Thursday, December 29, 2005

British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway reveals in an interview in the German daily Die Zeit that he plans to make a film about Rembrandt’s painting, The Night Watch.

Greenaway claims the painting was the ruin of the Dutch artist, because it "is full of indications of murder,” supposedly implicating influential members of Amsterdam society in the crime.

Have a look at the soldier in the white uniform. To the left of his hat you can see the end of a rifle barrel. A shot is fired from this gun. Someone is killed, and everyone in the painting is in the know. They cover up the murder. The painting shows a group of conspirators."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Italian Investigators 5, Historical Precedent 0


Please join us at the opening of MEANS WITHOUT END , the show I'm curating at Guild and Greyshkul, on December 10th, with work by Helena Almeida, Diana Burgoyne, Valie Export, Zipora Fried, Jochen Gerz, Mauricio Kagel, Mateo Tannatt, Tilman, and Steina and Woody Vasulka.
Andre Glucksmann on the riots in the banlieues:

"What's going on in France's suburbs is basically suicidal. The rioters don't want to kill but they're willing to risk their lives, they are igniting primary schools, houses and cars, but these are their neighbour's or their father's cars. They're igniting the factories where they work. Secondly it has to do with outbreaks of rage and fury, with the will and the intention to kill. Youths got into a bus and poured petrol everywhere, even onto handicapped people – there was actually a handicapped woman who couldn't get out of the bus who was doused in petrol. In another case, someone threw petrol over the bus driver. This is the second level, murder. The third level shows elements of the game. The pleasure of setting the world on fire, the twilight of the idols."

Many of the conflicting op-eds in several international papers--ranging from "the french social model is collapsing", to "rioting just proves they're really French!"--- fail to mention this one point: this is also about EU integration, and that it will have very harsh ramifications on Turkey's entry. That plus the rise in the conservative element--note that many of the areas where there was rioting have a high concentration of Algerian immigrants and pied-noirs--should add some friction to the Tony Blair school of European integration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Regis Debray takes the kind of theatre at the Festival d'Avigon this year to task in Le Point:

People fight, backstab and slit each others' throats. It all happens live, and those in charge don't stop rubbing it in: The world is violent. You want wit? Well don't count on us to sweeten the bitter pill. Have a good look at today's hard times, or leave the theatre. The argument doesn't carry a lot of weight. Is there no other suffering than psychosis and perversion? Debray contre les m'as-tu-vu d'Avignon.

Ceuta and Melilla

The BBC and local paper El Telegrama report Morocco has admitted its border guards shot dead four African migrants trying to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla earlier this month:

Six people were killed on 6 October in a mass raid on the double razor-wired fence which separates the Spanish territory of Melilla from Morocco.

You can get the back story in this piece from Der Spiegel [in English]

And if you missed Boubacar Boris Diop's reponse to the shootings in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, you can find it here.

Diario de Noticias reviews George Steiner's book on the [failed?] idea of a common Europe.
"A Europa é feita de cafetarias, de cafés."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sean Scully, Thomas Kling, Egon Schiele at the Neue

Thomas Kling's last book of poems, essays and photographs,
Auswertung der Flugdaten [ Analysing the Flight Data], is reviewed in the TLS......

"the din of Thomas Kling's now defunct smithy will continue to resonate through the echo chambers of the German language, whose creative range he has sounded and expanded like no other poet of his generation."

The book features an incredible poem, 'Inhalator', about his battle with lung cancer:

anweise atemtelegramm. flatternd./ und wie von polarfuchs heiseres gebell,/ das blauflatternde, geflatterte ventil.....//hervorgestossnes: atemmail, wie metal aim

I direct breath telegram. fluttering/ and like a polar fox's hoarse barking,/ the blue-fluttering, fluttered valve.../pushed out: breath mail, like metal aim

As I begged before, someone please translate this book.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Harold Pinter is the Nobel Prize winner for Literature; the German press isn't thrilled.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: His last plays are ever more anaemic, dumb and hollow

Die Tageszeitung: 'an insult to world literature'

"The Academy's decision to award the prize to Pinter is almost wise: It hasn't destroyed their reputation, but it has very effectively lowered people's expectations."

Pinter has good company in the new De Young Museum in SF:

"A rusty Star Destroyer," quipped an unimpressed observer of the new $202 million museum's angular, copper-clad exterior - a feature that also has inspired epithets such as "aircraft carrier" and "S.S. de Young."
"If they plant ivy right now," mused a newspaper reader in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, will it "grow fast enough to cover the de Young before anyone notices how ugly it is?"
San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Daniel Cohn-Bendit in Die Tageszeitung:

"The EU should open immigration offices everywhere in Africa where people wanting to migrate to Europe could register. The EU should then review the applicants' qualifications on location, and support enterprises that are already working there. If people have a legal chance of getting to Europe, many of them would try to use it. In that way illegal immigration could be reduced."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

New Art City;Second Test

Random House has a preview page up for Jed Perl's forthcoming book, New Art City, "a fascinating, panoramic exploration of art and culture in mid-twentieth-century New York City from one of our most important and influential art critics."

