Posted inPerformance

Ashes to Ashes, Words to Dance

The program for Rashaun Mitchell’s Nox contains a lone explanatory note: “When my brother died I made an epitaph for him in the form of a book. This is a replica of it, as close as we could get.” The words belong to the poet Anne Carson, and they come from the back cover of her eponymous book, published in 2010. They make you wonder: Is what we’re about to see a replica of that book, in the form of a dance, as close as the artists could get? A replica of a replica?

Posted inArt

The End of Performance Art as We Know It

So I clicked on Jillian Steinhauer’s post — “Is Marina Abramović Trying to Create a Performance Art Utopia?” — and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Why does it look like a suburban public library, circa 1962?” What I’m talking about is the architectural rendering from none other than OMA’s leading lights, Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas, gracing the head of Steinhauer’s article, which was published by Hyperallergic on Monday.

Posted inBooks

“Writing with Scissors”: Graham Rawle’s Woman’s World

Last month, the UK-based novelist Graham Rawle gave a lecture at Antenna Media Centre in Nottingham called “Writing with Scissors.” Writing with scissors — a synonymous phrase for textual collage — would seem to aptly describe the compositional process of Woman’s World, Rawle’s handsomely designed and cleverly concocted novel that was first published in Britain in 2005.

Posted inArt

A Bird’s-Eye View of Heaven

By all accounts, Pearl Blauvelt (1893–1987) was a recluse who lived in northeastern Pennsylvania in a house without running water, plumbing or central heating. Her neighbors referred to her as the “Village Witch.” In the mid 1950s, she was declared incompetent and moved to a facility where she resided until she died. The house she lived in stood vacant for nearly fifty years, until it was bought and restored. The people who bought the house discovered Blauvelt’s drawings in an old wooden box lodged under long-abandoned piles of things.

Posted inArt

What You’d Least Expect on the Lower East Side

The reemergence of Pocket Utopia — not in Bushwick but on the southernmost lip of Manhattan’s Lower East Side — in partnership with the uptown fine prints and drawings dealer C. G. Boerner, might strike some as an offbeat, even aberrant choice. But having gotten to know Austin somewhat after writing about her solo show at Storefront in 2010, it made sense to me that she wouldn’t attempt to repeat herself.

Posted inArt

Free-Floating on the 13th Floor: Caroline Cox at the Clocktower

Moving through Caroline Cox’s immersive installations at the Clocktower, the venerable exhibition space on the 13th floor of a city-owned building in Lower Manhattan, is like peeling free from gravity. Although you don’t literally leave the ground, the sculptures’ pulsing aureoles do their best to convince you otherwise. One moment you’re in the institutional-white hallway of a neglected municipal building and the next you’re among star clusters and jellyfish, crepuscular clouds and aggregating amoebae.

Posted inBooks

Call and Response: Kathleen Fraser’s “movable TYYPE”

Although Kathleen Fraser has long divided her time between San Francisco and Rome, her most recent collection, movable TYYPE (Nightboat Books), reminds us of her poetry’s New York roots. She glosses the title of the volume’s first poem, “Orologic,” as proposing “a particular time frame for entering memory-life, NYC mid ‘60s / Lower East Side,” and recalls the intoxication of “new push-back urban energies delivered via paint, dance and music specifically American-made as in John Coltrane, John Cage, Yvonne Rainer, Joe Brainard, Joan Mitchell…. Sentences dangled in one’s ear of such surprise you could only seek the solitude of your journal and try to break the code.” What Fraser has taken to transcribing in her poetry is not emotion recollected in tranquility but rather a particular fluttering of the nerves, carried over into the act of writing.

Posted inArt

Are Artists the Best Curators?

The most galvanizing room, hands down, in the current Whitney Biennial is the Forrest Bess micro-retrospective put together by sculptor Robert Gober. And on Tuesday, in what could be a trend, another museum-quality exhibition opened, organized by another sculptor — Matthew Day Jackson’s “Science on the back end” at Hauser & Wirth.

Posted inArt

Can We Still Learn To Speak Martian?

Let us start with two addresses just a few blocks from each other in San Francisco, and what was happening there in the early and mid-1950s. On Halloween, 1954, the Six Gallery opened at 3119 Fillmore Street in San Francisco. The six founders were Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington, Hayward King, David Simpson, John Ryan and Jack Spicer. Their shared interest was to have a place to exhibit art and host literary events, to put art and poetry on the walls, side by side. At the debut exhibition, Spicer’s poems were in fact on the wall, just like the paintings and drawings of the other co-founders.