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Manly Men and Their Discontents: Ben Jones’s Men’s Group: The Video

“Multiple paper sizes and stocks bound together with a spiral wire and wrapped between thick chipboard covers.” So reads the highly utilitarian description of Ben Jones’ new book in its accompanying press release, but it’s also as good a definition of the different incarnations of “manliness”—the purported subject of the volume—as anything to be found on its carnation pink and lime green pages.

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Grafting Graffiti Style Onto Skin

Graffiti and tattoos seem like total opposities. One is ephemeral, lasting only until it’s painted over by the city or other writers, the other is forever, or at least unless you decide to rip the ink back out of your skin. Yet there’s been abundant crossover in the aesthetic style, but what’s more interesting is graffiti writers who have moved to tattooing as their main focus.

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Painter Illustrates the Diversity of Sex and Gender in the Natural World with a Children’s Book

The diversity of sex and gender in the animal kingdom is totally overlooked when people use the argument “it’s not natural” to say that someone’s lifestyle goes against their personal moral constructs. What’s “natural” is actually incredibly complex, considering we have hermaphrodite leopard slugs, female Western Gulls that pair up for the long term, and asexual reproduction in Komodo dragons.

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Reconsidering John Dewey’s Art as Experience

It’s hard to tell how many young Americans know the name John Dewey today. Those who attended New York City’s New School might know of him as a co-founder and one of the minds behind the progressive agenda that formed the intellectual and social foundation of the school’s early years. Others might recognize the name because of his most well-known work, as an early theorist and proponent of progressive education for students of all ages. And some might be aware of him as a thinker who, in some ways, was discussing post-modern ideas about a hundred years before post-modernism. For those to whom his name is very familiar, he is said to be one of the most, if not the most, influential American philosophers. But here I want to talk about one of his lesser-known works, Art as Experience, which brings together some of his larger political and philosophic ideas in a discussion of aesthetics and culture, and their role in a robust society.

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The Work of Fiction in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Alexandra Chasin’s “Brief”

Alexandra Chasin’s Brief, an innovative narrative in the form of an iPad app, is “Exhibit A” in the case that the novel is finding exciting new ways to reinvent itself after the digital turn. Brief, the first novel-app of its kind, would make a rich and wonderful addition to any syllabus or reading list on appropriation, experimental fiction, new media literature, visual studies, violence and representation, or text and image, and I hope in these “brief” paragraphs to adumbrate some of the reason why.

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Moments of Female Adolescence, Illuminated Online and in Print

In a culture that discounts the contributions of teenage girls yet rips them at will, co-opting their keen fashion sense into one that is marketable and desirable, Illuminati Girl Gang (IGG), a print and online journal of girl culture featuring work by kids who are mostly under the age of 25, comes as a welcome contribution to retaining the authenticity of adolescent expression.

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I’ve Lost Pieces of Things I Want To Remember: Using Photography As Memory

There is a dislocated loneliness in being unmoored, in drifting away from connections and places until you become stuck somewhere again. Andrew Zornoza’s Where I Stay, published in 2009 Tarpaulin Sky Press, is a both spare and sprawling interpretation of this feeling. His compact prose set to the rhythm of poetry is paired with stark black and white photographs capturing the scraps of the country seen by an unnamed narrator as he wanders the American mid- and southwest.

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Invisible Man: The Biographies of J. D. Salinger

In July 1985, the British poet, editor and critic Ian Hamilton submitted the manuscript for J. D. Salinger: A Writing Life to his editors at Random House. Three years later, in May 1988, after countless depositions, preliminary injunctions, affidavits and court appeals, Hamilton’s truncated In Search of J. D. Salinger was published. This was the “legal” version of his original biography, rewritten and wiped of all quotations from Salinger’s letters that Hamilton had included, and starring now the biographer himself as the main character on a thwarted quest to write the life of America’s most famous recluse.

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An Appreciation for the Often Hilarious, Usually Horrible, World of Bad Graffiti

Who cares about bad graffiti or street art? The spray paint scrawls of ill-chosen tag names (“Piggy Nasty,” “Pony Tail,” “Tricky Trout, Jr.”), reckless vulgarity (penises and boobs drawn on absolutely everything), and sad drawings that barely shape into the animal, face, or whatever they’re trying to be, who cares about all that? Usually these aerosol-on-concrete creations just fade into our visual background without a second glance, but artist Scott Hocking has recognized them for the masterpieces of mediocrity that they are in a photography book appropriately called Bad Graffiti, released in December 2012 by Black Dog Publishing.

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Manufactured Dreams — Stepping Inside Televisa

The Aperture Foundation publishes beautiful photography monographs that are designed to look more like a portfolio than a book; such is their emphasis on image plates over explanatory text. The Factory of Dreams: Inside Televisa Studios, one of Aperture’s recent publications featuring the Brooklyn-based photographer Stefan Ruiz, is a monograph that presents a single body of work. The Factory of Dreams is a collection of photographs Ruiz began working on eight years ago, depicting one of Mexico’s largest exports: televised fantasies of “love, wealth, and betrayal.”