Kirkus Review of the book here.

Why is cricket amazing?
Because statements like this make perfect sense:

On the negative side, Shane Warne finally managed to get one of his deliveries to turn shortly before lunch which accounted for Andrew Strauss two shy of his half-century.

England v Australia: Second test, day one.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Arts Journalist Steven Vincent Shot Dead in Iraq

Steven Vincent was found dead in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the U.S. Embassy reports.

I had the great pleasure of working with Steven while I was an editor at ArtReview, and his great writing, probing intelligence, and engaging spirit served as an anchor to many other people in the art world. My condolences to his friends and family. A tragic loss.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Claude Simon Dead at 91

Claude Simon dead at 91. Time to join L'Association des Lecteurs De Claude Simon?

Je n'ai pas le don de parole, et c'est d'ailleurs là une des raisons pour lesquelles j'écris, quoique encore avec beaucoup de difficultés: mon travail absorbe le plus gros de mon énergie, de sorte que l'âge aidant (ou plutôt n'aidant pas) je vis dans le silence et l'ombre. Et si l'on a pu dire qu'écrire est l'appel d'une solitude à une autre solitude, voilà soudain qu'à ces appels lancés par moi comme autant de bouteilles à la mer répond aujourd'hui une multitude, au point que j'ai l'impression d'avoir ce soir autour de moi plus d'amis que je n'en ai jamais rencontré au cours de ma vie mondaine.

Claude Simon, Nobel Prize Speech, 1985.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Europe's anthem

From Süddeutsche Zeitung:

Slavoj Zizek takes on Europe's anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, and as expected picks up on all the possible ironies of its overly ebbulient theme. Read Turkey's entry into the European Union and the tensions of the state versus the global push now torturing the EU [among other things].

"Beethoven's finale is a fantastical mixture of orientalism and regression, a twofold retreat from the historical present. It is a confession that 'Joy', in all its world-embracing brotherliness, is a chimerical figure. (...) The interplay with a contrasting motif that breaks in after bar 331 can be heard as the return of the suppressed, a symptom for something that was an illusion from the start. Have we over-domesticated this ode? Have we become too accustomed to it, wrongly seeing in it a symbol for joy and fraternalism? Maybe we should listen to it once more, this time with a sharp ear for dissonance and exaggeration."

Pedro Mexia writes about Brazilian translations of foreign movies.
My favorite is Week-end (Godard), translated to Week-end à francesa [or Week-end, French style]. Nice.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sloterdijk Interview

Peter Sloterdijk interview with Tagesspiegel, on the EU.
Xenophobia as an expression of pride....

Friday, May 27, 2005

Kagel Films--UbuWeb Adds Film archives

    Anthology of Film Archives is running a series of Mauricio Kagel's films, starting this Thursday with Unter Storm, through Sunday. Programs 1,2,5, 6 recommended.

UNTER STROM (LIVE CURRENT) 1970, 20 minutes, video.
SOLO 1967, 26 minutes, video.
DUO 1967-68, 41 minutes, video.
-Thursday, June 2 at 8:00.

ANTITHESE 1965, 19 minutes, 16mm.
MATCH 1966, 27 minutes, 35mm.
BLUE'S BLUE 1981, 32 minutes, video.
-Friday, June 3 at 8:00.

1973, 71 minutes, 16mm film on video.
-Saturday, June 4 at 5:00.

TACTILE (TACTIL FUR DREI) 1970, 20 minutes, video.
HALLELUJAH 1968, 47 minutes, 16mm.
-Saturday, June 4 at 8:00.

PHONOPHONIE 1979, 38 minutes, video.
MM51 1983, 10 minutes, video.
REPERTOIRE 1989, video.
-Sunday, June 5 at 5:00

1969, 100 minutes, 16mm.
-Sunday, June 5 at 8:00.

has also posted new Film archives, which include "Society of the Spectacle" [which most people who refer to it have never actually seen] and some early Harry Smith.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dupin, TLS Answers, Besançon

“Il n’y a que toi”, hurle le vent, “pas encore”, hurle le vent . et je me relève, gris, et cassé... Jacques Dupin.

As promised, my answers to the TLS 'author, author' quiz, to be printed on the issue dated the 27th.

1. William Wordsworth, Personal Talk, first Stanza.

2. Dylan Thomas, Under Milkwood

3. Geoffrey Hill, In memory of Jane Fraser

Interesting interview with philsopher and historian Alain Besançon about Islam in this weekend's Figaro Litteraire:

....les chrétiens sont, la plupart du temps, les seuls à s'intéresser à ce dialogue, qui aboutit donc très vite à un monologue. Pour qu'il y ait dialogue, il faut envisager la possibilité que l'autre puisse avoir raison, ce qui est difficile pour un musulman qui considère l'islam comme la religion ultime, et estime dépassées les autres religions. De fait, ce sont les chrétiens, à l'époque moderne, qui ont initié ce dialogue, notamment à partir de Louis Massignon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Infante, Havoc, New Media

This week's Time Out NY has my review of the Mark Handforth show at GBE Modern; and spotlights the Casasola show, my review of which will run next Wednesday.

