COLUMNS

  • Film

    Gross Value

    BOXER’S OMEN (1983) MAY NOT BE THE BEST of the hex-hectored horror films turned out by the Shaw Brothers Studio beginning in the mid-1970s, but it does exemplify the qualities that make these movies prized by a small but dedicated cadre of sickies: the anything-goes spirit of excess, the air of the lurid and the lunatic, and, above all, the sheer viscous nastiness. They are movies that leave you ready to scour your pupils with a Brillo pad, their approach something like the funny-smelling kid on the playground who’d sidle up to you and go, “Hey, wanna see something gross?”

    Directed with garish

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  • Music

    Wander Woman

    MILES DAVIS DID IT thirty years into his recording career, in 1981, on The Man with The Horn. Dylan only needed thirteen years to get from Bob Dylan (1962) to Blood On The Tracks (1975). Chan Marshall took twenty-three to move from Dear Sir (1995) to Wanderer (2018). What these artists found, at the end of the arc, was the moment of synthesis, when the particulars that initially marked them moved across a divide (accidents, taxes, getting high, heartbreak) and reappeared as elements of a vocabulary. The broken and twisted and obscure tendencies were folded in and out of various styles, then

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  • Music

    To Hat and To Hold

    THE LIGHTS DIM, a slight figure in a huge plumed hat emerges from the wings, walks slowly across the stage and sits down at the piano. The lights do not come back up. “Don’t hurt me,” speak-sings Annette Peacock, launching into her first tune of the evening.  

    She might be addressing the audience. Although Annette Peacock’s career is long and distinguished enough for her to be called a doyenne of song, she remains a reclusive mystery even to devoted fans. This performance, for the 2018 October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music in Philadelphia, is likely the first time anyone in the room

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  • Interviews

    Aria Dean

    Aria Dean’s sculptures and videos examine our relationship to words and the way objects and people come to represent and exercise certain ideologies. In her solo show “lonesome crowded west,” which is on view at Chateau Shatto in Los Angeles until October 27, 2018, she looks at the dialectic between the individual and the crowd, as she discusses below.

    THE NAME OF THIS SHOW is adapted from the title of the indie rock band Modest Mouse’s sophomore album. The work, all made this year, explores the paradox of the “lonesome crowd,” my idea of being “alone together” in virtual space as a way to access

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  • Music

    Half-Life of the Blues

    WHEN A FRIEND FIRST INTRODUCED ME to the music of Loren Connors, I refused to listen to it on the grounds that it was too beautiful. In his signature electric improvisations, Connors makes use of layered swells and serrated feedback; just as arresting is his permissive handling of negative space and scattered fuzz. Connors’s playing often luxuriates in extended caesura, punctuated by thin squeals and deliberately skeletal leads. Unanchored notes seem set aloft, only to drift and kink mid-air or be cut short by little catches of breath. Always plangent and often surreal, the more recent sounds

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  • Diary

    Picture People

    A COLLECTOR OF FAMILY PORTRAITURE was telling me that these days nobody wants to prove Mark Twain right. “You do know the Twain quote, don’t you?” It was Sunday morning, and the nonchurchgoing milled about the Mercantile—Cincinnati’s toniest library—waiting for Teju Cole to begin a talk. The collector of family portraiture and I were discussing the city’s ascendency as a cultural hub. I said yes (“Of course!”) but I had sort of forgotten. Later, I Googled the full quote: “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.”

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  • Interviews

    Karl Ove Knausgaard

    This past September, the final installment of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle book series (Archipelago, 2012–18) was internationally released. Now, he has written a forthcoming book on Edvard Munch, So Much Longing in So Little Space (Penguin, 2019). “Towards the Forest,” an exhibition he curated at the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2017, is the subject of Joachim and Emil Trier’s film The Other Munch (2018), which explores the painter’s life and work through dialogues about it with Knausgaard

    (())[[I WROTE A BOOK ABOUT EDVARD MUNCH’S PAINTINGS and how people relate to him today,

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  • Passages

    Geta Brătescu (1926-2018)

    IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PICTURE Geta Brătescu and not see her in her studio (the occasional flashes of the traveling Lady Oliver aside). Not simply because the recent resurgence of interest in her work arrived at a time when her mobility was already reduced, a fact that kept her from personally presiding over the triumph of her long overdue Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale last year. Nor only because so much of her practice is thematically tied to the studio, with one of her most celebrated works—Atelierul (The Studio), 1978—quite literally enshrining its physical space against the

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  • Film

    Strangest Things

    A LOONY FAIRY TALE opens this year’s “Projections” sidebar of the Fifty-Sixth New York Film Festival. Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s Diamantino alludes to the immigration crisis, cybernetics, gender-bending, political corruption, internet crime, and global sports mania, yet it remains fanciful to the end, replete with a bevy of villains and a too-good-to-be-true hero, who gives the film its title. Diamantino Matamouros (Carlo Cotta), like Wagner’s Siegfried, is, as English comedian Anna Russell’s hilarious spoof described Siegfried, “very brave, very handsome, and very stupid.” Soccer

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  • Diary

    Do You Feel Free Now?

    ON MONDAY AFTERNOON, Chelsea Manning arrived at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on Albemarle Street for her first public appearance in the UK.

    She had flown into London the morning prior, accompanied by two immigration lawyers in case she was detained. Last year, Manning was denied entry to Canada, and this August an Australian tour had to be conducted via video from Auckland after a “delay” in the decision to grant her a visa. She was met at the airport by ICA director Stefan Kalmár, who arranged the trip and Monday’s conversation with the aid of a cast including Vivienne Westwood; the

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  • Interviews

    Zina Saro-Wiwa

    Over the past decade, the Brooklyn-based artist, filmmaker, and curator Zina Saro-Wiwa has developed a multiplatform career. Since 2014, she has led the contemporary art gallery Boys’ Quarters Project Space in downtown Port Harcourt, Nigeria. “The Turquoise Meat Inside,” her first solo gallery show in London, features recent and ongoing video works and photographs set in the oil-producing Niger Delta. The exhibition is on view at Tiwani Contemporary until October 27, 2018.

    I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED in using food as a way to explore the self. Globally, not much is known about African food

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  • Diary

    Swan Song

    DEVONTÉ HYNES’S SONGS always remind me of a phrase my grandmother would say when people—and there were dozens of them—would share a moment of deep reflection or truth with her. She’d echo their words with “Take ’em to church, honey”—not because their truth posed any religious reference but because of the nature and universality of what was being expressed. Taking someone to church is a means of sharing one’s faith and teaching one’s gospel. Hynes’s songs serve as emotional guides to process heartache, insecurities, and selfhood, but experiencing his latest tour, under his long-term

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