Tag Archives: Jill Johnston


Support your independent press. The LA ART BOOK FAIR 2020 has moved online, with links to all scheduled exhibitors and publishers.

From top: AA Bronson, After General Idea, courtesy and © the artist and Three Star Books, Paris; Jill Johnston, The Disintegration of a Critic, edited by Fiona McGovern, Megan Francis Sullivan, and Axel Wieder, courtesy and © Sternberg Press; Daido Moriyama, Visions of Japan, courtesy and © the artist and Komiyama, Tokyo; Linder, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero IV, 2012, courtesy and © Linder Sterling, Modern Art, London, Dépendance, Brussels, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm and Paris, and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo (Linder, Linderism, Cambridge: Kettle’s Yard, 2020); McKenzie Wark, Reverse Cowgirl (2020), courtesy and © the author and Semiotext(e); Matthew Brannon, Avery Singer, 2015, courtesy and © the artist, JRP Ringier, and Art Catalogues.


Biography—the 12th issue of GIRLS LIKE US—features interviews with Amy Sillman and Marilyn Waring, a poem by Hanne Lippard, and articles, essays, and projects by Nadia Hebson, Jill Johnston, Rebecca E. Karl, Nina Lykke, Sara Manente, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Chris E. Vargas, and Amy Suo Wu, among others.

Join Jessica Gysel, Sara Kaaman, Katja Mater, and Marnie Slater for the issue’s launch in Rotterdam.


Sunday, December 29, from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Tender Center

Zaagmolenstraat 127a, Rotterdam.

Girls Like Us, from top: “Biography” launch announcement, “More or less female” T-shirt by Everybody; “Second witch in a week!” T-shirt by Butchcamp; Girls Like Us issue 12 cover; “Titty Tote”; “The Lesbian Body” T-shirt, featuring excerpt from Monique Wittig’s text. Images courtesy and © the designers, the authors, the photographers, the models, and Girls Like Us.


In 1963 and 1964, Andy Warhol captured dancer-choreographers Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, and Freddy Herko, and Village Voice dance critic Jill Johnston with his Bolex—performing in lofts, on rooftops, and at Judson.

These cinematic time capsules will be screened this weekend and next at the Whitney, and in early December at MOMA.

The films include Jill Johnston Dancing, Freddy Herko, Jill and Freddy Dancing, Lucinda Childs, and Shoulder.



Saturday, November 17, at 7 pm.

Friday, November 23, at 2 pm.


Through March 31.

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York City.



Tuesday, December 4, at 7:30.

Saturday, December 8, at 4:30 pm.


Through February 3.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City.

Above: Andy WarholJill Johnston Dancing, 1964.

Below: Andy Warhol, Jill and Freddy Dancing, 1963.

Image credit: © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.


Chris Kraus, interview, Sleek 53 (Spring 2017): 57.

“I was writing a column for an art magazine, Artfest, in the late ’90s and early 2000s. I had just moved to L.A. and I really didn’t know that much about art. I still don’t—actually I have a very limited knowledge of great art—but I had to come up with a column every three months! So what I did was I ended up writing about all the conditions around me, combining a description of the arts with everything else that I was doing and seeing and thinking and feeling. It was about discovering L.A. and a lot of it was about living alone for the first time. But I copied that from Gary Indiana, he did something similar in the Village Voice in the 1980s—he copied it from Jill Johnston, who did that in the late ’50s and the early ’70s. And I think if we go back into history and art criticism, we can talk about Proust doing that and the damn radical depiction of visual art that’s contained within some of the books in In Search of Lost Time. I mean there’s a great tradition of writers embracing and describing and understanding and interpreting visual art, and it doesn’t have to come from a purely technocratic and theoretical place….

“It’s not that I can only think about my own little life, but when I think about larger things, I like to think about larger things in simpler and more human ways….”


Chris Kraus.



In the 1960s and ’70s, Norman Mailer was America’s loudest public intellectual, a boozing, brawling cartoon of machismo who, nevertheless, was a leading man of the Establishment Left. (He was a co-founder of The Village Voice and wrote Armies of the Night, a landmark text on the anti-Vietnam War movement.*) After Kate Millett, in her book Sexual Politics, described Mailer as “a prisoner of the virility cult,” he attempted to get his own back in an essay (“The Prisoner of Sex”) that took up nearly the entire March 1971 issue of Harper’s.

In the uproar that followed, Mailer was asked to moderate the “Dialogue on Women’s Liberation” panel at Town Hall in Manhattan, an event captured on film by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker in TOWN BLOODY HALL, and, in an exhilarating new stage production by the Wooster Group, dramatized as THE TOWN HALL AFFAIR.

The power and value of THE TOWN HALL AFFAIR (directed by Elizabeth LeCompte) are most apparent when the women on the panel speak to one another and to the audience. Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch), Diana Trilling (columnist for Partisan Review and The Nation), and Jill Johnston (Voice columnist and author of Lesbian Nation whose incantatory, shambolic radicalism is, to this day, transfixing) are portrayed by Maura Tierney, Greg Mehrten, and Kate Valk with a precision and, yes, delicacy that marshal a force much stronger than Mailer’s reckless buffoonery. (Mailer, unable to sustain the multitude of his contradictions, is simultaneously played by Ari Fliakos and Scott Shepherd, whose mismatched actions come together in a blur.)

Except for an opening monologue and coda (and a brief reenactment of scenes from Mailer’s film Maidstone), the dialogue for TOWN HALL the play is taken from TOWN HALL the film, which also screens onstage. This doubling produces an uncanny effect, at once majestic and comic. One scene from the documentary not included in the play (which runs about 65 minutes) takes place during the Q & A portion of the 1971 event. A writer with one book behind her (but many more to come) stood and asked the moderator a question:

“Mr. Mailer, in Advertisements for Myself, you said, ‘A good novelist can do without everything but the remnant of his balls.’ For years, I’ve been wondering, Mr. Mailer: When you dip your balls in ink, what color ink is it?” — Cynthia Ozick**


THE TOWN HALL AFFAIR, through April 1.

Tuesday through Saturday at 8:30 pm; Sunday, March 26 at 3 pm.

REDCAT, Disney Hall, downtown Los Angeles


*Armies of the Night (1968) is a “non-fiction novel,” and as a long-form example the “New Journalism,” it was preceded by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Hunter Thompson’s Hell’s Angels (both 1966), and immediately followed by Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968).

**For Ozick’s complete statement and question, and Mailer’s response, see “I Love Cynthia Ozick” on YouTube.

Scott Shepherd and Ari Fliakos as Norman and Norman, and Kate Valk as Jill Johnston, in the Wooster Group production of The Town Hall Affair, at Redcat. Photograph by Steven Gunther

Scott Shepherd and Ari Fliakos as Norman and Norman, and Kate Valk as Jill Johnston, in the Wooster Group production of The Town Hall Affair, at Redcat.
Photograph by Steven Gunther