Slate: David Wojnarowicz at the Whitney


John Reed

The East Village culture scene, as it developed through the late 1970s into the ‘80s, sought to decapitalize art. The art was taken out of the sterile, inhumane gallery/museum space and integrated into the crowded, teeming East Village: small storefronts, former tenements, and basement dance floors. The art was not precious, rarely archival, and often unsellable, whether because the work was installation based or so concurrent with living that it couldn’t be isolated and packaged for sale.

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The Believer: The Age of Simulation

John Reed

If the twentieth century, as Walter Benjamin characterized it, was the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the twenty-first century will be the Age of Simulation. Increasingly, there are no fields of expertise, because so much of what is “expert” can be downloaded, and even if it has to be learned, the information is so accessible—even micro decisions, like, do I want an H-pipe or an X-pipe on my 1967 Camaro—that to be anything, any kind of professional anything, has become, and will progressively become, little more than a commitment to pretend to a given status. And that, of course, can only last for so long, before people realize they can’t really adopt permanent professional identities. We will each be, in our own way, simulations of however many identities we have the time or patience to pursue.

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The Forward: When Even A Boy Einstein Doesn’t Have ‘All The Answers’


Michael Kupperman grew up in Connecticut, hidden away in suburbia along with a family secret; Kupperman’s professor father, Joel Kupperman, had been a child star, one of the most popular and recognized child stars of his generation.

As the “genius” boy Einstein of the largely rigged show “Quiz Kids,” Joel Kupperman had been cast as exemplar to a less objectionable popularization of the Jewish people. His son, who characterizes his own childhood as isolated and singular, came of age in a manner nothing like that of his doted-on father, and his career could be best categorized as “graphic novelist,” a profession undreamable to the psyche of 1940s and ’50s network television, and a profession that promises, to the most successful practitioners of the oeuvre, near-anonymity. Even as a “graphic novelist,” Michael Kupperman’s published work has tended toward outliers; until now, Kupperman has been more concerned with off-kilter humor and parody than with narrative. ...

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The New York Times: 'Francis Bacon in Your Blood: A Memoir'


Reviewing 'Francis Bacon in Your Blood: A Memoir,' by Michael Peppiatt 

When Michael Peppiatt, at 21, met Francis Bacon, the 53-year-old artist was already all artifice, well spoken when well rehearsed, his bistro doctrines applauded by clinking glasses. Peppiatt, having taken over a student arts journal at Cambridge, had shown up in London’s Soho. It was 1963, and Peppiatt laid claim to but a tenuous introduction to the renowned painter he sought. At the bar of the French House, the youth was handled by the photographer John Deakin, who loudly advised: 'My dear, you should consider that the maestro you mention has as of late become so famous that she no longer talks to the flotsam and jetsam. . . . I fear she wouldn’t even consider meeting a mere student like you!' ...

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The Brooklyn Rail: 'The Solitary Twin' by Harry Mathews


During the years I was pursuing my graduate degree in creative writing at Columbia University, Harry Mathews was a beloved mentor, and in the years since, as I’ve been faculty at The New School graduate writing program, he has been not only a mentor, but a colleague and a friend.

Ok, actually, I did overlap with Mathews at Columbia University and at The New School, but I never took a class with him, and I never talked to him. I don’t know that I ever even met him, which seems impossible, but there it is. ...

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Times Literary Supplement: ‘Georgia’ a novel by Dawn Trip


Well, for those of you who subscribe to the Times Literary Supplement, I have a review of Dawn Tripp's novel, Georgia in this week's issue:

Wilully, Americans tell the story of Georgia O’Keeffe: the story of the southwestern female artist and pioneer. The story is wrong in three ways: once for the remnants of the arguments it contains, mounted by art critics in the 1920s, that O’Keeffe embodied the art of a woman, more sensual ...

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The Rumpus: "Who Is Ana Mendieta?"


The Feminist Press has put together an extraordinary graphic biography in Who is Ana Mendieta? (June 2011) by Christine Redfern and Caro Varon.  The work intersects with the larger subject of the social revolution that did or didn't happen in the 60s and 70s.  Questions regarding Mendieta, her art, women's art, all art, politics and social change come crashing together in the elegant edition, which launches FP's Blind Spot Series,  The series, in the words of FP, will invoke “the spirit of revolutions past.”

Here's the piece I wrote for the Rumpus:

Here's the book at FP: