PRINT October 1986


David Byrne’s True Stories and Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency.

David Byrne, True Stories (New York: Harmondsworth, England; Victoria, Australia; Markham, Canada; and Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin Books, 1986), 191 pages.

Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (New York: Aperture distributed by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986), 144 pages.

A FLAMBOYANT GESTURE OF ART that takes place in time—performance film, video—is its vanishing act, it disappearance once the show’s over. Such work can, of course, be documented, and countless books have postulated theory about it, described its practice, and worked textually and visually as collections of artifacts of it. But there’s another tantalizing option—the idea that a book not just record an ephemeral work but at the same time in some way recreate it. Two recent books based on film works manage just such a fresh relation of book to act.

David Byrne’s True Stories is an adjunct to his feature-length movie of

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