Brilliant and perfect, there was something about Chester Brown and his contemporaries (Julie Doucet, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring) that encapsulated th...moreBrilliant and perfect, there was something about Chester Brown and his contemporaries (Julie Doucet, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring) that encapsulated the absurdity, surrealism, and insanity of the 80s. This is a dark, perfect comix, full of shit, talking penises, Regan, clowns, killer grandmas, alternate dimensions, secret science, and endless amounts of other stuff that both work as a crazy narrative and as laser-sharp analysis. One of the few comix to approach literature.(less)
Along with Kramer's Ergot, Raw and Arcade, Glomp is one of the best compilations of experimental comix I've ever seen (but I've never seen the Japan...moreAlong with Kramer's Ergot, Raw and Arcade, Glomp is one of the best compilations of experimental comix I've ever seen (but I've never seen the Japanese Garo). This is filled with goodness.(less)
Yet another "existential" novel about a disaffected rich prick going through an existential crisis. Like Sartre's protagonist in Nausea or Huysmans'...moreYet another "existential" novel about a disaffected rich prick going through an existential crisis. Like Sartre's protagonist in Nausea or Huysmans' Against Nature, the protagonist here is a spoiled twit who feels disconnected with the world, but he calls it "boredom." Fair enough.
Our poor little rich boy has stopped painting (it's boring) and really isn't doing much other than spying on his neighbors (but only half-heartedly since that's also boring).
Enter one 17 year old vamp who, except for sex, is even more disconnected than he is, but has none of his intellectual curiosity (but even then, he's only interested in himself and his boredom, not in the rest of the world). He decides to dump her (she's boring) but she starts acting weird which annoys the shit out of our protagonist because he thought he, like, totally possessed her, but now she's acting on her own. So he becomes obsessed and no longer bored and realizes that she is a stand in for the mystery and abject otherness of the world. He decides he must possess her and then, and only then, can he dump her (because she's boring). But until he possesses her, she's not boring.
Like any good existential novel, there is no real ending. I mean, he does half-heartedly try to kill himself, and very briefly attempts to kill her, but only barely. And he's still bored at the end, but not as much.
Oh yeah, I forgot: he hates his mother because she's rich and is obsessed with money. It is well written and it is compelling, but it drove me insane - which is what it wanted to do.(less)
I've never heard of Selden Rodman, but he knew everyone in the 1950s art world, and he interviewed everyone in the 1950s art world. Even better, he's...moreI've never heard of Selden Rodman, but he knew everyone in the 1950s art world, and he interviewed everyone in the 1950s art world. Even better, he's smart, perceptive, well-read, and deviously gossipy. This is the art world version of US magazine, but with the intellectual rigor of October magazine. The artists are all perceptive and insightful, but what is surprising is that the more well-known artists also tend to be the most interesting.
This book was written in 1957, right in the middle of the rise and dominance of abstract expressionism, which, at the time, was still loathed by the dominant culture. Endlessly, the ab-exers talk about their disdain and disgust with the larger culture. On the flip side, Rodman talks with several realists, most of whom are now forgotten, and their concerns seem quaint and ancient (except for Ben Shahn, Saul Steinberg, and Jacob Lawrence, who aren't beholden to realism, but use it for their own purposes).
The best interview is easily with Jackson Pollock. He is impulsive, brilliant, wild, and drunk. The first interview ends with him drunkenly hugging a tree and exclaiming its beauty. The second interview starts with Pollock locked out of his studio - so Pollock knocks out the window panes in order to get inside.
