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Goya says ‘one cannot look at this’, yet creates the print anyway. People about to die. People about to be shot down by rifles peering in at the right hand side of the frame. Rifles apologising for interrupting, but they must get on. Men pray. Men beg. Women scream, yet all are still about to die at the hands of the apologetic rifles.

I see everything is prepared. Her underwear laid on the bed, already out and waiting, her dress hanging on a hook. On the floor her shoes. On the table her jewellery, necklace and matching earrings. Everything decided upon. Everything where it should be and ready.

What is contained in a book can survive environmental and chemical impact as well as the negligence, politics, and changes of interest of human beings. Digital content will not be so lucky because it requires a person or a commercial interest to decide at the turn of every new technological generation that this particular content is worthy of being carried forward; it’s worth an update.

From my vantage point, that’s the very definition of endangered.

Conquer your mind with me was following me on Instagram. Why would I want to do that? It was all about setting it free, no? Or was conquering the same as liberating? That special kind of freedom felt in the constraints of a very small cell. You knew what I meant.  We had been there together.

Yes, it’s about “leaving a record” in the most obvious sense but also the very process of thinking about legacy including at times wanting to erase it or avoid it and every thing that surrounds that.

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Glasses on, pen in hand, glancing at the papers resting on his thighs with the serious air of a young intellectual. This is how Germano Celant appears in a photograph taken in the early days of October 1968 at the Antichi Arsenali in Amalfi. Celant – who died at the age of eighty on 29 April in Milan – had just inaugurated one of the fundamental exhibitions in the artistic landscape, Arte povera + Azioni povere. It would initiate a model of the exhibition as a place where art “happens” in continuity with life.

 

I had a craving for spring, for a future after grief, which froze me in a strange temporal trap, in which nothing changed because I dreamt and thought only of my father.

Rimase per sempre l’interrogativo di come due copie di uno dei più ricercati e rari libri d’artista provenienti certamente dagli Stati Uniti, fossero finite nello scatolone al mercatino di Chivasso. Anche grazie a episodi come questo Giorgio maturò la convinzione che il suo fosse il mestiere più bello del mondo.

So many paintings have been made about women by men, but in those paintings you can see that the women’s gaze is only pigment that the man has put there: on camera the woman is a real live person and, no matter how much the director tries to turn her into a colour, there she is looking through the mask of the colours that make up the makeup on her face, and also her face, her hair, her eyes.

 
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‘On my desktop’, writes Amina Cain in a 2017 article, ‘are .jpgs of paintings of women reading books [. . .]  something in me relaxes when I look at them. The women are all in repose, sitting or lying down. Lost in what they are reading, deep in concentration. They look healthy. When we are that relaxed, we are.’ In her debut novel Indelicacy, which follows her two short story collections I Go To Some Hollow (2009) and Creature (2013), Cain revisits this constellation of art, solitude, and a deeply relaxed female gaze.

I said one had been sent to my hotel room once in another town, only it wasn’t a hotel, it was a hospital.

When an institution places itself at such a high remove, like a post-modern Parnassus, you would think that it’d have the courage to frame it, to offer up to the elect, who have had the patience to tolerate the traffic, a definitive perspective on the city below. I wanted to see LA coalesce around some prominent landmark or a distant vanishing point, something that could give it shape and form – something, at least, that wasn’t a road.

Both of my ex-wives accused me of being too opinionated. Don’t even know what that means. How would we live if we had no strong opinions? I think, I observe. So I know things. To pretend otherwise helps no one.

For the subsequent eighteen years, the trains have carried me to and from a place that started as home, but is now simply where I am from. A place I wanted to escape, and now often long to return to.

Ruth Asawa knew what colour they were at different times of day and at different stages of growth, how a leaf might have a pale or dry edge, or how their petals freshened after rain, but she didn’t draw any of that. She only ever concerned herself with the line between the asters and the world.