December 7, 2013

Wonderlust

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I recently took a group of students to see

Sarah Anne Johnson’s show, Wonderlust 

at Julie Saul Gallery.

We’ve been investigating

The Screen As Body; The Personal Political.

Johnson investigates intimacy by capturing couples in their own

domestic surroundings.

I was most impressed by the interlocution of Johnson’s own physicality onto the photographs.  She often gouges at, scratches, paints or even glitters her photographs to capture the ecstasy, self-consciousness and banality of sexuality.

Her work reminded me a bit of Stan Brakhage’s old 16 mm film work

 Mothlight (1963), which he made by collecting moth wings, flower pelts and blades of grass which he pressed between two strips of 16 mm splicing tape.  The assemblage was then contact printed at a lab.

Brakhage said he made Mothlight “out of a deep grief. The grief is my business in a way, but the grief was helpful in squeezing the little film out of me, that I said “these crazy moths are flying into the candelight, and burning themselves to death, and that’s what’s happening to me. I don’t have enough money to make these films, and … I’m not feeding my children properly, because of these damn films, you know. And I’m burning up here… What can I do?” I’m feeling the full horror of some kind of immolation, in a way.”

July 8, 2012

Marina Abramović: Gestures of Empathy in An Absentee World

Marina Abramović. Photo Credit: Jeff Dupre/ Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films & Music Box Films

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramović and ask her a few questions about HBO’s new film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a documentary about her 2010 MOMA retrospective by first time director Mathew Ackers.   Here’s an excerpt:

As a child Marina Abramovic’s mother told her, “I didn’t kiss you not to spoil you.” It would be easy to say that it is from this early encounter with emotional malnutrition that 65-year old Belgrade-born performance artist Marina Abramovic’s passion for performance was born. The daughter of Yugoslavian Partisans during the Second World War, Abramovic hailed from a highly disciplined home, “My mother was a major in the army, a national hero,” Abramovic recalled in a 2011 interview for the British Telegraph. “She created complete military discipline in the house […] I have enormously strong willpower, which I think is inherited.”

Please check out the full review & interview for Guernica here.

March 12, 2012

NOON

The new issue of NOON just arrived!

The issue features work by Kim Chinquee, Glynis Clews, Roxanne Gay, Brandon Hobson,

Vi Khi Nao, Ted Krinkos, Elan Lafontaine, Clancy Martin, Lincoln Michel, Greg Mulvahy, Dylan Nice, Joanna Ruocca,

Valerie Shaff, several pieces by A. L Sniders translated by Lydia Davis from the Dutch, Lauren Spohrer, Robert Tindall,

Deb Olin Unferth, James Yeh and Anya Yurchyshyn.

As well as drawings by Augusta Gross, embroideries by Karen Reimer and photography by Bill Hayward.

I have long admired the urgency and tenacity

which Diane Williams conjures

across NOON’s pages.

There is both a rigorous candor and a strident democracy

to these pieces as a whole which reflect

the generosity and dedication of NOON’s editorial vision.

It is a humble honor to have a short piece in the new issue,

in the midst of so many dear friends

and voices whom I admire.

We owe Diane Williams a great deal of thanks

for inspiring us with both her own craft and

her commitment to publishing an annual

who’s lens on the world

lifts readers from out of their seats

and leaves them suspended in

an urgent new world.

March 12, 2012

Elliot

Un nouvel ami en France est arrive le 27 janvier 2012!

Jerome et moi

venons de recevoir cette

annonce charmante faite main cette semaine.

Félicitations

aux parents,

Virginie et Robin!

En arrière-plan est la belle, vieille maison de famille a Larians!

March 2, 2012

Pina

I recently saw Wim Wenders’ documentary

Pina.

It reminded me of a performance piece I’d seen in Prague a number of years ago,

whose title I wish I could now remember,

about a woman who gets trapped in a circus.

Set in a visually striking, surreal landscape,

under Wenders’ 3D direction,

Pina Bausch’s choreographies take on

a vivid, visceral, and at times wonderfully comic quality

that marries the best of dance, narrative and experimental theatre.

Wenders’ documentary is staged as a picaresque,

a mixture of various 3D dance sequences which read much like mini-stories

interspersed with brief reflections / interviews

with dancers from Pina’s company over the years.

The documentary’s fragmented, anecdotal quality reminded

me of some of the nostalgic picturescapes of Roy Andersson’s film You The Living.

