Outlaws (Javier Cercas, 2014)

The fifty-eight-year-old Javier Cercas made his latest breakthrough outside of Spain with his novel "Anatomy of a Moment", which the most important Spanish daily newspaper "El Pais" named Book of the Year in 2009. The well-known Argentinian author Albert Manguel had praised this novel, which revolves around the failed military coup in 1981. It received… Continue reading Outlaws (Javier Cercas, 2014)

Poems in the shape of paintings

With a history of cultural iconoclasm, the Arab region has become a fertile ground for abstract art. Yet Arab artists remain marginal in the global conversation of modern abstraction. An ambitious project initiated by the Barjeel Art Foundation seeks to issue a long overdue corrective. Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s, slated to… Continue reading Poems in the shape of paintings

Ang tunay na world domination

Optimistiko si Slavoj Zizek sa future ng Tsina sa kanyang artikulong "My dream of Wuhan" na lumabas sa Welt. Ako rin. Bukod pa sa mga sinabi niya sa artikulo, umaasa ako na magsisikap pa lalo ang Tsina na makuha ang loob ng komunidad ng mga bansa sa responsableng ehersisyo ng cultural capital at iba pang… Continue reading Ang tunay na world domination

A romance in the provinces (Kornel Filipowicz, 2017)

I just read A romance of provinces (1960), by the Polish poet, novelist and screenwriter Kornel Filipowicz (1913-1990), who was for more than twenty years, and until his death, life partner (each one, in his house) by the poet Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. The affinity of worlds and tones is… Continue reading A romance in the provinces (Kornel Filipowicz, 2017)

122 Rue du temple, 1968

122 Rue du temple, 1968 Jacques Villeglé torn-and-pasted printed paper on canvas 62 5/8 x 82 3/4" (159.2 x 210.3 cm) Museum of Modern Art  The words of French crime novelist Leo Malet comes to mind every time I encounter a work by Jacques Villegle: “The collage of the future will be done without scissors,… Continue reading 122 Rue du temple, 1968

The Freedom of the Migrant: Objections to Nationalism (Vilém Flusser, 2013)

Vilém Flusser, a philosopher and communication theorist born in Prague in 1920, spent most of his life in exile. In 1940 he reached London on the run from the Nazis, from there he went to São Paulo after only a short time to settle in France in the early 1970s. He never saw his native city of… Continue reading The Freedom of the Migrant: Objections to Nationalism (Vilém Flusser, 2013)

Seeing is Believing

Through Greek, Judeo-Christian, and the Post-literate societies The common interpretation of the cultural aphorism "seeing is believing"  is that "you need to see something before you can accept that it really exists or occurs." Throughout its modern usage, it is usually uttered as a rebuke to assumptions made without visual evidence. In the Oxford Dictionary… Continue reading Seeing is Believing

Cain at Abel (Lino Brocka, 1982)

Sometimes the third world film-maker finds himself before an illiterate public, swamped by American, Egyptian or Indian serials, and karate films, and he has to go through all this, it is this material that he has to work on, to extract from it the elements of a people who are still missing (Lino Brocka). (Gilles… Continue reading Cain at Abel (Lino Brocka, 1982)

Throw Away Day

A new documentary on the life and work of abstract expressionism's invisible man, Clyfford Still and the quest to reclaim one of his paintings in an auction at the Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Sale A few minutes after four and the day slipped into darkness, signalling stagehands at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale to finalize… Continue reading Throw Away Day

Havelock in the Boondocks

 Parts of P.Oxy. LII 3679, 3rd century, containing fragments of Plato's Republic. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most prevalent being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, in present-day Turkey. His biography, written by Pseudo-Herodotus is now considered legend, the story of a blind man trapped in eternal darkness, being led to a… Continue reading Havelock in the Boondocks

Stylistic Negligence

Entry for Critical Dictionary after Georges Bataille Seals of a Chinese supplier of paper, in a Javanese manuscript of Panji Angreni. British Library, MSS Jav 17, f.10v. Sty·lis·tic  /stīˈlistik/ adjective. of or concerning style, especially literary style. "the stylistic conventions of magazine stories." Origin mid 19th century: from stylist, suggested by German stilistisch.  Neg·li·gence /ˈneɡləjəns/… Continue reading Stylistic Negligence

