Trapped in the fog of conscientious obscurantism, Twitter-wracked neurosis, blatant bungling, executive-order malfeasance, lurking corruption, lifeboat ethics, and neo-fascist quasi-ideology, we may well want to look for clues to the interior life of the Social Darwinist thug presently making a landfill fire of the federal government.
"I'm a spirit master," avant-garde jazz composer and bandleader Sun Ra once said in his own inimitable fashion. "I've been to a zone where there is no air, no light, no sound, no life, no death, nothing. There's five billion people on this planet, all out of tune. I've got to raise their consciousness, tell them about the wonderful potential to bypass death."
As a side-earner, the writer and artist Leonora Carrington painted fakes. At least, that’s what she once stated in an interview, daring her admirers to doubt her artistic authenticity.
It has been decades now since one could snicker at someone caught out by the lack of loose connections. In the India in which I grew up, it was taken as a reasonable excuse for not being in touch to say you “couldn’t get through” on the phone.
The time has come to talk about time, which is going to sort of be the subject of this part of our talk today. Time is a problem that goes way beyond literature and encompasses the very essence of man.
The future of contemporary art resides in waste, in the repulsive remainders of totalitarian capitalism stored in warehouses, abandoned housing blocks, and the sort of places that the robot in the film WALL-E had devoted his life to cleaning.
Their average age is twenty-three. They don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they don’t stay up late. Many of them listen to punk or heavy metal or rock, but all are able to differentiate a pericón from a Chilean cueca, a waltz from a vidala.
The World of Manet
can’t find the draft of my new poem The World of Manet
that I wrote on the Metro-North last month
after finding and taking art books from a box on the street
I remember driving into Marfa the first time. He’d said ‘Oh, I rented a house.’ I kept pointing at houses saying “Is that it? Is that it?”
I have three beautiful children and I love to look at them, but in terms of posting their pictures on social media, I have decided to opt out.
On my desktop (my laptop, not my actual desk) are .jpgs of paintings of women reading books. I dragged them there from the Internet, not quite knowing why I was doing it. But now I realize something in me relaxes when I look at them. The women are all in repose, sitting or lying down.
I’m watching a daughter film herself and her mother as they disintegrate side by side. The film is a series of small accumulations, low-level devastations, but I feel untouched until there’s a long shot of some desolate beige land (I’m not sure if it’s Israel or Nebraska).
What most immediately impresses me about Donald Breckenridge’s novel And Then is how remote his predecessors are from our contemporary moment, yet how immediate the book feels regardless.
In Chicago, I had a friend whose mother died when she was young. By the time I knew her she had long since finished mourning, but she had not yet overcome the need to mourn.
Five days into the month-long process of Saint Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises, Jesuit novitiates are asked to meditate on hell.
"The last picture in the book is of this steamer belching smoke with all these cows in the foreground. The people who made that picture and then published it thought it was charming and picturesque. You want to warn them what’s coming.”
hides not in the minute but rather glories in the hour,
in the space of reformation.
If the twentieth century, as Walter Benjamin characterized it, was the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the twenty-first century will be the Age of Simulation.