COLUMNS

  • Interviews

    Dora Budor

    Dora Budor’s current exhibition at 80WSE in New York blends historical fact with fable to tell the building’s story of transformation, reflecting a fascination with the ways in which subjectivity is inflected by reactive, evolving environments. Originally built in 1879 as a residence exclusively for single men, primarily artists, the so-called Benedick Building—nicknamed after the bachelor character in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing—was bought in 1925 by New York University, and turned into offices and dormitories as part of its accelerated expansion. Here, Budor speaks about starting with

    Read more
  • Passages

    ROBERT MORRIS

    ROBERT MORRIS has said that his work is a form of “investigation.” During the 1960s and ’70s, the period of Minimal, post-Minimal, and Conceptual art, he devoted attention to processes of mind and body—to making, perceiving, and knowing. He sometimes turned to models from science and technology, although he explained that his efforts were born of a desire to disprove rather than prove: to push systems in ways that exposed their lies. In his critical writing, he examined new developments in sculpture with clinical precision. Later, drawing from his early work even as he appeared to reject it,

    Read more
  • Passages

    ROBERT MORRIS

    OH DEAR BOB . . . your death is unacceptable. Your absence joins the current stampede of death, diminishing the continued conversations among my generation. Missing in action. I am so grateful for our wonderfully enriching history and for the configuration of friends and work that surrounds the years we shared. We were neighbors here in the Hudson Valley, and it’s wrenching to consider that we cannot anticipate more good times together.

    #pullquote The fact is that Site remains a visionary, transformative event that forever reshaped references to historic imagery.#

    I wanted you to know that taking

    Read more
  • Passages

    ROBERT MORRIS

    DEAR BOB,

    I’m writing at my desk where, leaned against the wall, is one of your large “Blind Time” drawings on white paper. Left hand, then right hand with time gap, the application of graphite-covered hands very much alive. This is the same desk from which I’ve received and responded to your emails for the past five years, ever since you were asked to write something about me for the Thinking with the Body catalogue. Our emails, at first related to your task, eventually evolved into a correspondence. Now I’ve been asked to write something in remembrance of you. 

    You once told me that you felt

    Read more
  • Film

    A GORY TALE OF TERROR!

    “CAN A GENIUS BE UNTALENTED, TOO?” This, for John Waters, is the vital question posed by the films of Andy Milligan, the director behind a prolific streak of distinctively seedy exploitation vehicles. Over the past several years, a number of works by Milligan, the “Fassbinder of Forty-Second Street,” have come back into circulation via home-video distributors specializing in outré offerings—BFI Flipside, Vinegar Syndrome, and, most recently, the American Genre Film Archive, which has just released hi-res scans of Guru, the Mad Monk (1970) and Fleshpot on 42nd St. (1973). Preservation initiatives

    Read more
  • Film

    COURT RULES

    SOME MOVIES tunnel into your emotions, some into your kinetic center, and some make you feel like your mind is on fire. The last are as pleasurable to think about after the fact as they are to watch. That High Flying Bird (2019), a movie about an NBA basketball lockout, is heady rather than kinetic is a surprise. Then again, maybe not, considering that its director is Steven Soderbergh, a filmmaker who gravitates toward puzzles and mindfucks but doesn’t always have scripts strong enough to sustain his vision. Here, he’s working with an exceptional writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney, who coauthored

    Read more
  • Books

    ALTERNATIVE MATH

    IN HER 1979 TREATISE on language’s limited capacity for communication, “An Inscription / / / A Work in Progress,” Swedish-American polymath Catherine Christer Hennix invokes Sylvia Plath’s radio play Three Women: “It is these men I mind. They are so flat that they want the whole earth flat.” Such resistance might well characterize Hennix herself, whose work, spanning mathematics, music, sculpture, and poetry, is anything but one-dimensional. Though she played a central role in the development of minimalist music in the late 1960s, Hennix has neither performed nor exhibited much since 1976, when

    Read more
  • Slant

    REMAINS OF THE FRAY

    PAUL VIRILIO WAS BORED on the beach one summer afternoon in 1958. Leaning against a concrete block, the young man made a 360-degree scan of his surroundings—sand, rocky cliffs, ocean. This panoramic appraisal took him all the way back to the block behind him, a “worthless object” from World War II. His vacation in Brittany was over and his career as an “archaeologist of the future” (to quote his early collaborator, the architect Claude Parent) was about to begin. For the next seven years, Virilio would travel France’s northwestern coast, photographing the abandoned bunkers of the defunct Nazi

    Read more
  • Film

    Blank Canvass

    SPOILER ALERT (sort of): What Is Democracy? doesn’t deliver an answer to its titular question or a remedy for our bleak times in the United States. What the film offers instead is a peripatetic and sweeping glance at a centuries-old problem through a chorus of shrewd assessments. And by chorus, I mean to denote ancient Greece and tragedy. This isn’t a hopeful documentary—how could it be?

    In lieu of speaking primarily with philosophers as in her past films—Zizek! (2005) and Examined Life (2008)—here writer and director Astra Taylor gathers a divergent group of interviewees: young students in Miami,

    Read more
  • Passages

    Nicola L. (1937–2018)

    WHEN THE POLICE INTERRUPTED her 1969 performance, The Red Coat Same Skin for Everyone, on the streets of Franco-era Barcelona, Nicola L. followed up by taking it to the stage in 1970. Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso had just left Brazil, fleeing political persecution, and invited her to perform with them at one of the more historic Isle of Wight festivals, where Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, and the Doors performed in front of thousands of attendees. In footage of the event, the Tropicália musicians play while a group of young people dance naked inside the coat. Nicola’s methodology was anchored

    Read more
  • Diary

    The Dreamhouse

    THE SPECTRUM WAS ONE OF THOSE RARE PLACES in the world where you could feel totally free. It was an art space, illegal nightclub, and ephemeral proof in the possibility of building an alternative queer utopia. From residence of the cofounder, the artist gage of the boone, to spiritual home for a generation of New York artists, club rats, and orphans, the Spectrum lived for seven defiant years before the Dreamhouse—its second iteration in Ridgewood, Queens—closed in fabulous, Dionysian excess this month.

    While many DIY spaces have been predictably crushed in this city’s capitalist gears, the

    Read more