Category Archives: LITERATURE/POETRY

LITLIT BOOK FAIR

This weekend, join Dagny Corcoran of Art Catalogues, Michaela Unterdörfer of Hauser & Wirth Publishers, artists Alexandra Grant and Paul McCarthy, writers Melissa Broder and Alissa Nutting, and poets Yesika Salgado and Vickie Vértiz—among many others—at LITLIT, the Little Literary Fair, at Hauser & Wirth in downtown Los Angeles.

The fair is presented by the Los Angeles Review of Books and Hauser & Wirth Publishers. See link below for special talks and events, and participating publishers, booksellers, and vendors.

LIT LIT BOOK FAIR

Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21.

11 am through 6 pm.

Hauser & Wirth

901 East 3rd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

Top two images courtesy Hauser & Wirth; third from top courtesy Kaya Press, remaining images courtesy Art Catalogues (open book and “Grass Piece” page images from Lee Lozano, Not Working). Images © the artists and publishers.

SAN FRANCISCO ART BOOK FAIR

If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to stop by the art book fair this weekend.

SAN FRANCISCO ART BOOK FAIR

Friday through Sunday, July 19 through 21.

1275 Minnesota Avenue, San Francisco.

From top: Shannon Ebner, A Side, 2018, original floor design by Elizabeth LeCompte from the Wooster Group’s production Early Shaker Rituals: A Record Album Interpretation, photographed at the Performing Garage, New York City, July 5th, 2018, courtesy Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Luca Antonucci, IO print, two-color silkscreen on fluorescent paper, edition of 24, courtesy Colpa Press, San Francisco; Lee Friedlander, Arkansas, 1961, in Signs, Fraenkel Gallery; Carolee Schneemann, Uncollected Texts, 2018, courtesy Public Information and Artbook/D.A.P.; Stéphanie Gygax, People in a Faraday Cage, courtesy Side Issues, Zürich; William S. Burroughs, Roosevelt After Inauguration, and Other Atrocities, City Lights, San Francisco, 1979, courtesy G.F. Wilkinson Books, Grass Valley, California; Joshua Leon, Howie Street Quadruplet, courtesy The Everyday Press; Linda Zeb Hang/WAY WZA, Pattern Erosion, 2018, carvings on raised mesh canvas, courtesy Fist, California; Colorists 1950–1965, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1965, courtesy Modlitbooks, California; Lucy Lippard, 4,492,040, 2012, courtesy New Documents, California. Images courtesy and © the artists, writers, and publishers.

CHANTAL AKERMAN — MY MOTHER LAUGHS

A new English-language translation of MY MOTHER LAUGHSChantal Akerman’s final book—is out now from The Song Cave.

“She’s constantly saying the same thing over and over again and when I say to her you already told me that, she gets mad.

I don’t have the right to speak here anymore, I’m stopped immediately.

The next time she repeats herself I say nothing, but I sigh.

She catches it or not, I don’t know.

She says nothing and continues her taxi and airport story, about a wealthy woman who was in the hospital with cancer and a man who was in the hospital because he had fallen in his apartment at 48 years old, still in his prime. Now it will never be the same again. He was still walking and eating fine.

It rains, it rains. Yet it’s summer.” — Chantal Akerman, from My Mother Laughs, translated by Corina Copp.

Book cover image, with photograph of Chantal Akerman by Babette Mangolte, courtesy and © The Song Cave, 2019; Chantal AkermanNo Home Movie, 2015, video still, courtesy and © Icarus Films; Akerman with her mother, courtesy and © The Song Cave.

DOUGLAS CRIMP

Douglas Crimp—art historian, essayist, educator, author (Before Pictures), editor (October, throughout the 1980s), curator (Pictures)—died this morning in New York City.

“[In Before Pictures] I was interested in putting together two aspects of my life that were fairly difficult to negotiate in my first decade in New York—my art-world self and my gay-world self—at a time when both those worlds were highly experimental. I experienced innovation, experimentation, and transformation in the queer world and the art world simultaneously but mostly separately. I had to figure out how to make my two worlds, if not cohere, at least not be absolutely in conflict. My hope for Before Pictures is that it will provide a ‘queer history’ of both these worlds by putting them in conversation. I expect it might change how we think of 1970s gay culture, which we know mostly from the work of historians who write about the flourishing of gay politics. It might also change how we think about the art world of the ’70s.

“I had several different motivations for writing the book. One is that, in my ACT UP days, I made a whole bunch of younger friends, people mostly twenty years younger than me. I experienced the extraordinary explosion of gay culture during the 1970s, but they didn’t. I talked about it, they asked me about it, and on a couple occasions people said, you should really write about the gay ’70s in New York. That is not only because of their interest in what I was saying but because we were all horrified by the new narrative that was being put in place by gay conservatives. This narrative held that the ’70s represented our immaturity, an immaturity that led inevitably to AIDS, which in turn made us grow up and mature, become good citizens who wanted to get married and settle down and behave ourselves. I opposed that narrative in all of my AIDS writing.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Jarrett Earnest*

“It has always seemed to me, given what little I understand or have experienced of seeking sexual partners over the internet, that people not only advertise who they want to appear as, but also believe they truly know who they are and what they want. What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want, which might open you to partners of different races, to differently abled partners, and certainly to people with different sexual proclivities. I tried many things that frankly I was quite repelled by, but I was just being a good liberationist, thinking, ‘OK, I can’t say, No, I don’t do that, or That’s not who I am.’ I didn’t necessarily seek such things out a second time, but I often surprised myself. I guess that would be my question to you: How much do you surprise yourself?

