Resistant Spectatorship

Eva Noblezada as Kim, a 17-year old Vietnamese orphan, sings a wedding song for Chris, an American G.I. played by Alistair Brammer in the 2014 recording of the West end production Miss Saigon. Manthia Diawara’s critique of black characters in D.W. Griffin’s Birth of a Nation and Eddie Murphy’s cop movies serves as a template… Continue reading Resistant Spectatorship

Burke’s Sublime and the Beautiful

Edmund Burke's contrast of the beautiful and the sublime had some political consequences. In the short article below, I make an argument for the particular political importance of the aesthetic quality called "beauty," despite its devaluation in art criticism in the last several decades. A philosophical enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the… Continue reading Burke’s Sublime and the Beautiful

Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

A duel between Caravaggio and Quevedo, or how a tennis match connects worlds. Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue, Natasha Wimmer (Translator), Hardcover, 272 pages, Published February 9th 2016 by Riverhead Books (first published November 2013) Since when did people actually play tennis? And since when have tennis shoes been around, today the most socially acceptable and most… Continue reading Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

A Thread out of the Labyrinth

According to an Athenian version of the Myth of Ariadne, when Minos attacked Athens after his son was killed, the Athenians negotiated for terms. They were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens to the Minotaur every seven or nine years. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, the son of King Aegeus,… Continue reading A Thread out of the Labyrinth

The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury Photo: MoMA Degree Zero at MoMA provides counterpoints to the understanding of drawing’s role in post-war art. Gathering 75 works, made between 1948 and 1966, from Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Alfredo Volpi, and many others, as well as recent acquisitions by artists such as Uche Okeke,… Continue reading The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

The Tormented Square

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1913. Kazimir Malevich was clear in his intentions to discover the “zero point” of painting; that is, painting that does not represent life outside its surface. He wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he… Continue reading The Tormented Square

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

on Karl Ove Knausgaard's profile of Anselm Kiefer Anselm Kiefer in front of his work ‘Ages of the World’ (2014) I first saw Anselm Kiefer’s artwork as an art student in Berlin nine years ago. It was the same fighter plane made from sheets of lead described by Karl Ove Knaussgard in his New York… Continue reading The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist