You Know, Zen

I finally got it, got Zen, thanks to Matsuo Basho, Haiku master of and for all time. Zen is the eternal captured in the moment. The simple conveyed by the complex. It is the power by which haiku, that uninterruptible conscientious brief burst of words, implies all forms, all poems. Basho was a wonderer and […]

Intimate Wonder

Places of wonder abound. Or do they. This is something I wonder about. Does wonder have more to do with mood/temperament of observer or with design/purpose of place. By the way, I am leaving the question marks out on purpose. In order to convey the certainty of my lack of certainty. These are not rhetorical […]

A Zorse

A “zorse” is the word to use when speaking of the offspring between a zebra and a horse. Also, say this out-loud: Kanye is half cannon, half ballet. Half canonical, half prey. From Sarah Blake’s “Mr. West”

Exclamation

If you, too, were wondering, this is what forty exclamation marks look like: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From Sarah Blake’s “Mr. West”.

The History of “The History of God”

“The History of God,” written by former nun Karen Armstrong, has been sitting on my bookshelf for a decade. I bought it in a small bookstore in Mumbai, where I also purchased a book by the Nobel writer V.S. Naipaul, Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” and a practical book of mantras. This bookstore […]

Good Gossip

Just gonna call it: Naipaul dishing on Tolstoy smacking on Gandhi is the best thing I will read for the rest of this year. All three glorious days of it. From V. S. Naipaul’s “India: A Wounded Civilization.”

Cure

As quoted by Helen Macdonald in “H is for Hawk.” I think loneliness is an invention of urbanity, of History’s suddenly crowded core. There is no lonesomeness on the grassy plain, or, for that matter, in the dark concrete city heart, so long as singleness is read as the manifestation of singularity of setting, of […]

Dessert

I may not believe in dessert but oh do I believe in this.

Unpacked

So true this fallacy. From “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

Within Reason

As far as requests go, Unnameable Books in Prospect Heights makes a reasonable one.

Cosmic Communist Construction

Today I learned that Cosmic Communist Construction is a thing, or, at the very least, the very excellent title of a Taschen coffee table book. Below is one of the hundreds of sculptural images found in the book, which features mostly Soviet government construction—as well as the occasional sanatorium. Such galactic crush can in part […]

The Handmaid, and the Hurricane’s, Tale

I didn’t pack a book for our flight out of Hurricane Irma’s grasp. What was the point? It wasn’t until the next day, before boarding a flight further away from the storm, that I ventured into a bookstore. There it was: Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I’d first heard about it via late night TV, one […]

Landfall

I realize the picture above is bad. It was taken on a flight at the exact moment the pilot warned of turbulence from Hurricane Harvey, passengers and plane already shaking. The storm about to hit Texas at a place called Corpus Christi, which is the name of a real town in the physical world. So […]

Image/Identity

About a week ago I visited the Georgia O’Keefe retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum: Living Modern. The exhibit not only centered around her well-known paintings and photographs, but also around her self-made clothing, and how her choice in dress was part and parcel to her conscious artistic identity. Her clothes were black and white, androgynous […]

Nonnegotiable Time

Neko Case, a the vocalist in cult band “The New Pornographers,” is one of one hundred artists, entrepreneurs and writers interviewed for “In the Company of Women,” a surprisingly unsappy coffee table book.  Pictured above is what she had to say about time and making it to make art. I agree. 

The Most Important Work at the 2016 London Frieze

For some reason I wrote (most of) the post below over six months ago and never published it. For some other reason I thought about it today. Perhaps it is because I finally went to get my moles checked by a scrubbed-clean dermatologist who reminded me of Oscar Wild’s Dorian Gray. And, the most important work (in my […]

Break Point Break

British artist Fiona Banner turned the opening scenes of the cult classic Point Break into a huge canvas with red words. The point? Convey the break, the chiasm between what is experienced visually and mentally. Suspense is lost. Impact becomes flaccid. Scenes become silent. In the case of high-voltage action, Banner implies that sometimes the […]

The Difference between Coolness and Artness: What Turns Everyday Objects into Art

Inevitably, many of the highlights at this year’s London Frieze are works that turn common objects into art. To enter the Fair, visitors must walk by a courtyard and  up a narrow hallway where Martin Soto’s pantyhose installation cuts the sky into the vaulted Gothic cathedral lines of a sacred place of worship. The Gagosian is the first gallery one meets, featuring the works of Edmund […]

No to New Neon

Neon art began in the 1960’s when an artist named Dan Flavin first displayed it in a New York gallery. Back then neon was street, current and controversial. Indeed, The New York Times compared it to Marcel Duchamp’s urinal: “When Dan Flavin first brought [neon] into art galleries during the 1960’s, he was, in effect, doing what Marcel Duchamp had […]