“My experience of diversity and of racial discourses was all in my queer life, not in my art world life. The latter was a very white world, no question. There only began to be a consciousness about the paucity of women artists and numbers of black artists in the Whitney Biennials around that time. We’ve moved some from there. It was also the time when the Museo del Barrio was founded as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream art world. But I would have had to go pretty far afield from my own activities and experience to bring that stuff in. So it really came in terms of my other life, essentially. I experienced that as just one of the really big differences between the kind of people I knew in the art world and the kind of people I knew in the queer world…

“The interdisciplinary or hybrid quality of the memoir flows from that juxtaposition that started with the first chapter, in which I discuss what I call ‘my two first jobs,’ haute couture with Charles James and conceptual art with Daniel Buren at the Guggenheim; two seemingly incommensurate things, I use that sort of incommensurability throughout as a means through which to interrogate both sides. I do this in the chapter about [George] Balanchine and  [Jacques] Derrida, for example. The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history of both. I’m hoping that is what the book accomplishes. It’s a history of New York in the 70s, it’s a very personal history, but I think it is also a broader history.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Malik Gaines**

See Crimp on Trisha Brown.

See David Velasco on Crimp.

*”Douglas Crimp with Jarrett Earnest,” Brooklyn Rail, 2016; reprinted in Jarrett Earnest, What it Means to Write About Art (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2018), 102–118.

**”Conversations: Douglas Crimp and Malik Gaines,” Document 9 (Fall-Winter 2016): 130–133.

From top: Douglas Crimp in the 1970s; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp in his loft on Chambers Street, downtown Manhattan, circa 1975; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp (right) and Daniel S. Palmer in New York City, 2016, photograph by Katherine McMahon; book cover University of Chicago Press and Dancing Foxes Press; Pictures exhibition catalog, Artists Space, 1977. Images courtesy and © the author’s estate, the photographers, and the publishers.

TONI MORRISON — THE PIECES I AM

“Navigating a white male world wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t even interesting. I knew more than them.” — Toni Morrison

TONI MORRISON—THE PIECES I AM—the new documentary by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, now in theaters—is a joyous, exhilarating look at the life and work of a great American author, teacher, and editor who has always been happy to be labeled a “black writer,” a “woman writer.”

“I didn’t want to speak for black people. I wanted to speak to, and among…”

And it is shocking, in Greenfield-Sanders documentary, to come across such benighted critical voices as, say, Sara Blackburn’s in 1973, in America’s supposedly liberal newspaper of record:

“Toni Morrison is far too talented to remain only a marvelous recorder of the black side of provincial American life.”*

Removing the white male gaze as the dominant voice is a key element of Morrison’s practice, and she doesn’t hesitate calling out black writers who seemed to write to white audiences. Citing Ralph Ellison, she asks, “The Invisible Man? Invisible to whom?”

As a senior editor at Random House throughout the 1970s, Morrison discovered and championed books by Gayl Jones, Toni Cade Bambara, and Bettie Wysor (author of The Lesbian Myth). She also persuaded Angela Davis—then in her late twenties—to write her autobiography.

“Eventually I learned that the book she wanted to publish was the book I wanted to write… She helped me access my imagination in ways I continue to be grateful for today.” — Angela Davis

Song of Solomon (1977) was Morrison’s first best seller, and five years later she left her editor’s post to devote her time to writing and teaching. She’s professor emeritus at Princeton University, and often told her students, “I know you’ve been told, ‘write what you know.’ I don’t want you to do that. You don’t know anything.”

TONI MORRISON—THE PIECES I AM features interviews with Morrison’s friends and colleagues—Walter Mosley, Farah Griffin, Fran Lebowitz, Paula Giddings, Hilton Als, Sonia Sanchez, editor Robert Gottlieb, and Davis—as well as a rich selection of contemporary artwork by, among others, Mickalene Thomas, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, David Hammons, and Rashid Johnson.

TONI MORRISON—THE PIECES I AM

Now playing.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Landmark

10850 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*Sara Blackburn, review of Sula, by Toni Morrison, New York Times, December 30, 1973.

From top: Toni Morrison, photograph from Toni Morrrison—The Pieces I Am; Morrison, photograph courtesy and © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Morrison with her sons Ford Morrison (left) and Slade Morrison in 1978, photograph by Jack Mitchell, Getty Images; poster courtesy Magnolia Pictures; Morrison and Greenfield-Sanders, photograph courtesy and © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Images courtesy and © the author, the photographers, and Magnolia Pictures.