COLUMNS

  • Weapon of Choice

    A DECADE AGO, while living in Houston, Texas, I volunteered as a patient escort at the city’s Planned Parenthood downtown office. Then located on a busy street, the reproductive-care clinic’s public location attracted a diverse cross-section of the anti-choice movement. The scenes outside the office ranged from the bizarre to the ghoulish. In a modern interpretation of the Battle of Jericho, one man circled the building seven times every afternoon and blew on a shofar, in hopes that the clinic would crumble to the ground. Busloads of students from religious high schools in Houston’s conservative

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  • Zero Hour

    IN LONDON ART SCHOOLS, there has been an intense flurry of activity and an extraordinary show of solidarity among staff which runs counter to the typically competitive atmosphere between the so-called “elite” institutions of the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths College, University of the Arts London (including Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, the Chelsea, Camberwell, and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts, and London College of Communications), and the Slade School of Fine Art (University College London), where I work. Before the strike commenced, staff across these schools began sharing

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  • What’s Cooking America?

    OUT HERE IN LOS ANGELES, the volunteer army supporting Bernie Sanders has grown into something vast, extraordinarily creative, and superdiverse. Among its cadres of thousands, artist and musician Kim Gordon has rolled up her sleeves to help with phone banking, canvassing door to door, and now, with the help of director Mariko Munro and poet Elaine Kahn (full credits here), she’s got her own cooking show, Cooking with Kim, a new “semiotics” of the kitchen to demonstrate Bernie’s recipe for a better future. If Bruce Connor makes a sandwich, Kim Gordon bakes a cake, whose ingredients include Medicare

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  • TRUE ROMANCE

    I WAS IN LOVE WITH TWO PEOPLE and I had traveled to their country to be near them. 

    I already had a lover, with whom I had been suffering a disappointment, and I had just completed a large and demanding work of art, so in many ways I no longer knew who or what I was, or what good I could possibly be to anybody. 

    I am only telling you these things, and in such a dispassionate way, because I want to tell you about a dream I had, in which my great-grandfather appeared, and his many progeny—

    But the dream won’t make sense unless you know I had traveled a great distance to be near these people, that

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  • 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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  • MIRACLE WORKER

    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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  • THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

    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

    Down

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  • Alchemy Forever

    1.

    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

     

    2.

     

    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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