The second best interviews are a months-long exchange between Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson, who are both cutting, bitchy, pompous, and whip-smart. At one point, for example, Wright says Johnson, "is a highbrow. A highbrow is a man educated beyond his capacity. His house is a box of glass - not shelter. The meaning of the word shelter includes privacy." And there's much more. Their exchange is hilarious.(less)
After following up the perfect Ganges 2, Kevin H. gives us the beautifully crafted and thoughtful Ganges 3; however, this long story about insomnia,...moreAfter following up the perfect Ganges 2, Kevin H. gives us the beautifully crafted and thoughtful Ganges 3; however, this long story about insomnia, identity and the flow of thoughts doesn't reach the devastating power of the last issue, especially last issue's story that personalizes the busting of the dotcom bubble by following one fired salaryman whose fate is encapsulated in the fury of a Quake-like first person shooter, and how his co-workers show solidarity while playing the networked shooter, expressing intense and even tender emotions during a session of violent death, which was a crazy story that was both weird and brilliant, yet was still almost matched in the same issue's ending thoughts of love and longing all while resting in bed, staring at a loved one and drifting to sleep. The problem with Ganges 3 is that Kevin H. just used the ruminations-while-resting-in-bed routine. Maybe this issue would be better if I hadn't read the heights of the last issue. This one is pretty good, but it lacks the jarring novelty of the other two issues, and it lacks the psychological power of the Gagnes 2, or of his stories in Curses. Still, Kevin H. is, for my money, one of the best cartoonists out there, and this is a damn good comic.(less)
I'm not sure why this is better than Mister I but it is. Where Mister I is about a greedy hotdog doodle who is always hungry and always trying to ste...moreI'm not sure why this is better than Mister I but it is. Where Mister I is about a greedy hotdog doodle who is always hungry and always trying to steal pies (and endlessly dying for his troubles), Mister O is about a circle doodle who just wants to get to the other side of a chasm. Tons and tons of other doodles easily get across, but he just can't do it. It's laugh out loud funny, yet sad. How the hell can a wordless joke comic featuring a little doodle be sad? I dunno. But it is.(less)
I took a break from Gravity's Rainbow and found two wonderful books by Mr. Trondheim at half price! So I immediately bought them, got a hot drink, wen...moreI took a break from Gravity's Rainbow and found two wonderful books by Mr. Trondheim at half price! So I immediately bought them, got a hot drink, went to the nearest park, and sat down and read them. A friend was with me and she read one as I read the other. We continuously laughed out loud, then traded books and laughed some more.
Trondheim is brilliant. He has perfect pacing and can do that amazing thing where his comics are both laugh out funny and, somehow, touching and human. Touching and human even though the comics feature a doodle that looks like a hot dog. Still, this is awesome. Just not as good as Mister O.(less)
This book was an endless help in reading Gravity's Rainbow. However, I would save it for a re-reading of the book. Just plow through Gravity's Rainbow...moreThis book was an endless help in reading Gravity's Rainbow. However, I would save it for a re-reading of the book. Just plow through Gravity's Rainbow and THEN come back to this book for a reference.(less)
No one does comics like Jaime Hernandez. His comics have engrossing developments, beautiful art, pitch-perfect dialog, and a total immersion into his...moreNo one does comics like Jaime Hernandez. His comics have engrossing developments, beautiful art, pitch-perfect dialog, and a total immersion into his world, the world of Maggie and Hopey. So what, you might say, other people can do that too. But Jaime (and his brother Gilbert) are different. What makes their comics special is both their serial nature and their characters changing in-real-time. Unlike superhero serials where the characters never age and never change, the characters in The Hernandez's stories age, change, and grow, and in a different way then in movies, TV shows, or film. Maggie, Hopey, and the rest of their cast have grown over the years from punk kids to less-punk adults. Maggie is no longer the skinny mechanic she once was; Hopey is now a teacher; and the rest of the former punks are still moving on with their now-completely-different lives.
Jaime (and his brother Gilbert, along with their predecessor, King's Walt and Skeezix) create characters that have narrative arcs that are quite unlike the narrative arcs of characters in other mediums. The stories of Maggie, Hopey, and all the rest will only be complete when the characters are dead. Now, that may seem like a big fucking whatever, but what is different about Love and Rockets is that their stories are being written in real time. The characters are aging with us, and with their authors. And BECAUSE their stories are evolving in real time, there is no over-arching plot. Instead of plot, the characters' lives meander, just like our lives, and there's a beautiful some thing about their messy ramblings in a near-parallel world that has no equal in any medium.
But enough about that. If you're reading this, you probably agree with me. And you probably already know about Love and Rockets. And you've probably already read Locas. So I'll just state what you already suspect: this book is as brilliant as Locas.
We've gone a long way from the first Maggie stories; a long way from Rand Race and quirky superhero stories that reveled in the quotidian and sundry (yet Jaime has returned to the superhero stories - with Penny Century!). After Jaime brought Maggie back to Hopey, we followed them into the LA punk scene, and then to their background and lives in the barrio. Now they're aimless and wandering and on the verge of much delayed adulthood. This book is mainly dalliances, little love stories and missed connections that occupy their time as they try to get a bearing on their changed and changing lives. (Along with a quick marriage, a character who embodies trouble, an off scene death with gangsters, and the seeming magical departure of a major character.)
