The sculpture park is a relatively recent art destination, really flourishing in the 1960s and 70s when artists explored the use of the American landscape as a medium for public art. Yet now the United States is dotted with these little art oases, from those that sprawl over rural acres to those embedded in the urban environment.
Instant: The Story of Polaroid, an entertaining book by the New York-based writer Christopher Bonanos, follows the long and twisting career of Edwin Land and his brainchild corporation, Polaroid.
Many people know that David Wojnarowicz was an excellent artist, but fewer probably know that he was also an excellent writer. 7 Miles a Second, originally put out by DC Comics in 1996 and recently republished by Fantagraphics Books, is a memoir comprised of personal stories mixed with dreams, hallucinatory images, and social commentary.
In Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary (Prestel, 2012), performer Elizabeth Streb relays an anecdote about artist Nancy Grossman startling her by wearing a monkey fur jacket. It’s one of those images that has an unsettling, visceral nature to it, like striding through life in a skin ripped from another person, the carnal texture of some sliced up simian.
Penguin UK has released ten editions of ten contemporary classics with covers all commissioned from street artists, using photographs documenting the literary-inspired work.
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid is alternately a depressing, frustrating, and inspiring call to action for the left in the face of the diminishing economic and social returns of global capitalism.
Why not instead of settling in for an easy summer read, you nudge your brain out of its comfort zone with some independent press selections? Below are three recent releases with an edge of the disconcerting.
At the start of Karen Green’s prismatic first book, Bough Down, it is June. “Does it begin like this?” she writes, and describes in glittering prose a pastoral arrangement of household objects: garden hose, cigarettes, fuzzy pills, artichoke stalks. The items seem innocent enough until they become intricately linked with the narrative surrounding the aftermath of the suicide of David Foster Wallace, the author’s late husband.
With summer almost upon us, we note the arrival on these shores of Mary Heilmann: Good Vibrations, published last year by Walther König, Cologne, to accompany the artist’s reception of the prestigious Biennial Award for Contemporary Art (BACA) and its related exhibition.
How did queer writers and bookish types find queer content in the past and how they do it today, when so many of the past networks would appear to have dispersed?
Holding a sign that reads “I am your worst fear, I am your best fantasy,” a photograph of a proud and defiant woman at a gay liberation march in the 1970s opens Phaidon’s newly published Art & Queer Culture, illustrating the dual visions of queer identity by the field of art history.
“In No Medium Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent … point[ing] to a new understanding of media.” So goes the back cover copy of the author’s new book, which was released in March by MIT Press. This paratextual statement, while certainly catchy, is a bit misleading regarding Dworkin’s argument as well as the actual nature of his objects of study (some of the treated works, such as John Cage’s 4 ’33” and Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, are well known while many others are not); and it risks obscuring, to some extent, the host of wonderful subtleties, the wily interpretive moves and maneuvers that can be found within the book itself.