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Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap

Looking at Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, a history of stickers from various subcultures, from graffiti and street art to skating and punk music, two years after its publication, the book remains significant as the first major publication on Do-It-Yourself sticker culture; yet the book has also become outdated, as the sticker scene, at least in New York, has evolved past glossy, printed stickers.

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Art Cannot Provide a Way Out

In 2006, art historian Claire Bishop lit a fire under the collective seat of the art world with her Artforum piece “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents.” It set off — as much as any essay in the hermetic and staid world of contemporary art theory can — an uproar. Her new book takes it a step further.

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Surrealism in a Minor Key: Recent Translations of Ghérasim Luca

Considered through Deleuze and Guattari’s somewhat idiosyncratic interpretive lenses, Ghérasim Luca is a minor writer — minor in the sense that he relentlessly pushes language toward its limits, that he deterritorializes it, that he transmutes it from a mere instrument of representation into an extreme style of intensities. This is to say that Luca should not be deemed “minor” in any canonical sense — quite the opposite in fact — for within Deleuze and Guattari’s system of thought, to be called minor is an honorific of the highest order. This is also to say that Luca should be recognized, once and for all, as a figure on par with the other so-called “minor” auteurs within Deleuze and Guattari’s pantheon: Kafka, Beckett, Joyce, Pasolini, and Godard.

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Words in Worlds of Light: Joseph Donahue’s Dissolves

Not only fragments and filaments, but also liturgies and litanies embed themselves in Joseph Donahue’s Terra Lucida, a chain of poetic assemblage that both embodies and breaks free of given notions of the long poem. While the formal designs of that thematic behemoth can be ascribed to his project, Donahue’s abrupt transitions, radical breaks, and vertiginous frames disrupt the cohesion and narrative continuity on which the genre depends. Rarely in contemporary poetry has the couplet served so astonishingly as a centrifugal mechanism, as bonding agent to the lines, serving to contain and unite its pressurized contents — “all those/tatters of the creation” mediated “in this aberrant rendition” — which seem at any moment threaten to break apart.

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Working Through the End of Art

When the wide-eyed young painter Jim Holl came to New York City in the mid-1970s to study and make art he was shaken by the news that painting, according to the critics, was dead. Holl spent the next 20 years venturing outside the frame to find his place in this post-apocalyptic art world. His memoir, The Landscape Painter: 1974 through 1994, documents his journey.

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With a Wild Wahoo!

There’s nothing like an ambitious anthology for redistricting your inner map of poetic possibility. They don’t come along every day, but we’ve had more than our usual share over the last few years. Such books operate on different scales, of course: There’s the kind of anthology that crystallizes a hitherto undescribed tendency in the present, or the kind that takes a somewhat longer view, pointing out a continuing or recurrent thread of practice that suddenly seems to amount to a kind of tradition. And then there’s the kind of book that can turn your historical perspective upside-down

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A Comic Book Written on the Streets

Paging through New York-born, Brazil-based street artist Tito na Rua’s Street Comics Vol. 1, a story of the search for lost love through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, I couldn’t help but become fascinated by the possibilities of a narrative being told in the streets, even though I’m not the biggest fan of comics or comic-based street art.

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Not the Man We Used to Be: An Anthropologist’s View of the New Weaker Sex

According to a recent book, Manthropology: The Science of Why the Modern Male is Not the Man He Used to Be, by Peter McAllister, modern men are basically fucked. McAllister, an archeologist and science writer, has analyzed the iron men of yore — the Neanderthals and Wodabees, the Tahitian seducers and Mongol bowmen — and concluded that in every meaningful department the Homo modernus is a deplorable wreck.

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The Fear of Making Art

When Amazon recommends literary selections I might be interested in, I usually do a quick scan of the offerings, decide I can’t afford to splurge on assorted art books and delete the email. But once in a while something catches my eye. Not too long ago, among the artist bios, museum catalogs and critical anthologies, I noticed what looked like a slim, little volume with a title so provocative, weird and unsettling, I needed to know more.