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Memorabilia from “Gregg Bordowitz,” 2018.

Memorabilia from “Gregg Bordowitz,” 2018.

Gregg Bordowitz

Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College

Memorabilia from “Gregg Bordowitz,” 2018.

“I’ve always wanted to be a New York, Marxist, Jewish writer of the ’30s; that’s my idea of fun,” said Gregg Bordowitz in a 2007 interview with artist Amy Sillman. In this first retrospective of his career to date, viewers had a chance to see what happens when an ideologically precocious, queer Jewish kid from Long Island arrives in the big city, not in the era of Clifford Odets and Joseph Stalin, but fifty years hence, in an era of punk and plague. What would Delmore Schwartz, the intellectual angel on Bordowitz’s shoulder, do when confronted by the Ramones, the camcorder, and the pink triangle?

Many things, it turned out. In Some aspect of a shared lifestyle, 1986, an early single-channel documentary that greeted viewers upon entry to the gallery, the many facets of Bordowitz’s intellectual method are already on display. A pastiche of found and created footage, the video includes

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