An exhibition of Randy Dudley’s photo-realist drawings of Chicago and Brooklyn is on display at Ameringer McEnery Yohe through February.
“Every artist’s work changes when he dies,” John Berger wrote in his essay on Alberto Giacometti. “Finally no one remembers what his work was like when he was alive … [His work] will have become evidence from the past, instead of being … a possible preparation for something to come.”
Berger died yesterday at age ninety. A painter who traded his brush for a pen, he became an art critic for the people, telling stories with a revolutionary spirit. The “evidence” of his tireless work will be his published writing, including more than fifty books: criticism, novels, poetry, and screenplays. In his final years, fans and disciples could seek him out in the small French Alpine town of Quincy, where he’d lived since 1974, having left a robust public life to lend his labor to “peasants”—his favored word for the villagers—so he could “write about them in this way—to understand their experience of their world.” From those who made the pilgrimage, we have gotten intimate interviews with the aging writer, full of retrospection. Berger had ample time to prepare his legacy. He donated his archives to the British Library in 2009; Verso Books has recently published two collections of his writing, Landscapes and Portraits; a documentary about his life in France, The Seasons in Quincy, was released last year; and a new book by writers indebted to Berger has now become a posthumous honor. Read More
We’re away until January 3, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2016. Enjoy your holiday!
Joe Gibbons on his drawings from Rikers Island.
Over a forty-year career, Joe Gibbons has become a legend in the world of experimental film. His work so thoroughly wrinkles the cloth woven by art and life that the question of which imitates which becomes moot. In his 1985 film Living in the World, he stars as a working stiff named Joe Gibbons, just trying to make it through the eight-hour day with his dignity intact. Existentially bereft, he laments, “I read the paper and there’s so much going on that I have nothing to do with.” He quits his job and turns to crime to make ends meet.
When the real Gibbons made headlines last year in an unlikely heist story, that same voice was quoted in the papers as evidence of his moral degeneracy and criminal intent. FORMER MIT PROFESSOR “ROBS” BANK, FILMS “HEIST,” the New York Post said. And, later, in the New York Times: FILMMAKER JOE GIBBONS GETS A YEAR IN PRISON FOR A ROBBERY HE CALLED PERFORMANCE ART.
A recent group of Ara Peterson’s interlaced relief paintings are on display at Derek Eller Gallery through December 23. The paintings, according to the gallery, evoke “the elegance of New England transcendentalism, the overwhelming geographies of H. P. Lovecraft, the crisp sonic landscapes of Steely Dan, and the vertiginous feeling of swimming out to sea … Peterson begins his process with a lengthy period of development rooted in the visualization of wave phenomena. For each work, he plots the relationships between color, mood, scale, weight, surface tension, and directional flow.”
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, Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses his 1998 debut novel, Ute av verden (Out of the World): “I got up at six in the evening, I woke up, and then I sat and wrote all night, till eight or nine in the morning … I was so egocentric, it was really the only thing I cared about for sixteen months. When you write a book you don’t know why you’re doing it.” Knausgaard wrote the book for his father, who died just before it was published. “I realized the book was meaningless,” he says. “I wanted to say to him, Look, this is me, you don’t know me, you never knew me.” Read More
In September, the art historian Douglas Crimp was speaking about his new book, Before Pictures, at the Whitney Museum when the slide projection was turned off and the screen rose, revealing the sunlight bobbing on the Hudson River and a view of Pier 52. It was there that, forty years prior, Gordon Matta-Clark had carved his monumental and illicit work Day’s End in an abandoned warehouse and Crimp had gone cruising for sex. The piers were known to be dangerous, Crimp writes, but at the time he had no fear of them, except the anxiety that their lure was distracting him from his work. Now the seventy-two-year-old was backlit against a thoroughfare of joggers and Citi Bike riders along Eleventh Avenue. The “vast and hauntingly beautiful” structures he describes had long ago been flattened into a parking lot for the Department of Sanitation. Read More