• Michel Houellebecq

    IN HIS 2016 BOOK Mémoires d’outre-France, Gavin Bowd, a lifelong Marxist and close friend of Michel Houellebecq, reminisced about a night spent drinking with the novelist in Paris’s thirteenth arrondissement. “I will give an interview in which I call for a civil war to rid France of Islam!” Houellebecq exclaimed. “I’ll tell people to vote for Marine Le Pen!” The mini media scandal that ensued following the book’s publication was hardly unprecedented in France, where Houellebecq is known for incendiary declarations. He has also spoken out against a proposed law to fine the (male) clients of

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  • Michel Houellebecq

    THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY, Michel Houellebecq’s Prix Goncourt–winning 2010 novel, takes its epigraph from the fifteenth-century nobleman and poet Charles d’Orléans: “The world is weary of me, / And I am weary of it.” The sentiment will be instantly familiar to anyone acquainted with the celebrated, controversial French author’s work, which teems with an apparently inexhaustible array of sad sacks and misanthropes—the damaged, the soul-sick, the emotionally stunted. Among other things, The Map and the Territory is the story of an artist and a satire of a particular kind of cosmopolitan

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  • Extraction Point

    IF CADY NOLAND’S ART has over the years embodied a concern with “how to gain control in the face of chaos,” as Steven Parrino once put it, these anxieties continue to echo in her recent legal battles. In a lawsuit filed last month, Noland asserts that her name can no longer be associated with Log Cabin, a work she created in 1990. But her claims go even further: She declares that conservators’ material alterations to the sculpture’s facade (when they replaced decayed logs) created a new copy, violating her exclusive right to make new reproductions.

    The case submitted by her legal team invokes a

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  • Into the Storm

    APRIL 16, 2017 AT 2:24 PM EST

    Dearest Bruce,

    Today, a resurrection. 

    On Tuesday, as you recommended, I went to Light Industry to see Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield’s 1984 conversation, or portrait of, Craig Owens, part of Video Data Bank’s incredible interviews with artists and writers. This was some six years before he died, age thirty-nine, of—I rehearse the intolerable boilerplate—AIDS-related complications. 

    Eighty black-and-white minutes. Owens sits in a director’s chair in front of a makeshift backdrop—the zigzag of a wrinkled moving blanket. He talks and talks, always smoking. Or… he’s

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  • Above and Beyond

    “EVERYTHING has a schedule if you can find out what it is.” —John Ashbery

    On Labor Day, the sun in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces achieved perfect opposition. One way to translate this: The heart attempted austerity & sobriety under the crushing, carceral weight of delusions and dreams, my own and everyone else’s.

    There was a sheet of pure pain wound around my heart, like a postallergen sour gelatin or a Fruit Roll-Up for anhedonic adults you’d buy at Whole Foods. I’d been home two days. My mom had been fully homeless two days. North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb in those two days. I was trying

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  • Peak Peaks

    PARTS 1 & 2

    EUCALYPTUS TREES, WEAKENED BY DROUGHT, are on their last legs all over Los Angeles. One fell and knocked out the power lines next to my friend’s house, where I am staying, in Eagle Rock, and we stood on the deck drinking Vinho Verde––delicious, like if wine were beer––watching the action. A fire truck loitered for an hour, produced no helpers, and left. Disruption made the street its own neighborhood. Homeowners came out wondering, hands synchronized on hips. One man retrieved his digital camera and tripod and took commemorative photos. Another ambled the length of his driveway twice

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  • Harun Farocki’s final project

    Where does the wind come from? From the trees.

    How did the wind begin? Because the branches move.

    Do the branches make the wind? Yes.

    But how do the branches move? Because of the wind.

    —Jean Piaget, The Child’s Conception of Physical Causality (1930)

    SOME TWO YEARS before he died, Harun Farocki released the first installment of Parallel I–IV, 2012–14, the four-part film cycle that was to become his last major work. Whereas many of Farocki’s films explored polemical images of technology and violence—from the flying smart bombs that repeatedly appear in Eye/Machine I–III, 2000–2003, to

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  • Look and Listen

    Two years ago, artist Moyra Davey and writer Maggie Nelson were asked to commence a wide-ranging conversation over email for a book project that never came to light. This summer, I invited them to revisit their conversation. What follows is the second of a two-part feature. To read their introductions and part one click here. —Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    MAGGIE NELSON: First of all, if we want to talk about things that make us feel ashamed, I’m very ashamed that the above exchange took place in March 2015, and now it’s the end of October 2015. So sorry, and onward!

    I haven’t read the Barthes quotation

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  • We Belong

    PRIDE MONTH 2017 was momentous, and contentious, for reasons big and small. June’s Facebook pages were littered with rainbow “pride” emoticons, and I used mine for everything. At the same time, a debate about the rainbow flag’s ability to represent its varied constituencies swept through comments, asking if Gilbert Baker’s 1978 creation had become co-opted as a corporate logo, needful of additional black and brown stripes to better address those banded together under the LGBTQIA banner. Often unspoken but nevertheless felt was the shared posttraumatic stress of knowing that a year before, the

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  • Yours, Truly

    Two years ago, artist Moyra Davey and writer Maggie Nelson were asked to commence a wide-ranging conversation over email for a book project that never came to light. This summer, I invited them to revisit their conversation. What follows is the first of a two-part feature. —Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    MAGGIE NELSON: This conversation is something of a time capsule, which is just now seeing the light of day. In 2014, Moyra Davey and I were asked if we’d like to be in conversation for a publication about photography called Entanglements, edited by Arthur Ou and Shannon Ebner. I was excited about the

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  • Travel Logged

    I WAS IN Gloucester, Massachusetts in June, finishing a book in the house where T.S. Eliot spent his childhood summers. I hadn’t been particularly in the mood to worship the dean of modernism, but rereading Four Quartets, especially after eating one or two psilocybin mushrooms, was arresting. You should try it.

    I was researching the Yezidi religion for the penultimate section of my book. I kept circling around the 2014 massacre and mass enslavement of women by ISIS that took place on and around Mount Sinjar, because that was the time peacocks started showing up in my life, and because I’d met a

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  • Documenta 14: Artists’ Artists

    Tomorrow, the fourteenth edition of Documenta opens its iteration in Kassel, Germany. On the ground, we asked artists in the exhibition, curated by Adam Szymczyk along with a team of nearly twenty curators and advisors, to choose another artist or artists who, in the early moments of the show, immediately stood out in their minds. Documenta 14 in Kassel is open to the public from June 10 through September 17, 2017; the exhibition in Athens opened April 8 and runs through July 16, 2017.







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