Monday, February 27, 2012

Bushwick Art Seen

By Charles Kessler

This is the last in a three-part series on the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The relaxed intimacy and DIY ethic of the Bushwick art scene extend to the art made and exhibited here. Of course with thirty galleries and thousands of artists, every conceivable kind of art is made and shown here. But you're not going to find much super-sophisticated, flashy postmodernist work. Sincerity predominates, and what irony exists is good-natured and playful.

Matt Freedman's exhibition The Golem of Ridgewood at the Valentine Gallery (through March 11) is a prime example. The show revolves around a film we are suppose to believe is seventy years old and was discovered in an old synagogue near the gallery.  The film purportedly documents the creation of a Golem (a destructive and uncontrollable monster) that was employed by the synagogue' s congregation as protection from its anti-Semitic neighbors.

But the show's a lot more than a zany spoof. The Golem is a deep-rooted archetype (think the atomic bomb), and there are moments when I got caught up by the imagery and thought how desperate a people must have been to resort to such a dangerous (and cockamamie) weapon. Perhaps the reason I could be so moved is I never felt Freedman was being unkind or ridiculing people, or even just being insensitive. There's fun here, but there's true sympathy too.

Especially effective in this regard is a life-sized carnival-type backdrop depicting a strong-man strangling cartoony caricatures of Hitler and Mussolini, one in each hand. The face of the strong-man is cut out to allow people to stick their own face in and have their picture taken. Of course I know that Matt Freedman really made this thing, but I'm still moved by the idea of a powerless people doing whatever they could, however lame and pathetic, to boost their morale.

In addition to the film, the exhibition includes "recovered props and artifacts related to it" (very much hand-made ones) as well as a "timeline" (compiled with "consulting art-historian" Frances Rabinovitch) to "contextualize these fascinating relics." Most of the time the connection between the film and the "contextualized relics" is pretty far-fetched, a creepy knight's gauntlet sticking straight out of the wall, for example, but that adds to the whacky fun.

Film-Makers’ Co-op Press Conference, 1964, L to R - Gregory Markopoulos, P. Adams Sitney, Andy Warhol, Ron Rice (Jonas Mekas © 1964).

We are Cinema — 50 Years of the Film-Makers’ Co-op (through March 5th) at MICROSCOPE gallery is a serious, historical exhibition, a show PS 1 or the New Museum should be doing. It's another commemoration, but a real one: the 50th anniversary of the Film-Makers' Co-op, now the largest repository of avant-garde and experimental films. It was initiated by Jonas Mekas who gathered about 20 other avant-garde filmmakers in order to find ways to independently archive, exhibit and distribute their films.

In addition to early archival materials, the exhibition has photographs, collages, drawings and other art made by former and current members including Jonas Mekas, Rudy Burckhardt, Carolee Schneemann and Jack Smith.

The gallery will be screening films all month; see their website for the schedule.

Agape Enterprise, SAPC Bushwick , Shinsuke Aso's three-day performance (February 17 - 19) celebrated the opening of Shinsuke Aso’s postcard shop SAPC (Shinsuke Aso Post Card). Shinsuke cut up cereal boxes, soap boxes, and other found materials to make hundreds of postcards which he taped to the gallery walls salon style or stacked in piles and sold for 25 cents each. People took the ones they liked right off the wall (to be replaced by others) and deposited the change through a slot in a can hanging from a string in the center of the room.

This is art for the other 99% of us. It reminded me of the C.A.S.H./Newhouse gallery in the East Village in the early eighties. They had a shoe box on their front desk full of small works that you could buy for ten or twenty dollars, or some small amount. This show is in the same democratic and generous spirit.

The exhibition is also about recycling, of course, but in addition it says something interesting about graphics. As Pop Art showed, the graphics on the packaging of consumer products is usually pretty good. Strategically cropping the cardboard packages at unusual angles abstracts the graphics, allowing you to appreciate the beauty as pure design. Some are better than others, of course, but that's part of the fun -- you get to choose your favorites.

Full disclosure: I'm one of Shinsuke Aso’s biggest collectors. Two dollars means nothing to me!

