Coco Romack



    IT SHOULD BE ASTONISHING that the artist Ron Athey has received his first retrospective, at New York’s Participant Inc, only now, in 2021. But the steadfast alterity of his aesthetic has made this extreme belatedness, although unacceptable, perhaps understandable. Since his rise to prominence in the early 1990s, Athey has generated a series of unforgettably transgressive tableaux and received backlash and been blacklisted on two continents for his pains. It is always a challenge to curate performance art for gallery and museum spaces, but Athey’s particular stripe of excess has led

  • Yuji Agematsu

    In one scorching 1973 performance, jazz drummer Milford Graves unleashes a maelstrom of thunderous high-speed slams upon his kit. This display, captured on black-and-white film and recirculated as the opening to the 2018 documentary Milford Graves Full Mantis, shows the recently departed percussionist thrashing wildly as he arches over a snare-stripped set of gongs and cymbals, holding his sticks tight at the center. At certain times, he strikes the tom-toms with such velocity and precision that no roll emerges; at other moments, he beats down with his elbows instinctively, as if playing a bongo.

  • picks October 02, 2020

    Jonathan Lyndon Chase

    The viral ascendance of Atlanta rapper Lil Nas X’s SoundCloud-born breakout “Old Town Road,” a hip-hop production dyed with Western clichés, rode a resurgent fascination with rodeo aesthetics that permeated pop culture. Largely propelled by Black musicians such as Solange and Megan Thee Stallion, the “yeehaw agenda” (a phrase coined on Twitter in 2018 by the content creator Bri Malandro) stirred a media-wide discourse about the conservative, racialized gatekeeping of country culture that controversially resulted in the removal of Nas X’s hit from Billboard’s genre-specific chart. In a new