Maggie and Hopey are drifters, and they are surrounded by drifters, but stability, despair, adulthood, and age are creeping along. How they handle change, their mundane existence, and their encroaching age is what makes this book beautiful.(less)
Damn, I love Stefan Zweig. He's one of my new favorites, yet I've only read this and The Post Office Girl! I love the way he changes his style to fit...moreDamn, I love Stefan Zweig. He's one of my new favorites, yet I've only read this and The Post Office Girl! I love the way he changes his style to fit the story; also, his ability to drum up odd twists, interesting characters, and compelling plots meshes with his proto-modernist style.
Anyway, I won't say too much about this book. It's really short, so you should just read it. It's about a trip where the narrator is on a boat with the current chess grandmaster who is an arrogant idiot-savant. The narrator appreciates chess and wants to meet the grandmaster. In his quest, he ends up meeting an aggressive American and a mysterious gentleman. I really can't say too much about the book without giving away the plot, but I can tell you that the portrayals of the garrulous American, the idiot-savant Grand Master, and the mysterious stranger are exquisite. The mysterious stranger's tale, in and of itself, is worth the book.(less)
Another episode full of dark whimsy. Nothing stood out, but all of it was either good, damn good, or competent. Still the best regular anthology in th...moreAnother episode full of dark whimsy. Nothing stood out, but all of it was either good, damn good, or competent. Still the best regular anthology in the U.S.(less)
Like Asterios Polyp, I wanted to like this more than I did. It's a massive undertaking, and beautifully done, and Tatsumi's Abandon the Old in Tokyo w...moreLike Asterios Polyp, I wanted to like this more than I did. It's a massive undertaking, and beautifully done, and Tatsumi's Abandon the Old in Tokyo was one of the best things I've read. But this plods on and on and misses some of the brilliant insight of those early stories. Still, it's a valiant attempt at making a great book, but it just doesn't reach the heights it wants to reach.(less)
So I recently got back into RPGs (role-playing games). I used to play RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons, specifically) with a friend when I was a little kid,...moreSo I recently got back into RPGs (role-playing games). I used to play RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons, specifically) with a friend when I was a little kid, and then again when I was in junior high. In High School, I realized they weren't cool, and I contemporaneously discovered girls (without girls discovering me), so RPGs receded to the back of my book shelves, along with books in general. But I never gave up my love for RPGs.
I love storytelling, love making up stories on the spot, and love interactive storytelling. And that's what RPGs are all about.
So this book, To Go, isn't really a novel - it's more of a recipe for a novel. It's an adventure outline. It's a story without any protagonists - or an outline of a story where YOU add the protagonists. It's an unintentional post-modern solution for making a novel, but oddly, no avant-garde writer that I know of has used this model, which is a shame and a pox on our contemporary writers.
So To Go is a magic-filled, bat-shit crazy, action-movie version of a road-trip story. Think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but in a world where people use porn, TV watching, and self-cutting to make magic. Not only does magic exist, but there's a group of magic-obsessed (or "magick" with a "k") kids (and some adults) who are idealistic obsessives who want to create a "magical renaissance." And the way they're going to do that? By dumping magical "charges" into Happy Meals. So for the last many years, they've been doing just that. If you get one of these Super Happy Meals, you'll most likely simply have a low grade trip and see transient shamrocks float out of your shake, or have visions of sentient corn and coca plants with your Coke. Their one great accomplishment was on Jan. 1st, 2001, when these magical anarchist-kids managed to direct that magic to make sure that 2001 was a safe and happy new year. They missed 9/11, of course, but they still dump these charge. And all that magic has been accumulating along the highway where those charge have been floating.
If that sounds silly - well, it is, but it's a fun conceit.
So the intersecting lines of our interstate highways are now forming a kundalini across the U.S. A massive magical charge is going to go from LA to NYC, and the U.S. might magically awaken. All of that depends on you, the reader/player.