Installation view of Paul D’Agostino's exhibition, Appearance Adrift in the Garden, at Norte Maar.
Paul D’Agostino's exhibition at Norte Maar, Appearance Adrift in the Garden, is getting some deserved attention. D'Agostino is one of those scary smart people. He's a translator and poet in at least four (update: it's five!) languages. His reading of his poetry last week at Norte Maar was as good as anything I've heard at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House -- and that includes Mark Strand. In addition, he's the owner of the well-respected Centotto gallery, and, if this show is any indication, he's a first-rate artist.

Most of the work is unframed prints and mono-prints on rough paper surfaces, and there’s an occasional collaged painting on paper. Like a lot of the work I’ve been seeing in Bushwick, these paper pieces have a very tactile and hand-made quality. They’re small, intimate, heavily-worked and dense. They need to be looked at carefully and savored.

D’Agostino's newly-published limited-edition chapbook, Bodies, Voids and a Tale of Seas, accompanies the exhibition.

Elizabeth Riley, Tabletop Cityscape, 2010,  42 x 48 x 84 inches, inkjet prints of video stills, found wood, mixed media, live videomini projector and embedded video monitor.

Martin Bromirski, Rachel LaBine, and Elizabeth Riley, StorefrontBushwick (until March 11).
This is a three-person exhibition of semi-abstract art. I particularly liked the Riley’s “Tabletop Landscape” which she said was inspired by walking around Manhattan in the west 30’s and 40’s where she used to live. There’s certainly plenty going on, and she captures it using mini-video projections, small sculptures, prints, found wood and mixed other media -- all set on a 4 x 8 foot table. This is a small, active, exuberant, self-contained world.

Charles Atlas, The Illusion of Democracy, installation view (Luhring Augustine Bushwick, 2012)

Charles Atlas, The Illusion of Democracy (until May 20) includes three video installations, Painting by Numbers, 2008, and Plato’s Alley, 2009, and a new one made specifically for the opening of the Bushwick branch of this blue-chip Chelsea gallery. This is large, polished and theatrical work — a grand spectacle (some reviews related it to the movie Matrix) — not at all the Bushwick aesthetic I've been describing, but I must admit it was pretty impressive, even exciting sometimes, as when the numbers were projected on the audience.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updated Map and Guide of Bushwick Galleries

A downloadable PDF of this map and guide can be found on the right sidebar under 
"Gallery and Museum Guides."

By Charles Kessler

The only gallery that closed since my last update is Famous Accountants, and that is a big loss. At least nine new galleries opened, however, and I discovered many others -- thirty all together!  The galleries are listed in an order that I suggest would make an efficient route for a gallery tour. They are spread out over a large area; what is being called “Bushwick” actually includes parts of eastern Williamsburg and Ridgewood, Queens. If you have the energy, it’s possible to do it all in one afternoon (it's about 4 1/2 miles), but you can easily split the tour into eastern and western sections if you prefer. For the eastern section, you can end with Factory Fresh and walk back to the Morgan Avenue L stop. For the western section, you can start from the Dekalb Avenue L subway station and tour in reverse order. You can return via the Jefferson Street L (at Wyckoff and Troutman).

Some galleries are open Friday - Monday, 1 - 6 pm, and most are open at least Sundays. Some galleries, however, are only open by appointment, and I noted those in the listings. It's a good idea to check gallery websites (their names below are linked to their websites), email them, or call the galleries in advance to confirm. It’s also a good idea to take the gallery phone numbers with you because in some cases you may need be let in.

I took the opportunity to list some bars and a variety of restaurants along the route. These are not on the map but are placed in the listings under the galleries they are closest to.

To start the tour, take the L train to Morgan Avenue and go out the Bogart Street exit (toward the back of the train if you’re coming from the west). 56 Bogart is across the street from where you exit.

56 Bogart Street galleries:
Agape Enterprise - (718) 417-0037
Bogart Salon - (203) 249-8843
C.C.C.P. - (917) 974-9664
Interstate Projects  - no phone listed
Momenta Art - (718) 218-8058   email via their website
NURTUREart - (718) 782-7755
Slag Contemporary - (917) 977-1848
Studio 10 - (718) 852-4396
THEODORE:Art - (212) 966-4324
Roberta's Restaurant,  261 Moore Street (near Bogart Street), (718) 417-1118
MoMo Sushi Shack, 43 Bogart Street (near Moore Street), (718) 418-6666
Luhring Augustine - 25 Knickerbocker Avenue (at Ingraham),  (212) 206-9100

Kesting/Ray - 257 Boerum Street (east of Bushwick Avenue), (212) 334-0204   email via their website     The gallery will probably open in mid-March.

