We’re not big on themes here at the Review, but our new Summer issue was designed with the poolside in mind—we did everything short of printing it on sunscreen-proof paper. At its center you’ll find a portfolio curated by Charlotte Strick, an essay by Leanne Shapton, and a short story by Rafil Kroll-Zaidi all on the subject of swimmers, lifeguards, and lane etiquette. Read More
Dark Knees is a 2013 book that accompanies a recent exhibition of Mark Cohen’s photographs from the 1970s, though it feels more like a cryptic archive of fragments—tightly cropped, mostly black and white pictures of parts of the body and objects on the ground. Cohen was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he’s lived and worked for the last seven decades.
Leanne Shapton and Jason Fulford are the founders of J&L Books.
Jason Fulford: I saw Cohen’s show at Le Bal. It was funny to see photographs of Pennsylvania in Paris. I’d like to meet him. I saw a video of him shooting on the street in 1982. He’s pretty sneaky—getting up really close to somebody and then flashing and moving away fast, no conversation. I think he has a thing for legs and feet.
Leanne Shapton: Girls, legs, midsections, hands.
JF: He cites surrealism as an influence. Body parts. I wouldn’t call them portraits. They’re more like pictures of clothes on people.
LS: I’d like to see that footage of him. Looking at the work, it does feel he’s moving, he sneaking, he’s snatching, and it’s almost like he’s looking out of the corners of his eyes. You don’t feel the fixed point with him—you feel it’s sidelong, that he doesn’t want to engage directly.
JF: I kind of wish I hadn’t seen the video. Have you ever seen footage of Daido Moriyama photographing in Tokyo? He uses a point-and-shoot camera and he’s very casual about it. His arms are hanging down straight with a camera in one hand. He moves through the city like a shark, slowly and methodically, in and out of stores, in and out of malls and alleyways, up and down escalators and stairwells, and his instincts seem honed to know when to shoot from the hip and when he can stop and compose. But he never gets that close to people.
Cohen shoots with a wide-angle lens, so when he’s got a close up of a face he’s really only a few inches away. Also, it was a different time—people related to cameras differently. In high school, in the eighties, I used to go to the airport and take pictures of people. You can’t do that so easily now. Security won’t let you, people won’t let you. That’s the striking thing about the video of Cohen shooting—people hardly react to him. Read More
Check out those shorts second from the right. Your eyes do not deceive you: that is indeed the very same 1953 William Pène du Bois cityscape that graces the inside cover of your issue of The Paris Review. It’s one of four designs, taken from our archive, to be found on these limited-edition swim trunks (which could also, of course, just be worn as shorts). Produced in collaboration with Barneys New York and Orlebar Brown to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of The Paris Review, they can be found in our shop. With each purchase, you will receive a one-year subscription. (L-R: Kim MacConnel, Summer 1980; Donald Sultan, Summer 1996; William Pène du Bois, Spring 1953; Leanne Shapton, Spring 2011.)
- Geneticists estimate that the Iliad was written in 762 B.C., “give or take fifty years.” This squares with what classicists believe, too.
- Barnes & Noble says that rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated.
- Today in fearless luxury, these bespoke bindings are very beautiful.
- And speaking of books as status symbols: the book in medieval portraiture.
- The critics have spoken! The winners of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle awards are: Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (fiction); Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree (nonfiction); Leanne Shapton, Swimming Studies (autobiography); Marina Warner, Stranger Magic (criticism); Robert Caro, The Passage of Power (biography); and D. A. Powell, Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (poetry).
7:00 A.M. Wake up to dog barking and strong skunk smell in house. Fear that door to garden was left open and skunk is loose in house. Get out of bed to confirm. Garden door is not open and skunk is not loose. Go back to bed for thirty minutes.
7:30 A.M. Get out of bed. Wash face. Gather belongings, including black cocoon coat purchased for an imminent trip to Paris found for sixteen dollars the day before at a second-hand store. Head home to Mount Washington.
8:00 A.M. Arrive at home. Make tea. Take daily vitamins. Make new favorite quick morning oatmeal: half cup of oats, two heaping tablespoons of maple syrup, cinnamon, chopped apple, fresh dates, walnuts, boiling water. Settle in to enjoy oatmeal and tea. Realize that laptop, aka lifeline, is in Amos’s car. Freak out. Cancel all morning obligations, citing laptop debacle. Text Amos.
8:05 A.M. Amos drops off laptop.
8:10 A.M. Finish oatmeal. Finish tea. Resume all morning obligations. Including: reviewing reactions to Sybil’s sad demise on last night’s Downton Abbey, looking at Atelier Bow-Wow’s pet architecture—otherwise known as teeny tiny buildings on teeny tiny sliver of land—for an article, researching Bruno Munari’s useless machines for a contribution to the new arts journal, synonym.
9:15 A.M. Tackle e-mail. Respond to e-mails from three weeks ago. Debate including ‘apologies for the delayed response.’ Decide against it thinking, No need to always apologize. For all they know I answer e-mail every few weeks because I live in a cabin removed from civilization and spend most of my time in nature. Read More
When BAM asked The Paris Review to choose a film for screening in concert with the Brooklyn Book Festival, the choice was obvious. So, tonight, please join Leanne Shapton, Lorin Stein, and yours truly for a special screening of the cult classic Withnail and I. To the uninitiated: the film, directed by Bruce Robinson, stars Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant as two wastrels in 1969 London who decide to take a restorative holiday in the countryside; obsessively quotable mayhem obviously ensues. Some find it baffling; some find it disturbing; for the rest of us, it is a magnificent obsession. All three camps are invited!
Starts at 7 P.M. Discussion to follow. Click here for tickets.