COLUMNS

  • Film

    Swiss Watch

    THE YEAR’S EDITION OF THE LOCARNO FESTIVAL—held every August alongside Lake Maggiore in southern Switzerland—was preceded by buzz of a different kind: the news that its artistic director Carlo Chatrian would be ending his five-year run to join the Berlinale in 2020. This knowledge lent an air of anticipation and ambiguity to a festival that has long embraced the unpredictable in its championing for a conception of cinema as diverse and experimental as one is likely to find at a major festival. Where else would Bruno Dumont (receiving a lifetime achievement award) share the eight-thousand-seat

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  • Performance

    Secret Side

    THE FIRST TWO DECADES of the twenty-first century have taught us that, in the future, everyone who already was famous for fifteen minutes will be exhumed from the archives and remixed, reissued, or rebooted. In an age of curated ephemera mediated by the cliquish logic of hipster exclusivity, I’m surprised that Nico’s face doesn’t cross my Tumblr dashboard more often. Then again, I mostly follow gay porn blogs on Tumblr. At this timely juncture arrives Nico, 1988, a new biopic written and directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli, with Trine Dyrholm in a spectacular, uncanny performance as Nico. The film

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  • Passages

    Aretha Franklin (1942–2018)

    WHERE I LIVE NOW, Respekt! is what we say to express surprise, admiration, and, well, respect, for a person’s achievement. In my country of origin, in the 1970s, “Respect” was my infallible litmus test for culling those with whom friendship was possible from those who didn’t know who Aretha Franklin was, or who looked with distaste or condescension on her magisterial achievements, or who openly derided them as “jungle music.” Among those who passed that first test, those with whom friendship was likely had to either move to the beat spontaneously, or at least be willing to learn. That learning

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  • Slant

    Desiring to Understand

    In conjunction with our special feature on what, where, who, and when is Enlightenment in the Summer 2018 issue of Artforum, scholar Jennifer Uleman contributes thoughts on the phenomenology and reality of reason.

    IN 2004, I was part of a public debate, designed to take up a controversy, engage the off-campus community, and maybe generate new dues-paying members of our departmental Friends of Philosophy. The debate was on same-sex marriage. Like most of the audience, I was in favor, qualms about heteronormativity notwithstanding; the university’s Catholic chaplain was against. We were in Miami.

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  • Film

    Lost and Found

    NOT LONG AFTER HER HUSBAND, the philosopher and Resistance leader Robert Antelme, was ambushed by the Gestapo in Paris in 1944 and deported to Buchenwald, Marguerite Duras logged the ensuing period of uncertainty in a diary that would spend the next four decades yellowing in a cupboard, supposedly forgotten. In 1985—one year after enthralling the world with The Lover, a slim and fathomless autofiction of scarring desires too often misread as one of brave romance—the journal was finally published, alongside other memoiristic vignettes and two fictions, as La Douleur (Pain). The word is euphemistic.

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  • Interviews

    Wong Ping

    Gradient horizons, retro computer graphics, and emojis figure prominently in the animated “fables” of the Hong Kong–based artist Wong Ping, who made his New York debut this past February in the New Museum’s triennial, “Songs for Sabotage.” Shortly after, his video Dear, Can I Give You a Hand?, 2018—involving an elderly character navigating the death of his wife, the allure of his daughter-in-law, a severe case of diabetes, and an afterlife in a computer server cemetery’s porn site—premiered in “One Hand Clapping,” which is on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York until October

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  • Music

    Reheat Waves

    THERE IS NOTHING I LOVE MORE than seeing bands of older white men reunify—off the top of my head, I can say that I’ve seen Faust, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Sonic Arts Union, and the Beach Boys all within the last four years. It’s an unholy hobby, but a hobby nonetheless. I missed the Fall, which will always be a disappointment to me, but I wasn’t going to sleep on a chance to see what remains of This Heat, the Camberwellians known for their two studio albums, This Heat (1979) and Deceit (1981), as well as their lone 12-inch, Health and Efficiency (1980). And so I forsook The Bachelorette

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  • Slant

    In the Skin of a Lion

    LATE IN THE SUMMER OF 1999 I was in love with a crust punk. We met one night when he and his friend panhandled me after I couldn’t get into a nightclub. Well maybe it was more of a bar. I don’t know because I couldn’t get in. I didn’t have a fake ID. Anyway, the friend was pale and skinny, scabs up his greenish arms. He just made the guy, who said his name was Johnny, look better. Johnny was hale and tan in his boots and ripped t-shirt. He got kicked out of seventh grade, he said, for reading Isaac Asimov, and out of his girlfriend’s Boston College dorm because he wanted her to open her eyes

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  • Performance

    Sexy M.F.

    THE NIGHT I CAUGHT BRIDGET EVERETT performing at Joe’s Pub with her band The Tender Moments, the lip of the stage—where brave souls can opt to sit under the tacit agreement that they might not return home with their dignity—looked like a scene lifted directly from a middlebrow empowerment comedy. There sat an array of average-looking 9-to-5ish types straight out of central casting—employees of life, as my friend the artist Becca Blackwell might say. Panning out further, I saw summer-casual wearing homosexuals and attendant gal pals all cheerily doing their part to exceed the two-drink minimum.

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  • Film

    Square Space

    ASIDE FROM THE OBVIOUS—the low-resolution artifacting of the square, monochrome image that leaves cirrous trails when in motion, all framed in a black box—what is most striking about the pictures produced by the Pixelvision camera is the sense of intimacy they create. Designed to be used by young, untutored shooters, the teensy plastic lens holds a foggy-but-constant approximation of “focus” without need of manual adjustment, in both long shots and close-ups as near as a few centimeters from the subject.

    That ability to get close—extremely close—was taken advantage of by Sadie Benning, who making

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  • Passages

    Antonio Dias (1944–2018)

    THE MORNING AFTER the opening of Antonio Dias’s 2009 retrospective at Daros, Zurich, the news broke that a fire in Rio had consumed the vast majority of Hélio Oiticica’s work. My second visit to the exhibition, one day later, was shot-through with a vivid sense of uneasiness and urgency. Dias and Oiticica were peers in one of the most defining moments of twentieth-century Brazilian art—the mid 1960s avant-garde that coalesced apropos of exhibitions such as “Opinião 65” and “Nova Objetividade Brasileira.” Yet no one knew what exactly had been lost forever to the flames. It was as if history was

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  • Interviews

    Maija Kurševa

    Maija Kurševa is an artist, publisher, lecturer at the Art Academy of Latvia, program director for the Riga Zine Festival, and, last but not least, cofounder of the artist-run LOW gallery in Riga, Latvia. Her work encompasses various media, from comics to sculptures, attending to recurring characters and themes with a sense of humor. “Investigation,” an exhibition of Kurševa’s recent work, is on view at kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga through September 2, 2018.

    MY RECENT DRAWINGS stem from a poem I wrote one winter in the countryside outside Berlin. I took out words and left only a few; some

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