Again, this is just an outline. It tells you roughly what could happen. It gives you descriptions of places (a slaughterhouse in LA, a backroom high-stakes poker match in Vegas, a frat-retreat in Philly, and an intense scene at a Micky D's). It gives you the dramatis personae, but not all of the main protagonists. It gives you a rough timetable. It gives you a road map, basically, but you have to connect the dots and tell the story.(less)
I love Roberto Bolaño. 2666 and The Savage Detectives are two of the best books I've read in a long, long time, and The Skating Rink and Nazi Literatu...moreI love Roberto Bolaño. 2666 and The Savage Detectives are two of the best books I've read in a long, long time, and The Skating Rink and Nazi Literature in the Americas were both great reads, but I just couldn't get into this. Sure, it had some great moments and some great stories, but I was unmoved by the main character, and the wannabe Faulkner run-on style left me cold, cold, cold. A well-read friend of mine thinks this is one of Bolaño's best, which I think is crazy.(less)
I wanted to love this more than I did. It's beautiful, thought provoking, and insanely inventive, but it never grabbed me. I mean, that's not true. It...moreI wanted to love this more than I did. It's beautiful, thought provoking, and insanely inventive, but it never grabbed me. I mean, that's not true. It DID grab me, but not as much as I thought it would. It's a labor of love, an attempt at a tour de force and something that the author/artist obviously spent years working on. But in the end, I just liked it. It was damn good. But the author/artist was obviously shooting for great. Obviously going for something that would be a throw down to future comic book creators; a "Yeah, can you top this?" But it isn't quite that.(less)
This should be 3.5 stars. It's a good book, but the writing never grabbed me, and the protagonist's name (Shadow) while appropriate, bothered me like...moreThis should be 3.5 stars. It's a good book, but the writing never grabbed me, and the protagonist's name (Shadow) while appropriate, bothered me like a cold sore. Still, the plot was kick-fucking-ass, and if you like mythology (which I do) you will love this book. Basically, the plot is an extension of some of the ideas put forward in Gaiman's sublime Sandman, which re-examines mythology in our current age, and how beliefs and stories construct us. In this book, he wonders how old myths deal with our media-saturated urban age?
He's looking at how the Land of America deals with the so-called "mixing pot." How does our culture deal with the cultures that are assimilated?
It's an interesting idea that is never fully explored. Gaiman's a damn fine storyteller, but I found his writing mundane and unsurprising, which is a disappointment - I was hoping Gaiman-the-writer would be better than that.(less)
This book ain't great, and it's a minor lead up to the over-the-top brilliance of The Savage Detectives, b...moreBolaño + noir = pulpy and literate goodness.
This book ain't great, and it's a minor lead up to the over-the-top brilliance of The Savage Detectives, but I like noir, I like murder mysteries, and I liked the fat government employee who fell for an anti-femme-fetale. The femme-fetale is just a pretty woman, not a femme-fetale at all - she is created by the three men who are our protagonists - she does nothing to destroy them other than let them hang their fantasies and dreams over her. She's not even a character, only a projection of male vision (much like what happens in Vertigo or Audition). But again, the three male voices are distinct and sharp, even if Fatso steals the show, even if The Skating Rink is a warm up, a throat clearing, before turning the interview structure into the spat-fire opera of The Savage Detectives.
Also, Bolaño keeps publishing books posthumously. He's the Tupac of the literary world.(less)
Ya know, Narayan is a helluva writer, but I just don't find him funny. He occasionally gets me to chuckle, and I often smile, but his dark, dark humor...moreYa know, Narayan is a helluva writer, but I just don't find him funny. He occasionally gets me to chuckle, and I often smile, but his dark, dark humor is even more painful than TV's The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm - it causes my hackles to rise and is the written equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. His characters are so damn obtuse.
This book is about, well, "the painter of signs," an annoyingly pretentious twit named Raman. Raman is a spoiled, routine driven, and milquetoast mama's boy who lives with his long-suffering aunt. He soon meets "Daisy," a modern woman who throws his life into chaos. Daisy is, at first, the stereotypical "magical-pixie" we see in nearly every romantic comedy made since Bringing Up Baby. But in this case, Daisy is no mere cypher of potentiality used as a plot device to get our male hero to experience the joys of living-in-the-moment. Nope. As we get to know her, we see Daisy is extremely damaged, and that her magical-pixie nature comes out of her extreme character traits. She has a callous disregard towards the opinions of others, an ideological extremist's since of mission (and an extremist's tenacity), and an obsession with freedom, all of which keeps her from letting herself love Raman. Raman shares many of her traits, but he is much weaker than any of the woman who surround him (ok, the TWO women who surround him, Daisy and his aunt).
Narayan does not make 2-D characters. His characters are deeply human and deeply flawed. The book is a dark parody of the struggle between Indian traditions, modern sensibilities, freedom, and love, and nothing is spared or sacred. It has no answers and is extremely dark, but the humor is supposed to downplay the underlying seriousness. However, I never found it really funny. Just sad. But that's probably all on me.(less)
A con gets out of prison with a perfect plan. He's been working on it for years. He's not going to use cons or ex-cons, but normal folk. That's the be...moreA con gets out of prison with a perfect plan. He's been working on it for years. He's not going to use cons or ex-cons, but normal folk. That's the beauty of it - they won't make the mistake a con would make. The plan is perfectly laid out. Everyone has their role. Everyone knows what to do.