Cabrera Infante's death in February seems to have gone somewhat unnoticed by the US media, even with a supposed movie by Andy Garcia being released based on Tres Tristes Tigres. Garcia did do an NPR piece on Infante archived here. In contrast, Diario de Noticias ran about four things, including a great op-ed. Here is an obituary, astutely calling him a "double exile", a subsequent review, and a write-up by Pedro Mexia. There's also a 'Reading' feature in Context posted here.

Le Monde also did it some justice, with several pieces in Feb.

Just finished Havoc in its third year by Ronan Bennett. It gets the Washinton Post treatment, and a bit of a Telegraph punch-up. Paul Taylor raves in the The Observer.

Two interesting web-based/new media projects:

WebMIDIfier reads textual data from any web site and converts it to MIDI music.

Types of Models is an online catalog of housing models within prefab suburban community.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Kagel, Books etc.

BOMB interview of Mauricio Kagel, by Anthony Coleman. It's from a little while ago, but definitely worth revisiting.The photos of Kagel's home and 'studio' are really interesting. It's a shame more of his work hasn't entered the repertoire; Kagel's Third String Quartet ranks as one of the most intensely beautiful pieces of contemporary music.

I've been reading the page proofs of W.J.T Mitchell's great new book "What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images". The book will be out in June, published by Univ. of Chicago Press--nicely blurbed by Zizek, Jameson and Taussig.

Also, look out for the English version of the Hatje Cantz
Peter Weibel monograph, coming in September.


Today is unfortunately the 72th anniversary of the Nazi book burning of 1933.

The End Of The Library

When the coal
Gave out, we began
Burning the books, one by one;
First the set
Of Bulwer-Lytton
And then the Walter Scott.
They gave a lot of warmth.
Toward the end, in
February, flames
Consumed the Greek
Tragedians and Baudelaire,
Proust, Robert Burton
And the Po-Chu-i. Ice
Thickened on the sills.
More for the sake of the cat,
We said, than for ourselves,
Who huddled, shivering,
Against the stove
All winter long.

Weldon Kees

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Le Monde, Betjeman, NY, and Lucien Goldman?

Visited the amazing Casasola show at El Museo del Barrio, which I'm currently reviewing. As I'm going to do so in 'public', I'll save comment here. But it's a really wonderful show.

Came across an interesting story from Le Monde from a while back, in a pile of old newspapers. Turns out it's also posted online:
Esclaves volontaires du téléphone portable.

Besides a catchy standfirst [Illusoire liberté, Immense marché], it's got such gems like:

...les Américains effectuent 1,1 milliard de voyages par jour, dont 87 % dans des véhicules privés

Rien qu’aux Etats-Unis, entre 40 et 50 millions de téléphones sont jetés chaque année

Dans une société où les loisirs et le labeur sont répartis de manière inégale entre les classes, où l’allongement de la durée du travail, notamment aux Etats-Unis, le chômage, la destruction des services publics rendent
plus pénibles la vie des habitants, ils se tournent vers la communication mobile pour tenter de surmonter, individuellement, des difficultés quotidiennes insaisissables autant qu’écrasantes.

The section about cars made me think of these lines from a Betjeman poem:
Let's say goodbye to hedges
And roads with grassy edges
And winding country lanes;
Let all things travel faster
Where motor car is master
Till only Speed remains.


Brit novelist David Flusfeder publishes in FT Weekend a piece on 'the lost soul'of NY. It's an interesting follow-up piece to the previous FT piece on the closing of CBGB'S and the loss of 'counter'-cultural spaces. Together the two pieces pretty much add up to the piece I've been [not]writing for the last month about how the NY real estate market is killing NY's cultural life.......still, its an interesting piece.


Came across two old books that I'd forgotten about, but both worth a mention:

The Wager of Lucien Goldman by Mitchell Cohen,reviewed here.

Disseminating Darwinism, especially Eric Anderson's chapter fascinating chapter "Black Responses to Darwinism"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Burial Ground/Vespers....Hadrian continued

Final design proposals for the African Burial Ground Memorial posted here.

Thoroughly convinced of Runciman's argument, that the massacre of Sicilian Vespers of 1282 was fundamental to the history of Europe, I also think its an amazing parallel to current events. If you don't want to read the book there is a good Bartleby summary of the Vespers massacre here.


Nice to know I'm not alone in my nerdy re-reading of Hadrian the Seventh during the last papist ceremonies--its shared by fellow obscurist, 18th/19th century periodical loving blogger.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

WPA Slave Narratives

University of Virginia has an online version of the WPA slave narratives that made up Rawick's, ed., The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography.Index here. Amazing.

Another anecdote: I helped put the ms and peer reviews together for Reversing Sail, when I used to work at Cambridge Univ. Press..seems like a long time ago, but turns out they actually published it.

Current Reading List:
Letters 1928-1946 Isaiah Berlin
W, or The Memory of Childhood Georges Perec
The Sicilian Vespers Steven Runciman
Structure and Perversions Joel Dor
The Fragility of Goodness Martha Nussbaum
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1663
Encore Jacques Lacan