Centotto - 250 Moore Street  #108 (west of Bogart), 908-338-3590
Open by appointment. Call to be let in.

English Kills - 114 Forrest Street -- use door to the garden on the right, (917) 375-6266

Grace Exhibition Space 
(Performance art) - 840 Broadway, 2nd Floor, (646) 578-3402
Open by appointment and when they have performances.

Airplane - 70 Jefferson Street - basement, (646) 345-9394
Central Avenue is a more pleasant street to take to this gallery than the safe but bleak Evergreen Avenue.

Microscope  - 4 Charles Place (and Myrtle Avenue), (347) 925-1433

The Parlour - 791 Bushwick Avenue (at Dekalb Avenue), (718) 360-3218
Tandem, 236 Troutman Street (between Wilson and Knickerbocker),  (718) 386-2369
StorefrontBushwick - 16 Wilson Avenue (south of Flushing Avenue)
    (917) 714-3813
Narrows Bar, 1037 Flushing Avenue (near Morgan), (281) 827-1800
Factory Fresh - 1053 Flushing Avenue, (917) 682-6753

Secret Project Robot
- 389 Melrose Street (between Knickerbocker and Irving), no phone listed.
Cafe Ghia Restaurant, 24 Irving Avenue (at Jefferson Street), (718) 821-8806.
Arepera Guacuco (Venezuelan restaurant), 44 Irving Avenue (at Troutman Street)
(347) 305-3300 - no website
The Bodega (Bar/Restaurant), 24 Saint Nicholas Avenue (corner of Troutman Street)
CLEARING - 505 Johnson Avenue # 10,  (347) 383-2256

The Active  space - 566 Johnson Ave (three short blocks north of Flushing Avenue -- buzz #5 to be let in), no phone listed.   ashley**at**

SUGAR - 449 Troutman Street (between Street Nicholas and Cypress Avenues),  (718) 417-1180
email via their website   Open by appointment.

Regina Rex  - 1717 Troutman Street — ring bell #329, (646) 467-2232
(The numbers change when you cross the Queens border -- it's not as far as the address would imply.)
Northeast Kingdom (Restaurant/Bar), 18 Wyckoff Avenue (at Troutman), (718) 386-3864
Norte Maar - 83 Wyckoff Avenue, (646) 361-8512    email via their website   Open by appointment.

Valentine -  464 Seneca Avenue, (718) 381-2962

Botanic - 150 Wyckoff Avenue, no phone listed.

Sardine  - 286 Stanhope Street (between Irving and Wyckoff), no phone or email listed. A small gallery/boutique.

950 Hart - 950 Hart Street (and Wyckoff), (347) 693-6231

Small Black Door - 19-20 Palmetto Street (off of Fairview Avenue), no phone listed    email via their website.   Open by Appointment. They are a few blocks beyond the eastern boundary of the map.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Love Bushwick

By Charles Kessler
Opening of the Charles Atlas Exhibition at the new Bushwick branch of the Luhring Augustine Gallery

People in Bushwick are worried the blue-chip Chelsea gallery, Luhring Augustine, which inaugurated a new 10,000-square-foot building in Bushwick Friday night (see photo above), is the harbinger of a bigger and less congenial art scene. This may be so, but I think it will take more than Luhring Augustine and even a few other big galleries moving in to change things. Big galleries can even help small DIY ones by attracting collectors to the area who might otherwise be reluctant to come, and that in turn helps artists too. The problem will come, of course, if too many big galleries move in and make the area too popular. I hope it never comes to that.

I love Bushwick the way it is now. People are friendly, as you’d expect in a real neighborhood. At a typical opening of a small Bushwick gallery, people mingle in a relaxed manner and actually talk about the art and other shows they’ve seen. Of course it’s networking, but it’s comfortable and sincere.

At Matt Freedman's opening at the Valentine gallery, also Friday night, Fred Valentine welcomed people as they came in, introduced himself and introduced them to Matt Freedman, who in turn introduced them to other people. Contrast that with Luring Augustine's opening. Roland Augustine also greeted people at the door, and that was a nice gesture to the community, but it’s one thing to welcome hundreds of people into an anonymous space, and quite another to welcome a few dozen people into an intimate space and engage them in conversation.

The mood at Bushwick's other openings was so infectious Friday evening that Jerry Saltz went around introducing himself and Roberta Smith to a few people hanging out at the new Theodore:Art gallery; and as outgoing as Saltz is, I somehow can’t imagine that happening in a big crowded Chelsea opening, or Luhring Augustine’s new Bushwick space for that matter. In any case it wouldn’t be as amiable.

I really, really hope Bushwick doesn't change much for many years. I intend to cherish it while it lasts.

Next post: Bushwick gallery map and guide.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Julian Bell, "Mirror Of The World."

By Carl Belz
Julian Bell, Mirror Of The World: A New History Of Art, New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007. First paperback edition 2010, 496 pp. with 372 illustrations, $34.95
You likely took an art history survey course at some point in your educational travels, and if you’re a Baby Boomer or younger, H. W. Janson’s History Of Art was probably your assigned text. Its authoritative voice and generous visual presentation understandably made it the text of choice here in the US for decades following its publication in 1963. Likely, too, your copy accompanied you to each of your post-college addresses and still occupies a sentimental place in your library today, for such was the lasting impression it regularly had on its readers. Still, I’m here to recommend you add to that library Julian Bell’s recent Mirror Of The World as an important and seriously engaging contribution to a newer art history, to art history as it is practiced now—now being signified by its global scope and contextual methodology—and is here further distinguished in being practiced by a writer who’s also a practicing artist. 

Crafting a manageable survey of art’s ever-expanding global history, a survey that’s neither too heavy to lift nor too dense to absorb, is a daunting assignment. Bell tackles his history chronologically and structures it thematically into 12 chapters, each of which comprises four to six sub-themes. Chapters average 30 to 50 pages, sub-themes average six to ten, and each regularly transports us to separate but synchronous global venues. Thus, by way of example, Chapter 5, Doorways and Windows, includes Banquets and bare trees, China, 970s-1370s; Earth colours, Germany, Italy, 1240-1350; Texts and textures Iran, Italy, France, Spain, Russia, 1330-1420; Opening the windows Northern Europe, Italy, 1390-1460; and Private passions Flanders, Italy, France, Iran, Indonesia, 1440-1520. The modular organization enables, even invites us to open the book at random and begin reading for sheer pleasure, while extended captions on many of the illustrations serve as self-contained thumbnail summaries of their adjacent texts, not unlike the wall labels we see in museums. 