The fun in this type of noir is how things will fall apart. Somewhere in the back of our minds, we hope that everything will go right, but we know that's not going to happen. What gets our pulse quickening is wondering what can go wrong, and trying to spot the flaws in the plan before the story shows them to us.
This book is perfect example of the doomed caper. Of course, there is a femme fetale (and what a doozy!). Of course, there are double crossings and triple crossings. Of course, there is the noir ending. Go pour a swig of scotch, sit the bottle next to you, and delve into this book. You won't be disappointed.(less)
I bought it on a whim in one of the few bookstores in Mexico City which had books in English. Since I had little time nor inclinatio...moreI loved this book!
I bought it on a whim in one of the few bookstores in Mexico City which had books in English. Since I had little time nor inclination to read in Mexico, it took me a month to finally pick it up and read it. And wow.
We follow Christine, a girl in her mid-twenties who has never enjoyed the thrill of youth. She grew up in Austria during WWI, and watched her family's possessions and members disappear during the onslaught. After the war she watched what remained vanish in an imploding economy. Broke, near-destitute, and taking care of her dying mother, she has no idea how miserly her life is... UNTIL her aunt, who is rich and lives in America, invites her to come to a resort in Switzerland.
When she arrives she suddenly realizes how poor she is; how down-trodden she looks; and how destitute her life has been. She blossoms through Zweig's wonderful writing (which in this part of the book somewhat resembles Henry James' prose) and Christine becomes a beautiful vibrant woman, eagerly devouring her new world, excited at new possibilities that she had never dreamed of, and the object of everyone's attention (esp. the men).
Until something goes wrong. Something which exposes her naivete and reveals the vile superficiality of her new wealthy environ.
And then the book shifts gears. Suddenly the prose is desolate and dry; closer to Dashiell Hammett or the Hemingway who wrote "A Clean Well-Lighted Space." Everything is gray and hopeless and Christine is once again a post-office girl, herself like her office, drab, gray, hopeless. But now she is aware of her plight and is filled with rage and hate.
Until she meets a compatriot who shares her sensibility.
My friend thought the second half of the book felt forced, but I disagree. I've often felt like Christine, since I come from an incredibly modest background and have spent much time around the rich. To me, Christine feels real and true. I love the way that the novels constantly misdirects us (for example, leading us to believe that Christine will be saved by one of the (few) gallant men she has met - from the honest and earnest school teacher to the valiant and stalwart titled gentleman who takes her under his wing in Switzerland).
Anyway, this novel was never published, and perhaps never finished. Zweig supposedly contemplated a third part to this book which would have transformed this book from a Jamesian failed-Cinderella story into a Tarantino revenge/caper. I'm glad he didn't, since I like the mystery we are stuck with, but still... a writer as kick ass as Zweig could deliver an amazingly doomed Bonnie and Clyde ending to his dark Cinderella story.(less)
I read this while living in Mexico City. I was so into living-in-the-world that I had no time for books. So a fast fun manga was about all I could han...moreI read this while living in Mexico City. I was so into living-in-the-world that I had no time for books. So a fast fun manga was about all I could handle. Still, it's only ok. Great art; a good story; but something about it stuck me as annoying and cloying, but still damn good read.(less)
I'm obsessed with the turn of the century (from the 19th to the 20th, not the 20th to the 21st). For me those few years before WWI encapsulates the 20...moreI'm obsessed with the turn of the century (from the 19th to the 20th, not the 20th to the 21st). For me those few years before WWI encapsulates the 20th century. The horror of the 20th century is captured in those years before WWI. We have several genocides (the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire, and the Herero and Namaqua Genocide by Germany) atrocious killings in the name of empire building (the U.S.'s incorporation of The Philippines and their subsequent struggle for liberation, England's Boer Wars, and the Eight-Nation Alliance taking over China and the Boxer Rebellion) and the sickening Capitalist machinations of King Leopold in Congo which resulted in millions dead.
