Harry Thorne

  • Tony Just, Sweet bitter, 2020, oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas, 59 × 78 3/4".

    Tony Just

    The physiology of pain is often liquid. In Anne Carson’s 2002 translation of Sappho, If Not, Winter, the poet speaks of “my dripping (pain)” as she wishes ill and exile on the man who caused her harm: “May winds and terrors / carry him off.” In Samuel Beckett’s Endgame (1957), Hamm laments “something dripping in my head. . . . A heart in my head. . . . Splash, splash, always on the same spot.” Pain spreads and swells, floods the lungs. Pain can overflow.

    But if pain is liquid, what of its residue? (Splash, splash, always on the same spot.) Tony Just paints drips and leaks, fugitive marks that

  • Ryan McGinley, Danni & Orrin, 2020, C-print, 72 × 48".

    Ryan McGinley

    The old utopias are of little use anymore—those storied havens of self-sufficient living, unbroken meditation cycles, serenity in absentia. In this new era, streets burn. Our voices crack, our heads and our hearts. Glimpsed through our contemporary disquiet, such outworn freedom narratives show themselves to be little more than escapist indulgence dressed as countercultural dissent. Where is your utopia now? Where is your fantasy?

    “My world is all fantasy,” Ryan McGinley once said before closing the circle this way: “Within my world of fantasy I am searching for moments that seem like reality.”

  • Ella Kruglyanskaya, Lemon, Peel, Milk, 2019, tempera and oil stick on panel, 19 3⁄4 × 25 5⁄8".

    Ella Kruglyanskaya

    Painting, one paints oneself into the world. Every mark, motion, or gesture is, in a sense, an extension of whomever had the audacity to make it. But such acts can be a cruel burden, for while painters are afforded the luxury of limitless reinvention, their painted doubles have a stubborn tendency to remain fixed. Painting oneself into the world, one paints an image that holds.

    Ella Kruglyanskaya, by contrast, is painting herself out—or at least painting out the approximation of herself that has taken shape throughout her career. The Latvian-born, Los Angeles–based artist is known primarily for

  • Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral during the Covid-19 shutdown. Photo:  Nick Simon / Alamy.
    slant April 14, 2020

    Letter from London

    LONELY FIGURES walk the streets of London. A service worker circles the columns of the Bank of England. A tourist slides into the shadow of Centre Point. A solitary trader is eclipsed by the shadowed dome of St Paul’s Cathedral; around him, emptiness where emptiness should not be.

    As in every western capital, photographs of vacated London streets have become ubiquitous. Lest they be misconstrued as stock architectural images, their creators ensure that the capital’s famed avenues and alleyways are always occupied by one individual, a not-too-subtle reminder that these streets were built to be

  • Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.592, Hanging, Single Lobe, Three-Layered, Continuous Form Within a Form), ca. 1958, copper wire, 12 × 12 1⁄2 × 13".

    Ruth Asawa

    We talk of weightless things: conversations, responsibilities, the bodies of those we love. We talk of them as if they are exempt from reality and rationality, as if they orbit our physical world, their meandering bodies flicking shadows on all that moves below. “A sigh is weightless,” Anne Carson writes, “yet it may interrupt the broadcast.”

    Ruth Asawa’s sculptures have that weightlessness, and cast those shadows. Rotating on taut cords, the intricate wire works resemble columns of smoke, woven nests, echoes made visual. As their many layers pulse, contract, double in on themselves, they do so

  • Caroline Coon, A Sweet Lob from 25 Yards, 2009, oil on canvas, 60 1⁄4 × 48".

    Caroline Coon

    On December 13, 2019, the day that Boris Johnson secured his victory in the UK general election, I wanted to be angry. I wanted to be angry at entitlement, capitalism, and state-sanctioned inequality; at populism, bigotry, and dumb-as-all-hell patriotism. But, truthfully, I was numb. I was cold, hungover, emptied out. My present offered me nothing. I offered nothing in return.

    Hours after learning that the Conservative Party had obtained its largest majority since 1987, I visited “The Great Offender,” an exhibition of fourteen paintings by Caroline Coon. In part, I was drawn to Coon’s history of

  • Tony Cokes, Testament A: MF FKA K-P X KE RIP, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 35 minutes 22 seconds.

    Tony Cokes

    It feels like a misrepresentation to discuss the work of Tony Cokes using complete sentences. Just as lyrics need music, dialogue delivery, and quotations context, so, too, would consideration of Cokes’s videos benefit from an element of fracture and fragment, a framework of incompleteness that this paragraph cannot hope to accommodate.

    Cokes employs a consistent formal template: Short phrases, clipped from essays, speeches, or reportage, slide across color-block backgrounds to the sound of hip-hop, pop, rock, or throbbing techno. But stable methodology is not synonymous with simplicity—or with