COLUMNS

  • Top Ten

    Greil Marcus

    Greil Marcus is a contributing editor of Artforum. His “The Bosnian Connection” is included in Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude, edited by Dave Marsh (Viking, 1994).

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  • Music

    Pavement

    Chaque époque rêve la suivante . . . consciousness or unconsciousness cannot simply depict it as a dream, but responds to it in equal measure with desire and fear.

    —Theodor Adorno, letter to Walter Benjamin, 1935, in Aesthetics and Politics

    Out on tour with Smashing Pumpkins/Nature kids, they don’t have a function/I don’t get what they mean/And I could really give a fuck./Stone Temple Pilots, they’re elegant bachelors/They’re foxy to me/are they foxy to you. . . .

    —Pavement, “Range Life,” on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, 1994

    THE ERA IN QUESTION IS MERELY a moment after all—1994, months after

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  • Books

    Lisa Jones' Bulletproof Diva

    Lisa Jones, Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex, and Hair (New York: Doubleday, 1994), 306 pages.

    REFUSING TO SEE THE WORLD in simple black and white doesn’t mean being color blind. The nauseatingly liberal whine “Why do we always have to talk about race? I don’t see people in terms of color” is not an antiracist expression of solidarity, it’s just another way to keep blackness and other forms of color otherness at bay. Hey folks, here it is once and for all: black-woman-ness is no less globally relevant and powerful than any other identity or group of identities experienced in one body—white

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  • Books

    Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger

    Thomas McEvilley and Amiri Baraka, Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993), 160 pages, 128 illustrations.

    THE ART OF THORNTON DIAL, a remarkable black artist of Alabama, recently challenged New York at the New Museum on Broadway downtown and at the Museum of American Folk Art off Broadway uptown. One message was, or seemed to be, Abandon your theoreticism and get on down to line, form, and color, and to social criticism in vernacular terms. Randall Morris argues that academic discourse is inadequate when aimed at visionary artists like Dial.1 I would agree: black

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  • Music

    the Plastic People of the Universe

    THE SCENE IS RIGHT out of a dialectical fairy tale: a band that once upon a time became a subterranean legend, an avatar of freedom and refusal, reunites to record a live album. The group reaches back almost a quarter century into its repertoire to dredge up the now-quaint signature tune “Waiting for the Man.” Only this isn’t the Velvet Underground finally paying a call on a stadium-full of adoring fans somewhere in Europa, but a much more obscure and mysterious outfit that sprang from such fandom itself in the waning days of 1968: the Plastic People of the Universe.

    Born in the wake of the

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  • Books

    The Diary of Jack the Ripper

    The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The Discovery, the Investigation, the Debate by Shirley Harrison. New York: Hyperion, 1993.

    Visitors to Madame Tussaud’s in 1974 ranked [Jack the Ripper] third on a list of most hated and feared (edged out only by Adolph Hitler and Richard Nixon).

    —Jane Caputi, The Age of Sex Crime, 1987

    There lives within me . . . a monstrous hybrid of the perpetrator, victim, and witness. . . . Siamese triplets with no circus to escape to, a complicitous Holy Trinity that is the closest thing to authenticity that we can experience in the land of Nod.

    —Mark Alice Durant, “Overexposures

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