Anne Dressen

  • Cover of Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex 2 (Éditions Grasset, 2015).

    Anne Dressen

    1 VIRGINIE DESPENTES, VERNON SUBUTEX TRILOGY (ÉDITIONS GRASSET) Virginie Despentes is one of the best and boldest living French writers, and among the only ones I can also find at every train-station newsstand. I wish Vernon Subutex, her trilogy whose volumes came out one by one during the past three years, would never end. The titular main character and his entourage are contemporary antiheroes in the best sense of the term. Despentes succeeds in emphasizing the obscurantism, social crisis, and loss of humanity of the current times, inventing a new version of Balzac’s La comédie humaine.

    2 LEE

  • Carol Rama

    ALL HER LIFE, Carol Rama stuck her tongue out. To the bigots, the fascists (from Mussolini to Berlusconi), the petit bourgeois patriarchs, the art world—to convention in general. Sticking out your tongue is childish, provocative; but it is also the physical reflex of a body under real pressure. Rama had trouble fitting in to the society in which she lived. Yet she did not invent or take refuge in another fictive one. Instead, in an undeniable resistance, she kept questioning, disturbing, and shocking the social order through her life and her art.

    When I met Rama in Turin, about three years

  • View of “Karl Holmqvist: Men Are Women,” 2015.
    picks October 23, 2015

    Karl Holmqvist

    On the window of Karl Holmqvist’s latest exhibition, the question “WHO RUN THIS MOTHER?”—a quote from Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)”—is lit in neon. The 2011 hit song whose refrain (which ends, “GIRLS!”) ignited an ongoing controversy over the authenticity of the celebrity’s brand of feminism. Holmqvist’s use of language is often rooted in pop culture as a way to deconstruct the ideologies of our time; he rearticulates social and economic phenomena, usually inseparable from gender issues and bodily politics.

    Also visible through the glass facade are eight large, square canvases. Each one rolls

  • View of “David Bowie Is,” 2013, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: David Bowie Archive.

    Anne Dressen

    1 DAVID BOWIE (VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON; CURATED BY VICTORIA BROACKES AND GEOFFREY MARSH) I visited the Bowie show with the ideal companion, artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz, in June. Bowie’s chameleon costumes are unforgettable, yet clearly cheap upon closer examination and seen among the cheesy fan memorabilia. The acme was definitely the last room: Surrounded by images of his live concerts projected on huge screens—and thanks to wireless headphones—you were randomly transported through various sounds, spaces, and times; these are the best music videos ever, from the best