Sean J Patrick Carney

  • View of Dineo Seshee Bopape’s Lerato le le golo (...la go hloka bo kantle), 2022, Ironage Road, Wonder Valley. All photos unless otherwise noted: Sarah Lyon.
    slant July 08, 2022

    Happy Trails

    “THE SEARCHERS” marked the final iteration of High Desert Test Sites’ sun-scorched biennial in Southern California’s arid Morongo Basin. Since 2002, the nonprofit has worked with over four hundred and fifty artists on a dozen biennials, twenty-five solo projects, and countless events. Primarily, programming occurs around the rapidly growing cities of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Wonder Valley. HDTS 2015, though, absconded to Green River, Utah, and the edition I participated in, HDTS 2013, stretched seven hundred miles, with sixty projects from Joshua Tree to Albuquerque. Guest curator Iwona

  • Spike Jonze, Jackass Forever, 2022, DCP, color, sound, 96 minutes. Rachel Wolfson and Johnny Knoxville.
    film February 16, 2022

    Hurt Locker

    TEN YEARS AGO, I got thrown through a wall in a shopping cart at an artist-run space in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a histrionic (and injurious) opener to a half-hour set wherein I restaged stunts from Jackass—the slapstick media franchise that debuted in 2000 as a television series on MTV—alongside visually similar works of early performance art by Yoko Ono, Chris Burden, Marina Abramović, and Vito Acconci. Between such actions as permitting alarmingly zealous attendees to wax my chest and getting shot with a toy gun, I quoted from Julia Kristeva’s foundational 1980 treatise on grossness,

  • View of Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, 1973–76, Great Basin Desert, Utah. © Holt/Smithson Foundation and Dia Art Foundation. Photo: Sean J Patrick Carney.
    slant July 19, 2021

    Ground Control

    I’M SITTING AT THE BOTTOM of a dry, deteriorating swimming pool in the Great Salt Lake Desert. Here, across northwestern Utah’s remote Tooele County, the bone-white, salt-crusted terrain appears endless. It’s so vast you can see the curvature of the Earth.

    The Donner-Reed Party trudged this eighty-mile waterless drive in 1846, following the spurious California Trail shortcut recommended by adventurer and future Confederate major Lansford Hastings. Their hubris and resultant cannibalism epitomize Manifest Destiny’s ravenous pathology. American audacity, not ingenuity, colonized the continent.

    During

  • Construction behind Creative Growth in Oakland, 2017.
    slant April 22, 2021

    Contested Terrain

    WITH FEWER THAN HALF A MILLION RESIDENTS, Oakland’s complex art ecosystem rivals those of cities twice its size. Muralists, art-school grads, experimental musicians, artist-activists, graffiti writers, and Burning Man sectarians live and work throughout Oakland’s deindustrialized shoreline corridor and flatlands. Its DIY cultures are eclectic and often political, owing to the city’s distinctive history of liberation movements, mutual-aid networks, and labor organizing.

    Fifteen years ago, Oakland was, relative to tech-gentrified San Francisco, semi-affordable. Today, Oakland artists battle colossal