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Posted inArt

The Handwriting on the Wall: Authors’ Notes as Art

In grade school, cursive and print were treated like indicators of who we are. The idea seemed to be that how we write reveals something about the way we think and relate to the world. An exhibition at the Drawing Center, Dickinson/Walser: Pencil Sketches, starts from that premise and extend it further, arguing that handwritten texts by Swiss modernist author Robert Walser and American poet Emily Dickinson may not just be early drafts or sketches, but art.

Posted inArt

When I Hear the Word Poetry, I Reach for My Frequent Flyer Miles

AWP, or the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (that’s actually AWWP, but we’ll let that slide), is billed as an annual celebration of authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers and small press publishers. Every year these bibliophile masses descend on a North American city (Chicago, this year) to promote, mingle, fraternize, frolic, freak out, fight, deal, dole and drink. The book fair is the centerpiece, the polestar of the conference; a nerve-jouncing nerve center of tables and stalls and booths tucked away in the belly of the Chicago Hilton hotel on South Michigan Ave.

Posted inBooks

Steve Martin Attempts to Skewer the Art World & Fails

You may know Steve Martin from being one of our time’s defining comedians, actors and celebrity figures. But along with those first few titles, the man is also a renowned collector of contemporary art, as well as a novelist and a playwright. These pursuits could be called hobbies if they didn’t require quite so much dedication. Martin’s An Object of Beauty (2010), his third novel, attempts to combine the actor’s sidelines in writing and art into a narrative showpiece that aims a satirical skewer at the art world. Unfortunately, the punch never lands. Object of Beauty is too simplistic and editorializing for an art world-savvy audience and too limping for readers just looking for a punchy narrative.