Andrew Hultkrans

  • Left: Karin Kunstler-Goldman being waterboarded at a performance in conjunction with Steve Powers's Waterboard Thrill Ride, 2008. Right: Artist Steve Powers at the performance. (All photos: Sam Horine.)
    diary August 20, 2008

    Powers Trip

    New York

    I suppose it says something about where we’re at as a nation when the prospect of witnessing a live torture act in a decrepit amusement park seems like a reasonable—attractive, even—way to kick off the weekend. Or maybe it just says something about me. After all, Friday nights can be such a disappointment. But there I was, on the F train, traveling beyond Avenue X to the dark side (in this case, Coney Island) to watch artist Steve Powers and a trio of lawyers get waterboarded by a former army interrogator. (When my girlfriend canceled a drink date with a coworker to join me, her colleague quipped,

  • Chris Hall and Mike Kerry, Love Story, 2006, still from a color film, 110 minutes.
    film July 29, 2008

    Unrequited Love

    “THAT'S MY GIFT: VARIETY,” says Arthur Lee, leader of the genre-defying 1960s Angeleno band Love, commenting on his childhood sing-alongs to the disparate artists in his mother’s record collection. Interviewed in 2005 and 2006 by a pair of UK filmmakers for the first and perhaps only documentary on the legendary group (now that both Lee and his fellow songwriter Bryan MacLean have passed away), Lee seems tamped down—a lifetime of drug use and erratic behavior, plus nearly six years in prison, will do that—but proud of the ever-expanding cult of devotees that Love has attracted since the releases

  • Left: Artist Lynda Barry and scholar Hillary Chute. Right: Artist Art Spiegelman. (Photos: David Velasco)
    diary June 10, 2008

    Comic Relief

    New York

    Despite lingering cultural prejudices from bluenoses and blue-hairs, comics have periodically “arrived” on the mainstream stage since the late 1960s. Each “moment” generated reams of earnestly legitimizing articles in respectable journals trumpeting the medium’s “newfound” sophistication, artistic achievement, and adult relevance, but all failed to reach critical mass. Today, however, with Hollywood working its way through the Marvel pantheon, Adrian Tomine’s work frequently gracing the cover of the New Yorker, and museum exhibitions honoring everyone from R. Crumb to Chris Ware, it may be for

  • the Glass House Conversations

    PHILIP JOHNSON is welcoming houseguests again, if only as (g)host emeritus. Since last summer, the Glass House (1949)—Johnson’s master’s thesis and country home in New Canaan, Connecticut—has been opened to the great unwashed via guided tours, thanks to the efforts of director Christy MacLear and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Part of a larger project by the National Trust to “preserve the modern” as McMansions threaten midcentury masterworks coast to coast, the Glass House will serve as a flagship and think tank, offering fellowships and organizing programs such as the Glass

  • Left: Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless, 1960, still from a film in 35 mm, 90 minutes. Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg). (Photo: Criterion Collection) Right: The cover of Everything Is Cinema.
    film May 30, 2008

    His Life to Live

    IN THE OCTOBER 1950 ISSUE of La Gazette du cinema, a young Jean-Luc Godard, writing pseudonymously, penned a sentence that serves, for biographer Richard Brody, as a skeleton key to the legendary director’s often-inscrutable inner workings: “At the cinema, we do not think, we are thought.” Brody, a film critic and editor at the New Yorker, uses this key throughout his rigorous yet readable biographical study, as dauntingly massive as it is helpfully clarifying, to unlock the intensely personal and political influences that shaped the work of an artist as pivotal to the evolution of his chosen

  • Left: Still from Ken Park, 2003, directed by Larry Clark and Ed Lachman. From left: Peaches's father (Julio Oscar Mechosa) and Peaches (Tiffany Limos). Right: Still from Ken Park. Peaches (Tiffany Limos).
    diary May 12, 2008

    The Kids Are Alright

    New York

    It seemed a tad contradictory to walk through Brooklyn in a howling nor’easter to see a movie about nihilistic Southern California skate kids, but so it goes. I was at BAM Rose Cinemas last Friday night to catch Ken Park (2002), the as-yet-undistributed-in-the-US feature by chameleonlike cinematographer Ed Lachman, and to hear Lachman and codirector Larry Clark talk about the film. Kicking off a festival of Lachman’s lenswork, which includes I’m Not There (2007), Far From Heaven (2002), The Virgin Suicides (1999), Less than Zero (1987), True Stories (1986), Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and

