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Salvage and Sabotage

WALTER BENJAMIN_1

Maya Zack, W.G. Sebald, Walter Benjamin and Chris Marker, A Further Inquiry on Image and Text – With Living Room, an installation I sought out at The Jewish Museum in New York, Israeli artist Maya Zack is salvaging the past of a particular man, Manfred Nomburg, and through his memories of the pre-Holocaust past, the Jewish experience in Germany. Zack is honoring what once was, what was lost and now remembered. But something else is at work, subtly undermining that formulation. Living Room combines the immemorial impulse to salvage with a more contemporary impulse to sabotage, and suggests ways that artists and writers are bringing these impulses together, not as separate and opposite, but rather in generative conjunction. On each ... [Read more]

The Brokered Heart

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Tim Crouch’s England, Skirball Cultural Center, November 9, 2011 – We’re in the atrium of the Skirball Cultural Center atop the Sepulveda pass in Los Angeles when the tall Englishman begins speaking to us. His voice is clear, his diction flawless, sharpened by the cheerfully aggressive precision of high British elocution. An Englishwoman is with him, and she speaks to us also, her voice equally clear and certain. The two of them describe their love of art. They both have a boyfriend who is an art dealer, and they talk about him too. After a few lines volleyed in this fashion, we realize they are two performers inhabiting the same character, and, listening as closely as we can, it remains impossible to know which of them is the ... [Read more]

Playing Along

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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, Directed by F.W. Murnau, 1922 Organ accompaniment by Peter Krasinski – Byron Coley once admonished Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Ann Irwin of Freakwater to “take a fuckload of hallucinogens and improvise a new soundtrack to Zabriske Point”. As far as I know, that never happened. But something almost as sublime did come to pass on Halloween Night at University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium, in Philadelphia. Those few hundred people who gathered there on that dark blue evening to watch a screening of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 German Expressionist silent masterstroke, Nosferatu, were also impressed by the live soundtrack as played by organist Peter Krasinski. The history of ... [Read more]

Passionate Pastimes

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Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler and Dolce Gabbana, Spring RTW 2012 – I have to confess that the annual Spring Fashion unavailing escaped my attention this year in favor of another passionate pastime, the Major League Baseball Postseason. The excitement that lead up to the World Series and the subsequent Saint Louis batsmen last minute win, surprisingly overpowered my usual unquenchable sartorial desires. I couldn't get enough of those Cardinals delicately balanced on the bat and felt compelled not to give Rick Perry anything more to look all gloaty about. My rooting was resolute and all consuming. Then emptied, and drained of all baseball input I reached out for more, downloaded Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding and gobbled that ... [Read more]

Protest

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On the Ground with Occupy Oakland – Photography by Naomi Pitcairn Naomi Pitcairn, activist, photographer and contributor to Times Quotidian, has a choice—and she chooses Oakland. When my husband and I were contemplating a move to the Bay Area she was begging us to please be open to the East Bay with it's diversity in art and culture. When the community calls she left the comfort zone of her sequestered studio work and took her camera to the streets to be a part of Occupy Oakland. Naomi is also a long time member of the Fresh Juice Party , "a politically prejudiced media group who produces custom media packets for causes we believe in." FJP sponsored two free vegetarian lunch programs for the protestors via the sympathetic ... [Read more]