COLUMNS

  • Satori

    In conjunction with our special feature on what, where, who, and when is Enlightenment in the Summer 2018 issue of Artforum, writer Michelle Tea contributes her response below.

    I ATE THE ENLIGHTENMENT IN A COOKIE. It did nothing. I was twenty-four years old and had spent Christmas morning at the home of an acquaintance, not even much of a friend, not really. A DJ with a shaved head and pierced septum, obsessed with Chinese ghost movies. A jolly person whose home contained oddities – a taxidermy bat; a photo of her own ass, splotched from a heavy spanking, pinned to the refrigerator. In her kitchen,

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  • Festina Lente

    MY BREASTS & THE BASE OF MY ABDOMEN & THE FLESH AROUND MY KIDNEYS are filling with particles of sorrow. This is what gets disbursed into me monthly. It is my most reliable wage. The languishing weakness that presses down on my inguinal hinge. The gently eviscerating heat and dread licking up at my root from my inner thighs. Humiliating it gently, without words or situations, drawing upon it as an insect might draw from a flower, bidding me procreate.

    Welcome to my minimum monthly allotment of suffering.

    Welcome to the technology by which I feel the world, which comes through me by nothing but the

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  • SECRET GARDENS

    THE FUNNY THING about ships is that you have to weigh them down to keep them afloat. Historically, stones, soil, sand, wood, and bricks placed inside a ship’s hull have provided this weight. At the end of a voyage, the ballast is dumped, to be repurposed as building materials or to settle as soil. It becomes a pedological archive: A portion of the ground beneath Manhattan’s FDR Drive is built from the rubble of British buildings demolished during World War II; the area came to be known as Bristol Basin. Meanwhile, Liverpudlian stones that were a by-product of the trans-atlantic cotton and tobacco

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  • Cosmic Wonder

    EARLIER THIS MONTH, the artist Zhao Yao experienced what it’s like to be a pop star, preparing for a one-show-only event at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing. Built on the tenth anniversary of the new China in 1959, the stadium has been a cultural and sports center for the past six decades, accommodating various activities, but mostly football games and pop music concerts in recent years. It’s also surrounded by the most popular nightclubs in Beijing.

    To the stadium, Zhao brought his 108,000-square-foot painting, The Power of Nature. Think of it as a massive rug made of cloth and fabric, on which

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  • Diamond Cutter

    SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE YEARS AND SEVEN DAYS AGO, in the city of Norwich, a recluse named Julian beheld the whole of creation in the palm of her hand, in an orb the size of a hazelnut. It was here that W.G. Sebald taught for forty years, at the University of East Anglia, and where, in the opening pages of The Rings of Saturn, we find him prostrate in a hospital room—and then standing at the window there—having collapsed a year and a day after a summer’s walk across the county of Suffolk.

    I am writing you from my office at UEA, where, rereading The Rings of Saturn, I seemed to smell the rising

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  • Man of the People

    THE TERM ARTIST’S ARTIST means an artist who is a good food source for other artists. It also suggests an unconscious and/or brave level of subjectivity that is implicit within the meaning of, but rarely lives up to, the word artist. Artist’s artists signal their value to other artists not just through their stubborn individuality, but also through their ways of producing art that seem so particular that, whether one likes their work or not, there is life before it and life after it. To refer to Michelangelo as an artist’s artist could be seen as absurd, as he is everyone’s artist, but it’s not

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  • Cassils

    MAKE NO MISTAKE: Cassils’s work comes from rage. PISSED, the centerpiece of their exhibition “Monu-mental”at Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York this past autumn, testifies to that anger. Exhibited as a massive glass cube containing two hundred gallons of the artist’s urine surrounded by the containers used to collect and carry it, PISSED addressed a transgender political struggle via a formal language at once confrontational and uncompromisingly austere.The work was sparked by the Trump administration’s spiteful, reactionary decision to rescindan Obama-era executive order that endorsed the rights

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  • Jasmina Cibic’s NADA trilogy

    IN HIS LEGENDARY German pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe kept his spaces bare, pairing prototypes of the celebrated Barcelona chair and matching stool he designed with Lilly Reich with one other object: Der Morgen, Georg Kolbe’s 1925 sculpture of the goddess of dawn, which was reverently stationed on a small pedestal in one of the two reflecting pools flanking the building. This juxtaposition of high-modernist design and the classical female nude would become a recurring motif within Mies’s interiors, with coquettish statuettes from colleagues

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  • SUNRISE: January 30, 2018

    Forsake thy cage, 

                 Thy rope of sands, 

    Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee 

    Good cable, to enforce and draw, 

              And be thy law, 

    While thou didst wink and wouldst not see. 

    —George Herbert, “The Collar”

    AT 11:41 AM EST, THE MOON MAKES ITS LAST ASPECT IN CANCER, an opposition to Mercury in Capricorn, to go Void-of-Course over lunchtime 'til she enters Leo at 1:53 PM. 

    This interval is a wonderful opportunity to be silent, or at the very least to slow down your speech (Mercury in Capricorn) and train your inner dialogue on your heart of hearts.

    Mercury will enter

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  • SUNRISE: January 29, 2018

    fer dans notre coeur (St. John Perse, in a poem I haven’t read in a decade, which I might be misquoting, which I might have invented)

    I'M THINKING ABOUT THE BLUE BLOOD that flows through the heart of the queens and kings of the jungle, the blue interiors of your body, the blue light that spreads behind your eyelids when you’ve seen too much sun. When light is suddenly thrown on you after an accustomed darkness: the blue-white of the shock. The blue haze that hovers around the Alps in real life, making them resemble old photographs of themselves: because that haze is the exact blue hue of decomposing

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  • SUNRISE: January 26, 2018

    IT SEEMS TO ME THAT MANY, A GREAT MANY SENSED THEIR—BUT I DON’T WANT TO USE THE WORD INCOMPLETENESS. A certain discontinuity in themselves, an opening, a sense that somehow between their skeletons and the flesh there was work to be done, a sense of something insufficiently-come-into-being—not merely the personality, but something else. I think they felt this from the very beginning.

    And I suppose the old sages filled this space with breath, which carried God, I guess, to every cell of the body—commanded God back into the flesh: a kind of mystic remarriage after the necessary divorce

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