John Waters



    Make It New
    Bruce Nauman retrospective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles: Bad news from the studio, but real news nevertheless. Twenty-five years of pieces, each of which seems to have arisen out of a condition of sudden panic—out of the terror of not knowing, of having forgotten, willfully, day after day, what art is and what an artist might do—of having forgotten, even, what an artist is. A fountain? A source of mystic truths? A cruel instructor? A tortured clown? We get one brutal, last-ditch guess after another, and the whole practice of “artmaking” is reinvented, again


    JOHN WATERS’ NEW MOVIE, Serial Mom, is not what you would call an especially plot-driven narrative. In the gentle language of literary criticism, the diegesis is subsumed by the rabid, frothy-mouthed semiosis. From the very first scene, which shows Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen Turner), the serial mom of the title, stalking a pesky fly through her exquisitely hygienic kitchen, it’s abundantly clear that this woman is totally wacko. Establishing her, uh, dark side early on, the film provides not the usual pleasures of fear and suspense but a series of increasingly ornate vignettes of mayhem. And