Bell’s felicitous and accommodating prose, in tandem with his structural concision, facilitates our global odyssey and brings within reach the art and artists and cultures otherwise distanced from us by vast stretches of time and space. In turn, their otherness begins to yield, they become knowable, and the ever-expanding world they and we occupy becomes smaller, more humanly scaled, more familiar—as Bell periodically, and gently, reminds us. Here, for instance, he summons Ni Zan in China, 1372, working against the grain of acceptable Ming dynasty taste:
The parallels with what happened to later avant-gardes are intriguing, and any modern painter might sympathize with the bon mots attributed to Ni Zan: Skeptical viewer: ‘Bamboo? That doesn’t look anything like it!’ Ni Zan: Ah yes. That total lack of resemblance is quite hard to achieve. Not everyone can manage it.’        
In a brief preface, Bell offers the following explanation for the title of his text:
I see art history as a frame within which world history, in all its breadth, is  continually reflected back at us—rather than as a window which opens onto some independent aesthetic realm. I shall assume that the records of artistic change somehow relate to records of social, technological, political and religious change, however inverted or reconfigured these reflections prove.
Bell’s history, in other words, reflects the new art history in foregrounding the contexts in which artworks are made more than the formal properties they display. He is nonetheless fully aware that each approach is hollow when pursued to excess or in isolation, tending in either case only to diminish art and artist alike, and his text accordingly breathes everywhere with meaningful form/content unions. As in this description of Rogier van der Weyden’s mid-15th century Portrait of a Lady (National Gallery, Washington DC), which
 … probably shows the illegitimate daughter of his master, the Duke of Burgundy. Van der Weyden was van Eyck’s successor as court artist, and by the 1450s, when this was painted, he too was an international celebrity. His art likewise explored the deeper tonal range and subtler modeling made available by oils. But he made his painting proclaim its own artifice: this formal arrangement of a few bold shapes within a rectangle…asks us to consider what a remarkable object a work of art can be. For this composition is also a feeling about a girl, about her pale sensual bloom, her pride and her pathos.
Rogier van der Weyden, Portrait of a Lady, c. 1460 ( Andrew W. Mellon Collection, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., #1937.1.44).
Or this account of Goya’s activity in the decades immediately following the French Revolution:
Of this cataclysmically violent period, Goya would strangely become the leading recording instrument. The illness of 1793 that left him unable to hear seems to have knocked through floors in his imagination. Its lumber of fantasies, fears, cracks and sneers shifted and gathered in weight. While he maintained his post as leading court portraitist, he now pitched into the kind of eccentric printmaking formerly practiced by Italians like Tiepolo and Piranesi. His set of Caprichos, ‘caprices’, from 1799 gave the genre a new pungency and grotesque force, prodding not simply at stock butts of derision like the priesthood, but at human propensities in general.
Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), The sleep of reason produces monsters (Caprichos 43, Delteil 80, Harris 78). Original etching and aquatint, c. 1798. 
As these passages suggest, Bell’s historical voice is the voice of an artist acutely mindful of art’s makers and the challenges and rewards of their job of work, a voice clearly personal, blending passion and humility, a voice guided by a steady moral compass. Yet, a voice that at times is also troubled on behalf of the artist and art. Here he reflects on Giotto’s early 14th century frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, in particular the scenes where Joachim is cast from the temple, his sacrifice rejected because he and his wife Anna are childless, so he returns to the hills in shame to tend again his flocks among the shepherds there. Joachim and Anna become the parents of the Virgin Mary, everything works out, but Bell responds
And yet I must admit that there are no pictures in this book that bring me so close to tears. I blame Giotto’s unerring instinct for social cruelty (those muttering shepherds) and his heart-gripping sentimental stagecraft (Joachim’s worried dog). But at the same time, insofar as ‘Western painting’ has been my own business, I suppose I read these primal moments in the tradition prophetically. There stands the temple—the great structure that the medieval world was about, if it was about anything. And painting starts where it ends—in the void, outside. It stalks the land, it broods, it dreams of the land, but it has no fixture in the land, just as it has no fixture in the temple. It is bound nowhere; it is mere mind-stuff, mere images.
Giotto di Bondone, The Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple, c. 1303 - 1306, fresco, The Scrovegni Chapel, Padua.
We can appreciate the concern. Postmodern culture has seemingly turned culture upside down, announcing the death of the author and conferring upon readers the status of writers, exposing the myth of originality by celebrating ironic appropriation, and finessing meaning with the claim that it resides only in the eye of the beholder. All of this, moreover, in the name of freedom! Well and good, but who will tell the artist? Who will wrest the quill from the writer ‘s hand? Who the printmaker’s stylus? Who the painter’s brush? And who will break the news that the artist’s labors yield no meaning? Who possesses the audacity to carry out that assignment? Who the arrogance?  

Julian Bell frets that art is bound nowhere. It’s not Giotto he’s talking about, it’s art now and modern art generally, for that’s the condition of its being: It knows no bounds imposed by church or state or any institution; at the same time, neither does it enjoy a home, an anchor—a fixture in Bell’s words—it’s altogether free. But freedom comes at a cost. As free as art in our modern era may be, it is nonetheless bound, bound to its past—bound to and by its very own urge to sustain that past’s level of achievement while at the same time challenging it—and bound, above all, by the cost of its freedom, which is the responsibility that attends its practice. And the result? Mere images, Bell tells us. Yet, his very own words effectively assuage his very human doubt in demonstrating the boundless meanings those images convey and the abundant pleasures they yield. His voice, very much an artist’s voice, adds an invaluable dimension to this new history of art.

