David Levi Strauss

  • Crack Wars

    Crack Wars: Literature/Addiction/Mania, by Avital Ronell. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

    IN AN INTERVIEW scheduled to be aired on the BBC’s “Theory in the Art World” program later this year, Semiotext(e) publisher Sylvère Lotringer says that too many American artists and writers have gotten bogged down in the formality of recent French theory and that he looks forward to the next stage: “I think there was perhaps a misreading not so much of French theory, but the way French theory was produced. So you find Americans intimidated by the literality of theory. Why? Get the

  • Toi Hoang

    Toi Hoang was born near Saigon in 1962 and fled Vietnam at age 13, just as the city fell and the last of the U.S. troops evacuated. Hoang set out in a small boat on the South China sea with his mother and brother (his father and sister had died in the war) and eventually reached the Philippines, where they were shuffled from one refugee camp to another. They finally settled in San Jose, California, and, some years later, Hoang began the “Stretcher” series, a remarkable group of sculptural paintings that manages to evoke the gruesome aftermath of a collapsed tunnel system and the psychic aftermath

  • Afrika

    Afrika (born Sergei Bugaev in 1966) is part of the generation of Russian artists who began to show just before glasnost and have subsequently received the full benefit of Gorbachev’s 1988 decision to encourage Russian artists to exhibit abroad. This installation, exhibited at the Lenin Museum in Leningrad last September, and now beginning a tour of the U.S., Canada, and Europe, operates at the fulcrum of East/West cultural symbolic systems where sacral and ideological values contend.

    At the center of Donald Destruction, 1991, is a large pendulum, mounted on a makeshift armature and placed in

  • Mary Frank

    Throughout her career Mary Frank has struggled to give form to essential dualities: feminine and masculine, birth and death, joy and sorrow, presence and absence, transience and transcendence. Although the impact of her largely figurative work has been considerable, it has seldom been overtly political. Her subjects have been drawn from myth and natural history rather than from human history, that is, until “The Cart Series.”

    “The Cart Series” is a group of monoprints on rice paper made in 1985–86. Each print in the series takes the form of a diptych juxtaposing various versions of two images:


    The light was there, illuminating the roses and the portrait, and flags around them, perhaps, bundled up, in the humblest popular solemnity.

    —Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Divine Mimesis

    THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF SEBASTIÃO Salgado leave remarkably durable afterimages that reappear long after one walks away from them. One that recurs to me often is from a Mexican cemetery. Centered in the foreground is a mongrel dog, seated like a sphinx on the raised concrete slab of a gravestone. Lighted tapers and funereal flowers surround it as several cloaked mourners move off into the mist above. The closest mourner

  • McDermott & McGough

    Grover Cleveland has just been elected President of the United States; Sir Francis Galton is busy proving the individuality of fingerprints; H. G. Wells is dreaming about The Time Machine; and George Eastman is set to begin manufacturing coated photographic paper.

    As we accelerate toward the end of the 20th century, retro-graphers David McDermott and Peter McGough are doing everything they can to evoke and inhabit the end of the 19th. In their latest attempt to create a “perfect time machine,” Messrs. McDermott and McGough have focused on the year 1884, presenting a series of photographs purportedly

  • Jerome Caja

    This show of 150 miniatures by Jerome Caja (all works 1988) had more spunk and eloquence per square yard than any local exhibition in recent memory. Caja’s work is usually described in terms of outsider or folk art, terms that always remind me of what Big Bill Broonzy said when asked if what he did was “folk music”: “I guess all songs is folk songs,” he said,“I never heard no horse sing ’em.”

    These “Cosmetic Miracles,” as the artist calls them, are painted on small change trays, saucers, squares of black flocked paper, sandpaper, wood, and Masonite. They are mounted on lace, crushed cans, scrap