  • Left: Film still from Guest of Cindy Sherman. (Photo: Spencer Tunick) Right: Gabriella Kessler, filmmaker Paul H-O, and Serena Merriman. (Photo: David Velasco)
    diary May 03, 2008

    Risky Business

    New York

    The first thing to say about the “Red Carpet Arrivals” screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival is that there were no red carpets. Or star arrivals. Or maybe just not for art-world documentaries. Well, huffle-doody-doo. But there were long lines for “eligible badge holders,” “rush” ticketees, and regular paying punters. My press badge was apparently so eligible that I didn’t have to wait at all, which made up for the lack of processional glamour. I was prepared to get all Joan Rivers on these people, but maybe we should all be thankful I didn’t have the chance. What do I know about shoes anyway?

  • Left: Slavoj Žižek. Right: A view of the stage at the NYPL. (Photos: David Velasco)
    diary March 13, 2008

    All in the Family

    New York

    With all due respect to the cantankerous Dr. Ž, I was more attracted to last Wednesday’s event—“They Live! Hollywood as an Ideological Machine” at the New York Public Library—by its title than by its star. John Carpenter’s They Live is one of my favorite cult films, a tacky sci-fi gem that built on David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and made The Matrix’s point a decade before the Wachowskis hipped gamers to “the desert of the real.” A withering satire of Reaganite America, They Live boasts perhaps the longest fight scene in cinema history and is certainly the only leftist critique with a professional

  • Left: A view of the performance. Right: Poet Anne Carson. (All photos: David Velasco)
    diary February 12, 2008

    String Theory

    New York

    If I were to apply a “Thrilla in Manila”–style sports sobriquet to Anne Carson’s reading/performance at NYU last Friday, it would be “The Skein at Skirball.” How else to describe an event where a poet—a Canadian poet, no less—drew some seven hundred people to hear her read while an amiable ponytailed fellow wrapped yellow yarn around her person and three young dancers tied themselves in knots on the surrounding stage? Did I mention that the poet had the audience vote—from three choices—on the correct pronunciation of skein? String may talk, but yarn talks louder. Let’s uncoil it and see where

  • Left: New York Times film critic A. O. Scott with Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman. Right: Museum of the Moving Image director Rochelle Slovin with artist and filmmaker Ken Jacobs at the reception. (All photos: Ixiana Hernandez, courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image)
    diary January 07, 2008

    Kings and Queens

    New York

    Who knew that the real Tinseltown was Queens, New York? I sure didn’t. Not, at least, until last Saturday, when I attended a celebration of film critic J. Hoberman’s thirty-year tenure at the Village Voice. I suppose I should have been tipped off by the borough’s retina-scorching holiday lawn art, but this was news to me. Given that both Hoberman and his legendary predecessor Andrew Sarris grew up in Queens, however, and that the evening’s venue, the noble Museum of the Moving Image, is in Astoria, the proclamation by chief curator David Schwartz that we were sitting in the heart of film culture

  • Left: Cabinet editor in chief Sina Najafi with Aaron Levy, executive director and chief curator of the Slought Foundation. Right: Jean-Michel Rabaté, senior curator of the Slought Foundation. (All photos courtesy Cabinet/Slought Foundation)
    diary December 15, 2007

    Idle Chatter

    New York

    God, how did they get me out of bed for this one? If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then theorizing about sloth is like masturbating about peace. Or something like that. And this was no Beckettian affair, with broad expanses of idle silence to contemplate nothingness at one’s leisure; this was six and a half hours of nonstop lecturing, paneling, questioning. On a Saturday. OK, there was a lunch break. But really.

    Co-organized by Cabinet, a fine magazine to which your correspondent has contributed, and the Slought Foundation, which must be the artiest organization in

  • Left: Harper's Magazine editor Roger Hodge and Naomi Klein. Right: NYPL director of public programs Paul Holdengräber. (All photos: David Velasco)
    diary September 28, 2007

    Global Warning

    New York

    From the moment I emerged from the Bryant Park subway station, I knew this wasn’t going to be your average “Live from the NYPL” event. First off, no line of punters snaked around the library, waiting for admittance. Second, instead of entering the building and sliding into the majestic Celeste Bartos Forum, I was shunted through a labyrinthine trail down halls, around corners, up one elevator, through more halls, down another elevator, and up some stairs, until I realized that I was treading on the old marble of the original edifice no longer, but on a space-age chrome superstructure built