From top: William E. Jones, The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography, 1998, still, courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; Brontez Purnell, courtesy the artist; Nguyen Tan Hoang, courtesy the author; Mariah Garnett, Encounters I May or May Not Have Had with Peter Berlin, 2012, still, courtesy the artist; Tony Ward in Hustler White (1996), written and directed by Bruce LaBruce and Rick Castro, courtesy the artists.
For his directorial debut, RashidJohnson has shot an update of Richard Wright’s controversial 1940 novel about Bigger Thomas’ seemingly irrevocable slide into the void. The screenplay by Suzan Lori-Parks changes some of the novel’s key plot points—”It’s not the book,” Elvis Mitchell told a recent FilmIndependent audience at the Arclight screening in Hollywood—but the expendability of black lives in this new NATIVE SON is, tragically, still contemporary.
“One of the criticisms of the book—and one I share—is the character’s lack of agency. Wright wrote them as archetypes.” — Rashid Johnson, at the FilmIndependent screening of NATIVE SON
As Bigger, Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) gives a performance of cool hesitation that recalls the voice and armature of James Dean and a young Keanu Reeves. For a scene at the home of Bigger’s rich, art-collecting employer, Johnson—in an audacious move—places his own 2015 painting Untitled (Anxious Man) directly behind Sanders as an angel/devil-over-my-shoulder figure.
NATIVE SON—which premieres tonight on HBO—co-stars KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Bill Camp, Sanaa Lathan, Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Elizabeth Marvel, and David Alan Grier.
Film stills, from top: Ashton Sanders in Native Son (2019); Sanders and KiKi Layne; Sanders; Sanders and Nick Robinson (right); Sanders. Photographs by Matthew Libatique, images courtesy Sundance Institute and HBO.
Film Independent photos, from top: KiKi Layne and Rashid Johnson; Elvis Mitchell, Johnson, and Layne. Film Independent Presents HBO Screening Series—Native Son, March 20, 2019, Arclight Hollywood, photographs by Araya Diaz/Getty Images.
AndreaDworkin—second wave feminism’s most controversial figure—was embraced and disowned across the political spectrum.
“Reading her now, beyond the anti-porn intransigence she’s both reviled and revered for, one feels a prescient apocalyptic urgency, one perfectly calibrated, it seems, to the high stakes of our time. In the #MeToo era, women’s unsparing public testimony—in granular detail and dizzying quantity—is at the heart of a mainstream cultural reckoning with sexual violence and harassment. ” — Johanna Fateman, on Dworkin
A new collection of Dworkin’s writing—Last Days at Hot Slit, edited by FatemanandAmyScholder, and published by Semiotext(e)—will launch this weekend at Skylight with readings by Ryka Aoki, Christina Catherine Martinez, Jibz Cameron (aka Dynasty Handbag), AnnaJoy Springer, and Nao Bustamante.
What is the relationship between novelty and innovation?
“Our understanding of what constitutes good design evolves constantly. In the last fifty years design has developed from being a tool to sell new things, to making new things in more effective ways, to imagining new systems and ways of addressing new realities. But, is novelty a fundamental aspect of good design?”*
Join independent design curator Maria Cristina Didero, OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, and Alice Rawsthorn—author of Hello_World and Design as an Attitude—for a Miartalks conversation, moderated by creative director Tony Chambers.
From top: Cooking Sections, What Is Above Is What Is Below, 2018, installation view, Manifesta12, Palermo, co-organized and directed by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, image courtesy Manifesta 12, photograph by Wolfgang Träger; Rawsthorne book cover image courtesy JRP|Ringier; CristinaCelestino, The Happy Room collection for Fendi, curated by Maria Cristina Didero, photograph courtesy Fendi.