At the same time, the era is filled with hope. The revolutionaries, radicals, and reformists fought for things we still believe in: universal rights for women, all workers, all races, and all sexual orientations; equal opportunities; safe work places; no child labor; equality; opportunity. They expected equality to come not just in their lifetime, but in the next several years. Of course, it didn't happen, and it took a hundred years just to reach a few of their lofty goals, and not even then (but women, minorities, lower class workers, and homosexuals have come a long way, even if they're nowhere near the equality the turn of the century folks expected).
Scientifically the two great revolutions of the 20th century were born in a few decades: general relativity explaining the very big and the very fast, and quantum physics explaining the very small. Technologically the telephone, the airplane, the radio, the motion picture, the assembly line, and countless other inventions were integrated into our daily lives, changing the world forever. Artistically, we are still living in the shadow of those few years, from Impressionism and Cubism to Nijinsky and Stanislavski's Rite of Spring to Dada and the Cabaret Voltaire to ragtime and early jazz.
The turn of the century was a wild time filled with What Was To Come.
So now to this book. Philipp Blom, the author, agrees with me. He thinks that those few years before WWI are unfairly forgotten and dismissed in favor of the extremely sexy and nihilistic Jazz Age. He explores the brittle intensity of the time by taking us through the 14 years that led to WWI. Each chapter focuses on one event that Blom feels is emblematic to the age. He focuses on the major topics of the day: "terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers." It's exciting, exhilarating and depressing. Depressing that the dreams, nightmares, and the hopes of the time period are still our dreams, nightmares and hopes, and that most of the hopes are still unfulfilled, and most of the nightmares are still omnipresent.(less)
The Masses was a revolutionary magazine/newspaper. It was radical in every way, from its writing and art to its politics. Practically every important...moreThe Masses was a revolutionary magazine/newspaper. It was radical in every way, from its writing and art to its politics. Practically every important artist or writer who was living in the U.S. at the time wrote for The Masses, from writers like John Reed, Max Eastman, Sherwood Anderson, and artists like John Sloan, Picasso, Arthur Davies, George Bellows, and Stuart Davis.
I wish someone would republish a collected volume of The Masses because the publication is STILL one of the best ever printed. It looks oddly like The New Yorker with endless cartoons on the side with bylines, and it is a definite precursor to The Village Voice, but it's more interesting and more attractive than either of those magazines.
As the quote above says, "They aimed to "conciliate nobody, not even our readers."(less)
This is an insanely well-researched book about "The Armory Show" which is one of the most important art exhibitions ever put on, and easily the most i...moreThis is an insanely well-researched book about "The Armory Show" which is one of the most important art exhibitions ever put on, and easily the most influential art exhibition in the United States.
In 1913, the Armory Show introduced the majority of the U.S. to modern art, including the Post-Impressionists like Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, the Fauvists, including Matisse, the cubists including Picasso, and countless other now-famous artists.
This book documents, in detail, the creation and effects of the show. It's complete, with a full list of every art work included in the show, a close inspection of the various inter-group struggles, and the reactions by American artists, the press, and the public.
If you're interested in The Armory Show, this book is for you. It's well-written, fascinating, and throws you into the time period, which is still pretty similar. (less)
The "Armory Show" was and is the most important and influential exhibition of art ever put on in the United States. For the vast majority of the U.S.,...moreThe "Armory Show" was and is the most important and influential exhibition of art ever put on in the United States. For the vast majority of the U.S., it was their introduction to modern art: from established experimental European artists like Paul Cezanne, Edvard Munch, Georges Seurat, Honore Daumier, and Vincent Van Gogh, to the American cutting edge like John Sloan, to the absolute avant-garde Europeans of the time, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp, Odilon Redon, etc. The Armory Show was front page news, and confronted - and affronted - an often outraged America with Modern Art.
This book is a reprints the entire catalog of the 1913 exhibition, and gives a layout as to how the show was first displayed in New York City's Sixty-ninth Regiment Armory. It also is full of concurrent reactions from various newspapers and magazines, which includes Teddy Roosevelt's written opinion on the show, and many cartoons lampooning modern art. The book also tracks what became of the works in the fifty years following the show.
The book is filled with pictures, most black and white, but also including 16 color plates.(less)
I really hate Bourriaud's systematizing, but damn, the man has exquisite taste. I found out that I really like when he writes about individual artists...moreI really hate Bourriaud's systematizing, but damn, the man has exquisite taste. I found out that I really like when he writes about individual artists. On top of that, he addresses the problems of Relational Aesthetics, esp. his incessant drive to carve out a new artistic and historical category.
That said, in the end he suggests a Deluezian approach to art theory; one that I kinda agree with.(less)