COLUMNS

  • Film

    Rise, Resist

    DIRECTOR STEPHEN MAING might just be the next Laura Poitras. Poitras produced his previous short film, The Surrender (2015), on State Department intelligence analyst Stephen Kim’s prosecution under the Espionage Act, and she is the executive producer of his latest inflammatory feature, Crime + Punishment, an account of racist policing in New York and its ripple effects in Ferguson and beyond. The film focuses on two intertwined stories: the NYPD 12, a group of Latinx and black cops who stood up against racial profiling and filed a class-action lawsuit against the city, and a private investigator

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  • Interviews

    Dennis Cooper

    After his move to Paris from Los Angeles in 2005, writer Dennis Cooper’s words made the leap from the page to the stage and—more recently—to the big screen. Together with his collaborator, director/writer Zac Farley, he has created two films as disquieting and eloquent as the George Miles Cycle, the five novels—Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period—that brought Cooper acclaim as one of America’s singular and transgressive literary voices. Here, Cooper talks about the genesis of Permanent Green Light, his second feature with Farley, which premieres at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New

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  • Interviews

    Jennifer Steinkamp

    The Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s Blind Eye, 1, 2018, a roughly three-minute-long animated loop, depicts a life-size grove of birch trees cycling through the seasons, their ocular scars delivering an uncanny, plural gaze. The video is included in a survey of the artist’s work at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, titled “Blind Eye,” which comprises the first video installations shown at the museum and is on view through October 8, 2018. Here, Steinkamp talks about inspirations for “Blind Eye,” the limitations of vision, and learning to decide.

    THERE’S A FEELING

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  • Passages

    Fakir Musafar (1930–2018)

    A FEW DAYS AFTER FAKIR’S SPIRIT LEFT HIS BELOVED BODY, I went to a salon in a mall in Syracuse, New York, to get my hair dyed. Every one of the six stylists, all in their twenties and thirties, had multiple facial piercings, visible tattoos, and brightly colored hair. I marveled at how things had changed since the 1970s and 1980s, when the only kind of piercings one saw in the US were in women’s ears—and even those were rare, and tattooing was illegal in many places. I asked each of the colorfully adorned stylists if they knew anything about the history of modern-day body modification. Not one

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  • Music

    Ode to Destruction

    PETER BRÖTZMANN AND KEIJI HAINO are free improvisation elders who, as a duo, have developed a sonic theater of destruction. While composers use pitch, melody, and rhythm to establish themes and develop them, these improvisers use those tools to work in counter-intuitive ways to instigate instability and flux. Their recent show at the Chapel was SRO. While many Bay Area residents are mourning the gentrification of our cultural landscape, I honestly can’t remember a time when three hundred people gathered on Valencia Street to hear free jazz.

    In the late 1960s, critics compared Brötzmann to Albert

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  • Interviews

    Sue Coe

    “Sue Coe paints horror beautifully, ugliness elegantly, and monstrosity with precise sanity,” wrote Glenn O’Brien—RIP—in 1984 for the debut review of Sue Coe’s work in Artforum. The claim rings true today. Her anti-career career as someone “double-parked on the highway of life,” as she puts it, has been one of nonstop art as activism. “Graphic Resistance,” a survey of fifty works from the past forty years, is on view at MoMA PS1 in New York until September 9.

    I MAKE ART FOR PEOPLE ON THE FRONT LINES. That’s my family: a community of activists who are not artists but who want to use art as a

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  • Film

    Swiss Watch

    THE YEAR’S EDITION OF THE LOCARNO FESTIVAL—held every August along 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 announcement lent an air of anticipation and ambiguity to a festival that has long embraced the unpredictable in its championing of a conception of cinema as diverse and experimental as one is likely to find at a major festival. Where else would Bruno Dumont (who received 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 Duras enthralled the world with The Lover, a slim, fathomless autofiction of scarring desires too often misread as one of brave romance—the journal was finally published, alongside other memoir-like 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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