Carl Belz is Director Emeritus of the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Other Side of Modern Sculpture

By Charles Kessler

I've been thinking more about my post on how the backs of sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum, backs that were never intended to be seen, are nevertheless beautifully finished. It's occurred to me that traditional sculptures were usually commissioned by rich and powerful people. They were not only sacred objects, but they were also luxury objects, and anything that looked cheap or unfinished would be unseemly.

Modern and contemporary artists, on the other hand, make their art on spec and pay for it themselves. They don’t think of their work as luxury objects commissioned by rich and powerful patrons (even if it is), and they rarely believe their work is sacred. This might explain why the backs of most of their sculptures, if not completely neglected, are treated in a more purely functional manner.

Here, chronologically, are some sculptures currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art that make the point. Significantly, the MoMA website, unlike the Met site, doesn’t have many photos of the backs of sculptures (the backs are just not important), so unfortunately you’ll have to make due with my poor iPhone photos. 

Marcel Duchamp, Fresh Widow, 1920, miniature French window, painted wood frame, and panes of glass covered with black leather, 30 1/2 x 17 5/8"  on wood sill 3/4 x 21 x 4". Katherine S. Dreier Bequest. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp (MoMA, 151.1953).

And this video of a Duchamp sculpture in action:

Marcel Duchamp, Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics), 1925. Painted papier-mâché demisphere fitted on velvet-covered disk, copper collar with plexiglass dome, motor, pulley, and metal stand, 58 1/2 x 25 1/4 x 24" . Gift of Mrs. William Sisler and Edward James Fund. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp (MoMA, 391.1970.a-c).

Alberto Giacometti, The Palace at 4 A.M., 1932, wood, glass, wire and string, 25 x 28 x 15 ¾ (MoMA #90.1936)

Cady Noland, Tanya as Bandit, 1989, silkscreen ink on aluminum and bandana, 72 x 48 x ⅜ inches (MoMA, #1155.2007).

Martin Kippenberger, Untitled, 1989, 69 ¼ x 58 x 13 inches, books bound in linen, wood bookcase, metal, plastic, electric light bulb and silkscreen ink on cloth (MoMA #524.1992.a-b).

Dieter Roth, Solo Scenes, 1997-98, 128 video monitors with DVDS on shelving units. Videos of the details of last year of the artist’s life done while recovering, and eventually dying from, alcoholism.

BTW, now is a good time to go to MoMA -- it's relatively uncrowded. If you go be sure to check this out:
Senga Nengudi, R.S.V.P. I, 1977, pantyhose and sand, dimensions vary.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Giants Super Bowl Parade from the window of my doctor's office. FYI, I'm a Patriots fan.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Some Art News

By Charles Kessler

ArtInfo has an excellent interview with Renzo Piano on his addition to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Judge for yourselves how “chivalrous” the addition is.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with Renzo Piano’s addition.
Also from ArtInfo is news that the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura will be directing a film about Pablo Picasso’s emotional upheaval while painting “Guernica” in 1937.

Wired Magazine reports on a fascinating (and very strange) group of artist/hackers who sneak into buildings, including the Pantheon, to secretly refurbish neglected treasures. Pretty incredible but supposedly true.

The Observer has an excellent article about perennially underrated artist/writer Walter Robinson. Be sure to read the comments.
ABC No Rio Cardboard Band performing at The Kitchen in 1983. Performers, from left to right: Bebe Smith, Kiki Smith, Ellen Cooper, Bobby G and Walter Robinson. (Photo by Christy Rupp, courtesy 98 Bowery.)

Other Art News:

NYU’s Creative Writing Program has a new, intimate brownstone for their extensive poetry and fiction readings — the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, 58 West 10th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. The readings are free and open to the public and well worth going to. Last night I saw Mark Strand, who's a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur award winner and a former U.S. Poet Laureate. He was charming, funny, clever and elegant — just like his poetry (or, as he called his new work, “prose fragments”). To quote him: “‘Fragments’ because they’re pieces of prose, and ‘pieces’ because they’re ‘fragments.”
The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
And speaking of great literature, check out this funny, caustic letter from a former slave responding to an old master who wanted him to come back to work on his farm.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mike Kelley, RIP

He was only 57.  The LA Times is saying it was an apparent suicide. Very sad.

Here's a great 1992 interview with him by John Miller in Bomb.