• Great Expectations

    MY FIRST ENCOUNTER with the work of Derek Jarman was imageless. Or more precisely, it was sonorous: The artist voiced a text that was at once a celebration and a lament of a life of love and loss that accompanied a projection of pure azure: “In the pandemonium of image I present you with the universal Blue. Blue an open door to soul. An infinite possibility becoming tangible.”

    This was the director’s last feature, Blue, released in 1993, less than a year before his death from AIDS. As his disease progressed, he became partially blind and his vision would frequently be overtaken by a field of

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    IN 2017, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Since then, P-Orridge has slowly transformed h/er Instagram (@pandrogyne) into an astonishing living museum of h/er many incarnations. The posts are sporadic, but when they flow across my feed, they are immediately recognizable—alien, astonishing, yet clearly linked. Sometimes it’s a blurry, sepia-toned Polaroid of two androgynous youths dressed in period clothes from a period that never existed. Sometimes it’s a straightforward and evidently recent pic of friends hanging out. Sometimes it’s a shelfie packed

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  • The Gay Flou

    WHEN IS A FASHION SHOW A FUNERAL? When it’s Jean Paul Gaultier.

    Take his final couture presentation: It was a sort of death, or a spoof of death, or a spoof of spoofs of death.

    It put the poof in spoof.

    Gaultier started the show with a funeral. The stage was filled with models in mourning black. Pallbearers in black veils carried a coffin on stage. It wasn’t clear what had died. Fashion? Does it ever die, or does it come back undead and undeader?

    When the coffin opened, a model in a white babydoll dress strutted out and started the show. What followed was a lesson in what to wear to funerals. Among

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  • Turning The Page

    THROUGHOUT SRI LANKA’S ART HISTORY, the people have been the keepers of knowledge. In place of national institutions and collections, artists, collectors, scholars, and gallerists have acted as repositories of artistic traditions, preserving mini-archives of an invaluable heritage. Until now, much of this cultural production has been neither publicly available nor permanently preserved. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka (MMCA), a newly launched, cautiously optimistic initiative in Colombo, seeks to redress these issues of national and historical significance, one project at a

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    Sometimes I think this entire culture five thousand years was just a rehearsal for the wrong apocalypse

    Our original owners siphoned up an energy from colonized doomsday preachers

    Whose own religion, a strange affair of a flame language incantations leather straps 

    Amulets camels & tents

    Must have seemed a bizarre perversion to the successful, to worshippers of gods

    Some will tell you the alphabet was a secret math

    Some will say our speech was a bovine eructation

    A kind of polluting fertilization

    Ferreting out of the air

    A weird palazzo of the air

    An edifice of clouds and hierarchies of heaven


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  • Alchemy Forever


    I had an experience of a country

    Which is a place on planet Earth

    Of wild beauty to which no word in the English language

    Can accurately be appended. It was a romance

    That I was taken into, which made me wild and humbled me beyond all speech

    A legend that grew into facts, ravages of ravages

    I doubt I ever will be able to speak to

    I knelt in love, I crawled for love, I too had had dreams of revolution

    But I would not pretend to powers

    That lord and lady I lacked

    There are histories of magic speech

    That should not be written down




    Look: I was a woman with a problem

    I did not come all this way to deceive

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  • Feliz Año

    2019 ARRIVED LIKE A NEW YEAR. In the final days of 2018, Santiago Villanueva, an artist and art historian from Azul, Argentina, announced on his Instagram that he would open an exhibition space with fellow artists Rosario Zorraquín and Fernanda Laguna in Buenos Aires’s Villa Crespo neighborhood. The post looked like an informal invitation to a New Year’s Eve party: “Ya viene 2019 Spacio de Arte” (2019 Spacio de Arte is coming) outlined in bubble letters over an airbrushed blue and violet orb of lo-res glitter.

    For 2019, the three artists (who are also curators, writers, poets, and organizers)

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  • Lightning Rods

    IT’S THE SEASON OF FIRE, but you don’t need me to tell you that. It’s the season of electric, abyssal love, but you know that too. Since the sun’s ingress into Scorpio hit the Promethean lightning of the New Moon opposite Uranus in Taurus, the pit has opened, and the yawning abyss of true democracy beckons like a confusing form of lust. You can feel it pulling on you, like gravity itself. As things collapse we will be able to right some things while others, like what has happened—for now—to the bright career of Katie Hill, will be temporarily, and apparently, very wrong.

    Imagine yourself as Alice.

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  • Current Events

    SPANNING FIFTY-SIX MILES AND BORDERING SOUTHERN TORONTO, Lake Ontario hardly registers as a natural site for most Torontonians. The smallest of the five Great Lakes, flowing in from Niagara and out toward the Saint Lawrence River, the body of water feels physically, spiritually, and psychologically distant from the bustling city. Orienting viewers toward the estranged lake, the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art—the latest addition to the globalized exercise in art-world tourism—opens modestly and with a quandary. Curators Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien frame this mega-exhibition as an

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  • Malison Wonderland

    THE TALL, OLD MAN is in a pine-paneled room, wearing a blue jumpsuit that emphasizes his height. He stands self-consciously between two rows of boxed tomatoes that appear to levitate in midair. Underneath the picture is a caption: This image is cursed—the four little words that every JPEG wants to hear. On October 28, 2015, an anonymous Tumblr user paired the tomato farmer with this incantation, and the phenomenon of cursed images was born. Similar photos were dredged up from the 1990s, 2000s, and the far reaches of the internet, proliferating across copycat Tumblrs and, later, Twitter and

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  • Setting for a Cameo (for Douglas Crimp 1944–2019)


    Do all the instruments agree?

    Can they?

    When each day is a season,

    as the room narrows and

    compounds mingle in discrete bones


    Mind is instrument, includes heartspine

    All organs conjugations

    There, only discord remains

    What pours opaque eyes

    See: the transitive flow

    We fail to define it

    Words too remote from their roots

    Sewage and surge

    The swirl of it all in a cake


              with a preference toward custard

    Surface tension covers gooey centers,

    blotched onion skin transparencies,

    lemon juice inks invisibly,

    swirling aspic anatomies orchid blooms,

    skin’s waxy luminescent glow;

    While Instruments

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  • Loose Canon

    IN JUNE, NEW YORK’S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART WENT DARK to put the finishing touches on its contentious five-year expansion, which promised to put $450 million and 47,000 square feet of Diller Scofidio + Renfro architecture toward fostering a “deeper experience of art” across boundaries of media, geography, and identity. Today, MoMA emerges from its chrysalis a bigger, brighter, and supposedly more progressive institution. Gone—we are told—is the stiff, developmentalist progression from ism to ism, the residual investment in medium specificity, the instinctive parochialism, the cult of white male

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