “However much this story of failed love between a wounded veteran and an illegal immigrant smacks of authenticity, its author seems to have done precisely what has been cast as no longer possible, creating an immersive world that is fundamentally a fabrication. The success of this novel beckons a closer look at the most consistent sentiment voiced by its reviewers—that it just feels so different.”
March 4, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Who owns the moon? It could be you! (It’s probably not you.)
- The National Enquirer’s sixties covers show how the language of scandal has evolved—what used to pass as odious is now just sort of quaint. “I’M A SLOB. I Burp & Slurp in Public,” says one headline. The horror.
- Brian Eno has chosen twenty essential books for saving civilization; I’ve read zero of them.
- “I thought at the time it was really bad luck to survive. I really wanted to die with them.” An interview with a kamikaze pilot.
- The surreal world of prison portraiture: “visitation rooms of penitentiaries have backdrops where friends and family can get pictures taken of/with the inmate … Often, these backgrounds are idyllic landscapes that offer the inmate a moment to emotionally escape their sentence.”