Carl Little

Bruce Kurland,

Ever since viewing what turned out to be the final solo show of Bruce Kurland (1938-2013), at the Victoria Munroe Gallery in New York City in 1990, I have been haunted by his intimate oil paintings.

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MuseumsWeekend

Jon Imber: Tangled Up in Hues

by Carl Little on June 29, 2014

Post image for Jon Imber: Tangled Up in Hues

ROCKPORT, Maine — It’s a late, sunny Wednesday afternoon in mid-June at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) and, aside from a docent at the front desk, I have the whole Jon Imber: Force of Nature show to myself.

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Post image for War Elephants and Pious Cats: Basil Bunting’s Persian Poems

The recent death of William Weaver, the acclaimed translator of Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Primo Levi and other modern Italian authors, spurred memories of the translation class he taught at Columbia University back in the late 1970s. A small group of students listened attentively to his thoughts about how best to go about rendering the literature of another culture into English.

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Post image for Splinter Group: Short Works by Antonio Tabucchi

In his note to this collection, the Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi (1943–2012) refers to the 14 pieces as “drifting splinters.” These “fragments of novels and stories,” he writes, “have a larval nature.” They are “sketchy compositions,” “quasi-stories,” and “background noise.” Despite the author’s misgivings, a “residual pride,” plus “the chance of a few meagre words,” led him to gather and publish.

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Post image for Wheel Life: Paul Scheerbart’s Quest to Build a Perpetual Motion Machine

My favorite shelf in the home library is where Raymond Roussel, the Comte de Lautréamont, E.T. A. Hoffmann, Leonora Carrington and other writers form a brilliant phalanx of eccentricity and marvel. I turn to it like a five-hour energy drink, sampling a few pages of, say, Raymond Queneau or Heinrich von Kleist when in need of a shot of alternative reality (I’m waiting for cable to start producing surreality shows in which men and women practice automatic writing while in trances).

So what fun to add Paul Scheerbart and his perpetual motion machine to the line-up, an altogether delightful addition to the foule folle. A German writer who was born in the Prussian port of Danzig and lived in Berlin for much of his life, Scheerbart (1863-1915) was a jack of all genres — art critic, playwright, novelist, poet, etc. — with many muses.

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