And too of the elegiac quality of some of

Marguerite Duras’s novels,

most notably Destroy, She Said,

with their focus on staging and the body.

Pina Bausch.

I would love to know more about this incredible woman.

Well worth an afternoon.

February 23, 2012

“Just Down City”

My partner, photographer Jerome Jakubiec, and I

are excited to have a collaborative piece up

at Dossier Journal this morning.

Check it out!

Thank you to editor

Sara Femenella for posting.

February 15, 2012

“Salty Dog And Uncle Sam”

I have a story up today at TwoSeriousLadies here. The website is a new online journal created by Lauren Spohrer.
The title of the sight comes from a short Jane Bowles novel.  It is a sight devoted entirely to writing by women. I
am really thrilled to have a piece up here.  The sight features a “vanished page” from Heidi Julavits’s forthcoming novel, The Vanishers, as well as stories by Catherine Lacey, Kayla Blatchley, Roxane Gay, Diana Hamilton, Andrea Morales, Amanda Shapiro, Lesley Yalen and the Anonymous writer of MyDeadParents.  I respect and admire these women’s work immensely.
Many thanks to Lauren Spohrer
for including me.
Lauren is not only a dear friend
but a wildly urgent talent.
Check out her new chapbook,
Just Kids,
co-authored with Lawrence Giffin,
February 3, 2012

“A Small, Nearly-Vanishing Community”

I am eagerly anticipating

launching into Ben Marcus’s

new novel, The Flame Alphabet.

The above is a trailer for the book out from Erin Cosgrove

at Creative Capitol.

The Millions posted an interview with Marcus

recently here.

The piece is aptly titled, “Lethal Language: Ben Marcus Urges Writers To March On The Enemy.”

This is what drew me to Ben’s work originally:

“We are in a time when narrative tradition is getting honed and exquisitely refined by the novelists who are considered major: very subtle improvements on an established method. But the premise of art is that writers will seek new methods to reach people with language. This isn’t experimental at all: it’s traditional. It’s a tradition for artists to push forward and try to do new things. Such a project has defined the making of art from the very beginning. There’s nothing more traditional than that.”

It is encouraging to hear Marcus recall for us

that language which is wrestling with how

to reinvent form

in not difficult or troubled.

Rather these works remain the beacon of accessibility,

the call for expanding the brain toward

new comprehensions.

Indeed the ream of language-smiths

can sometime seem a small,

nearly vanishing community.

However, it is one with

dedicated arbiters.

Ben Marcus

is an exacting one.

January 29, 2012

Beginners

I’m calling this the best indie picture of 2011.

I must confess:

I did not go to see it in theatres

for fear that it would be

too twee.

Boy was I

wrong.

I recently watched the film

during a trans-Atlantic flight

on both legs of the journey.

On the way home I found myself

scribbling lines of dialogue in my notebook.

It’s not about what the dog says;

it’s about what the characters don’t say.

In its best moments, the film reminds me of a

Mary Robison short story from her collection,

An Amateur’s Guide To The Night.

Check out this old interview with Robison here

in BOMB Magazine.

It mirrors some of the themes in

recent interview with Beginners director, Mike Mills,

on the autobiographical art of filmmaking

here.

“Everybody’s version of these events would be different.” – Mills

January 20, 2012

The Results of Your Labors

* Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith (with Neckbrace), 1977

BBC posted an excerpt of their interview with

Patti Smith

online today.

Check it out here.

In the interview Smith specifically talks about

her rediscovery of polaroid photography.

She stumbled upon an old Land 100 polaroid camera

after the death of her brother, her husband, Robert Mapplethorpe and her pianist.

She says the immediacy of being able to create something on the spot

provided some relief

from the inertia she was feeling due to her inability create in her other artforms,

i.e. music, drawing and writing.

The satisfaction of having made something

which she could immediately regard

seemed particularly attractive during the period of exhaustion she was experiencing.

Loss is a profound state to create from.

What struck me most about the interview was what Smith calls

“the results of your labors.”

The vulnerabilities of attaching creative production

to both breadwinning and

making one’s way through life.

Creation of any kind

is intrinsically dependent on the health of the human as a total organism.

Different mediums present themselves

as viable arenas depending on mood and mental capacity.

Smith’s polaroids are now on exhibit here through February 19th

at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut.

The show, her first museum exhibition of Smith’s polaroid work, is appropriately titled Camera Solo.

Here is a sample:

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