“‘Acadian Elegies’ is a series of 24 texts that appropriate sentences from hundreds of obituaries. The source texts have not been altered except to remove proper names Their particular facts are employed to tell stories about no one in particular …” — Emile LeBrun
“Canadian-born multimedia artist and writer Clayton Patterson has lived through, and broadly documented, more of outsider culture and the evolving history of New York’s Lower East Side than anyone else of his generation. The virtually unseen archive of VHS and 8mm videos he shot there between 1986 and 2001 numbers over 2,000 tapes of astonishing diversity. … Always resolutely on the fringe, as a videographer he is best known for recording the battle between New York City police and protesters in the streets around Tompkins Square Park on the night of August 6, 1988, an event that led to multiple court appearances and appearances with Oprah and others on the talk show circuit.” — Ron Magliozzi, MoMA Curator Department of Film
“In striving for a sustained friction between the verbal and non-verbal in his practice, Gary Lee-Nova allows literature, theory, cartoon, occultism, science and music to inform and even collide in the work, but not to overtake it. And this balance is most evident when you look at his entire practice. As often as he strips down his pieces to foundational forms such as vibrating color bars, penetrating hectogons, and evolving pyramids, Lee-Nova visits with pop-culture formats like the cartoon strip, or art-historical tropes like the Dadaist riddle and the Surrealist collage. He plays with exhibition culture, as well, slyly labeling his sculpture with yet more meaning … It seems that as often as Lee-Nova is driving head-on for pure effect, he’s throwing in another dislocation.” — Sky Gooden
The books have become a worry.
They’ll live long beyond my need for them.
Looking at them this last evening,
The pages I chase, filled with fear,
Their words redacted by death
As colorful lines in time blacken
And I grow blind to the visions
That each volume contains with each year.
I would have to do nothing but read
Which I still can’t properly do at this moment . . .
— David Erdos
The Broad Museum in Los Angeles re-opens on May 26. It will include an “in-depth installation” of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, and others. Have a look at some of the Basqiats that will be on view. Totally punk. Well totally punk in its time. Now it’s historical. But it looks in pixel reproduction as fresh as ever.
It was a getaway / from the concrete city. / No bears alas / no porcupines alas / no mosquitos / no lyme-tick bites / one little fruit tree / knocked down by the wind / now gone alas / bears liked its berries / no deer alas
except one on the road / and there I was / alone alas. — jh
Have you ever seen a more revealing photo of Brion Gysin than the one on the cover of “His Name Was Master: Texts; Interviews”? It shows a profound sense of dislocation, something Gysin often talked about but rarely showed in his demeanor—which was characteristically grand and worldly and often laced with humor. This sprawling book by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge with Peter Christoferson and Jon Savage offers Gysin in talking mode. It is Gysin uncut. Having already been comprehensively reviewed in The Brooklyn Rail, it needs no review from me. More interesting than anything I might have to say is Gysin’s account of his brief, teenage involvement with the Surrealists. The disappointment, not to say trauma, of that experience was a harbinger of later ones.
‘I had in my only philosophy a faith founded like that of Socrates upon the basis of my conscious ignorance—it is a sort of sublime optimism, and I am very satisfied with my ignorance as my betters are with their knowledge …’ — John Butler Yeats in a letter to his son William Butler Yeats
Your blast calculations were
right on the money, my boy
the armored wall of poetic imagination
collapsed under your hand
But what the hell
happened to your right leg?
The knee is swollen like a pumpkin
in the African grass of your fervid nights.
Why didn’t the ship’s boilers explode
on the high seas
and put an end
to your misery?