COLUMNS

  • Books

    Manny Farber

    MANNY FARBER IS THE RAYMOND CHANDLER of American film criticism. His adrenaline prose has been pumping since 1942, when he began reviewing for The New Republic. Over the succeeding four decades, he kept his writing lean and mean, florid and furious, absolutely unique. He reviewed for Time, The Nation, The New Leader, Artforum, and a parcel of other publications. In the late ’70s, his successful career as a painter increasingly took center stage, and film gradually lost an important, always surprising apologist.

    I first learned of Farber’s criticism about twenty years ago, at the height of my

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  • Slant

    advertising doubt

    NO ONE’S CERTAIN HOW many new advertising or media columns have started up this year (four writers I know have been asked to pen them for different publications), but it’s already clear that 1998 will be remembered as the year we got wise. We the people are acting on our inalienable right to gather in coffee shops where murmurs of Dan Rather’s bias may be heard, to rate the Super Bowl commercials, to visit Websites where the big city page-ones are slightingly compared, to read of the advance or retreat of favorite pundits, to be addressed as a knowing insider, to go into the interpretation

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  • Passages

    Jean-François Lyotard

    THE PARADOXICAL TITLE GIVEN to Jean-Francois Lyotard’s Artforum essay of 1982, “presenting the unpresentable,” might retrospectively name an art and an ethic peculiar to this philosopher/critic/aesthetician who died of complications from leukemia in April at the age of seventy-three; it might characterize a long philosophical activity, without method or doctrine, carried on in many places and in many ways. For his was a singular intelligence—mobile, generous, light—that had navigated all the debates and divisions of his time. He was a man of “peregrinations” (as he called them), through many

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: JASON RHOADES

    It’s hard to imagine anything that wouldn’t be grist for Jason Rhoades’ artistic mill. At times he seems to want to swallow the world of things in a single gulp, the way you might an oyster on the half shell. At the Nürnberg Kunsthalle, the LA-based artist has mounted his hungriest show to date, “The Purple Penis and the Venus (Installed in the Seven Stomachs of Nürnberg). As Part of The Creation Myth.” Treating the institution’s seven rooms as a mammoth digestive system, he’s arranged his earlier works in a drama of cosmic bulimia.

    When I met up with with Rhoades this summer to discuss his work

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  • Top Ten

    Peter Halley

    Peter Halley is an artist and publisher of Index magazine. A retrospective of his work, “Peter Halley: Painting as Sociogram, 1981-1987,” was recently held at Kitakyushu Municipal Museum in Japan. His prints were recently on view in “New Concepts in Printmaking I” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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  • Slant

    “Black Like Who?”

    THE BAR-B-Q AT HARVARD was unexpectedly juicy. Delectable pulled pork, tangy ribs, and luscious chicken—with all the fixin’s—were served up beneath the pious eyes of those ethereal Northern European portal sculptures that have presided for generations over the serene proceedings within a hall named for Adolphus Busch, just off Harvard Yard. This piquant supper followed an edgy panel discussion titled “Black Like Who?,” one of several arranged by Ellen Phelan, James Cuno, Glenn Ligon, and Karen Dalton for the two-day conference “Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke” (after Ralph Ellison), which was

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  • Passages

    Richard Bellamy

    HE NEVER SEEMED TO AGE; they would continue to call him boyish right up to his death, at seventy, this March. Richard Bellamy’s youthfulness was as much spiritual as physical: he remained filled with wonder to the end of his days. He was an anomaly, the loose round peg in the tight square grid that the art world became. He was called an art dealer because he ran galleries, but that was hardly his vocation: he was the artist’s confidant who, when it was absolutely necessary, could negotiate the real world on behalf of those even more alienated than he. In truth, he was a terrible salesman, so

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  • Music

    Tony Conrad

    THE LONG, SLOWLY MODULATING drones on Tony Conrad’s box set Early Minimalism Volume One (Table of the Elements) are totally uncompromising, even if they do relax the listener over time; the electrified violins that produce the sounds attack tiny intervals across the audible spectrum with slightly wobbly intonation, never applicable to the equal temperament of the piano. There are four discs here, each filled with thirty minutes’ to an hour’s worth of this truculent process music; the result is occasionally reminiscent of the blues, like Little Walter inhaling one chord on an amped-up harmonica

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  • Music

    John Lurie

    JOHN LURIE FIRST WENT FISHING when he played St. James (either the Lesser or the Greater) in Martin Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Jesus (Willem Dafoe) told his disciples to “become fishers of men,” and James, cranky and irritable as usual, misheard him and thought he said fisherman.

    Today, two thousand years later, Lurie is still at it, wandering the planet, tackle in hand, fishing for the fiercest game in the seven seas, from man-eating sharks to submarine-eating giant calamari. Fishing is an art, as anyone familiar with Moby Dick or Trout Fishing in America can presumably attest,

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: GABRIEL OROZCO TALKS ABOUT HIS FILMS

    In his “Six Memos for the Next Millennium,” Italo Calvino dreams about a future poetry free of traditional obsessions with the human subject, a poetry about the world itself—about color and light and the infinite variety of things. Gabriel Orozco’s photographs have often reminded me of Calvino’s vision. In these images, the objects of the world—fruit, animals, human artifacts—assume a new dignity. Similarly, the artist’s recent films (he’s made five to date with a digital video camera during long strolls in New York City and Amsterdam) comprise unexpected sequences of the happenstance connections

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  • Architecture

    Gordon Matta-Clark

    NO ONE WENT TO FOOD FOR THE FOOD. One evening the menu might consist of hard-boiled eggs stuffed with live shrimp. Another night it might be necklaces of boiled meat bones. The cuisine, in other words, was often conceptual. But the sense of community was Four Star.

    It was a Romulus and Remus thing, the city as substitute mother for orphans who would create a new city of their own. The founders and patrons of Food—the restaurant at Prince and Wooster opened in September 1971 by Gordon Matta-Clark, Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris, and Rachel Lew—were orphans of America and its paranoid political

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