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.
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. …
Nikolay Kostomarov’s short story “Animal Riot” ii the likely source for Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
… At its face, the possible source seemed like more than a big coincidence, but the Internet discussion around the subject, and a few academic consults with colleagues, were discouraging: Orwell didn’t read or speak Russian; Orwell wouldn’t have heard of Kostomarov; Kostomarov’s story was more minor than Kostomarov himself; Orwell was clear about the inspiration for …