Cozying up to Kara?


With the Amazon Wish List, book/daddy was vaguely aware that one can store the data on an assortment of items you want at the online retailer. But I was fuzzy on the fact that the list can be public. Anyone can log in and find out your heart's desires.

So imagine my surprise in learning -- via Scott McLemee -- that Archinect has compiled a list of notable listers -- a list of famous (and not-so-famous) authors, architects and artists' gift registries.

On the list, you can get glimpses of their bookshelves and CD collections, a peek into their personal tastes. What pop artist Ed Ruscha wants is a CD compiled by the late Hunter S. Thompson that's no longer in print. Deconstructionist architect Bernard Tschumi is looking for a book on graphic designers. Rem Koolhaas is a Trekkie. DJ Spooky hankers for the DVD of the 1973 espionage-and-black-revolution thriller, The Spook Who Sat By the Door.

That last one is so perfect, you can't help but laugh -- and then wonder whether someone has created a few of these lists as tongue-in-cheek jokes. For instance, Jacques Derrida has been dead for four years, but he still has an Amazon wish list. Ditto novelist Kathy Acker, who has been dead for 11 years. She has a brief but appropriate list. Were Amazon wish lists even around 11 years ago?

The status of other wish lists are more tantalizingly ... uncertain. Kara Walker's two items, for instance.

The artist known for her nighmarish-erotic-funny-angry silhouettes about American racial history -- currently on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth -- wants an out-of-print book on public sculpture by art critic Harriet Senie and the cooing-sexy stylings of D'Angelo on his hit DVD, Brown Sugar.

Again, the selections make book/daddy smile -- and give me pause, especially when you add the fact that no address has been included where Walker's gifts can be shipped. Does Kara -- the great, bitter devastator of racial and sexual stereotypes, the creator of savage cartoons -- does she really want to curl up with the artist behind Voodoo, the singer of explicit versions of numbers like "Feel Like Makin' Love"?

But then, her exhibition is called My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. And I have to believe that this Kara Walker's wish list belongs to the artist we're talking about -- more than this Kara Walker's wish list, anyway.

July 25, 2008 4:55 PM |



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