A Tale of Two Modernisms

Mira Schendel (Brazilian, born Switzerland. 1919–1988) Untitled. 1964. Oil and tempera on composition board and wood, 57 7/8 × 44 7/8 × 13/16″ (147 × 114 × 2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Andrea and José Olympio… Continue reading A Tale of Two Modernisms

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015)

Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel begins The Sympathizer with a riddle “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man with two faces”. What is he? Might we ask. The line was spoken by a double agent working for the North Vietnamese Communists as well as for the United States during and shortly after the… Continue reading Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015)

Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

Ari Aster's debut feature Hereditary was celebrated as if one had reinvented slice bread. I was skeptical but he was someone who had something interesting to say. He was able to articulate that interesting thing in Midsommar. The horror genre was being reinvented; a good thing but its not slice bread. The promotion materials made… Continue reading Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

Documents of Dissent

 „Freiheit ist immer die Freiheit des Andersdenkenden""Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for dissenters.” ― Rosa Luxemburg Minerva Cuevas at Videobrasil Photo: Contemporary Art Daily The artistic practice of Minerva Cuevas invests on the motif of dissent against the powers that be. She has collected material on public resistance in Mexico City for over a… Continue reading Documents of Dissent

Defacement painting as memorial

The Guggenheim exhibition has achieved for Basquiat's Defacement (1983) a level of relevance achieved by few paintings: a memorial to violence with potency to comment on our current social crisis. Jean-Michel Basquiat – Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983. Photograph: Allison Chipak/Collection of Nina Clemente, New York Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s Third of May… Continue reading Defacement painting as memorial

Tales for winter nights

Reading some of Olga Tokarczuk greatest hits Polish author Olga Tokarczuk once compared her books to music videos. This analogy applies both to her collection of short stories and novels: They are self-contained, and the narratives are dense and short, so there is not even a moment of digression. The narratives vividly construct imaginative vignettes of ordinary… Continue reading Tales for winter nights

Walter Benjamin’s Breadmaking

On the versatile interests of Walter Benjamin and making a living out of writing Walter Benjamin's membership card for the Bibliothèque nationale de France (1940). While revisiting some passages in Radio Benjamin published by Verso in 2014, I realized that I never once examined Walter Benjamin’s variegated interests. Specifically, how and why do his works… Continue reading Walter Benjamin’s Breadmaking

The show everyone loves to hate

Short review of the Whitney Biennale The Whitney Biennale is a show everyone loves to hate. A general discontent directed towards important exhibitions hangs over any appreciation of individual works. As in, what else can art do to change the world? In a show where most visitors spend less than a minute on average to… Continue reading The show everyone loves to hate

Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner

Lucas Arruda. Sem título (Untitled), 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 cm (9 1/2 x 11 7/8 in). © Lucas Arruda. Courtesy Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo/Brussels and David Zwirner, London. Photograph: Everton Ballardin. Lucas Arruda grapples with what its means to paint through tradition in his first solo exhibition in New York, 'Deserto-Modelo'… Continue reading Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner

North Atlantic White

A color walk piece inspired by William Burroughs. Originally written for Emmanuel Iduma's class on narrative criticism. One similarity that struck me with Burroughs and a Filipino painter named Juan Luna is that they both killed their wives. In Luna it was the heat of passion and jealousy but for Burroughs it was the blur… Continue reading North Atlantic White

Short descriptions of two New York exhibitions

1. Marta Minujín, The Neon Tunnel, from La Menesunda Reloaded, 1965. New Museum 2019. 95 words. The vista to the tunnel is covered by tinted Plexiglas with the lower part cut out to the shape of a human figure. Only one person at a time can enter the tunnel measuring two spans. Decked with a fragile tangle… Continue reading Short descriptions of two New York exhibitions

Synthesis of styles in Willem de Kooning

De Kooning was the last to die from the legendary post-war generation, now known under the heading of Action Painters or Abstract Expressionists. He spawned together with this generation, an internationally recognizable American art. Because of this achievement, I am surprised to recall that De Kooning is actually European in origin. Willem de Kooning was… Continue reading Synthesis of styles in Willem de Kooning