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Joseph Nechvatal

Joseph Nechvatal is an American artist currently living in Paris. His The Viral Tempest double LP has recently been released on Pentiments, and his new book of poetry Styling Sagaciousness: Oh Great No!, by punctum books. In the Fall he exhibited new paintings at Galerie Richard in Paris in a solo exhibition called Turning the Viral Tempest and this winter is exhibiting early work in the No Wave survey exhibition Who You Staring At: Culture visuelle de la scène no wave des années 1970 et 1980 at The Centre Pompidou.

Letter from LONDON: RICHARD WRIGHT: Turner Prize 09

Viewing 2009 Turner Prize winner Richard Wright’s pareidolia-like no title (2009) sets in motion a collection of considerations about the contemporary condition of art. Something prime is shifting.

Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color

An initial question intrigued me on visiting the American modernist painter Beauford Delaney’s Parisian show Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color: How did a black gay painter remain so full of light and joy during the struggle against racial and sexual bigotry taking place in the 1960s?


The exhibition Hypnose (Hypnosis), curated by Pascal Rousseau for the Musée d’arts in Nantes, is a chronicle both compelling and comical. Although submerged in a stream of spiritual consciousness tied to artistic principles of universal connection, the exhibition also flirts with certain kitsch clichés, most notably the iconic hypnotic-disc that by spiraling supposedly sucks suggestible cerveaux down a somnambulist whirlpool.

Pierre Huyghe The Menagerie Entertains

The Pompidou Centre is currently presenting, in retrospective form, about 50 relational art projects by Pierre Huyghe that span more than 20 years. This retrospective is further augmented upstairs in the permanent collection that includes his two-channel video “The Third Memory” (1999), where John Wojtowicz tells his story of the robbery portrayed in the movie Dog Day Afternoon (1975).

Bernar Venet: 1961 & 1963: les origins

Venet’s current show, 1961 & 1963: les origins at Ceysson & Bénétière Paris, puts him back into that post-Duchampian / Yves Klein context with early minimal works that ponder the power of black and the pull of gravity through an inter-disciplinarian methodology.

Monet-Mitchell: Dialogue and Retrospective

Ultimately, Monet-Mitchell: Dialogue feels conceptually forced, but it is rigorously disciplined in terms of color and scale, projecting a loose delicacy and grace that animates the Fondation Louis Vuitton with a lyrical intensity that speaks to me of joy.

Christo: Show Cases, Show Windows & Store Fronts, 1963-1966

Christo’s exhibition, situating art as a material process, presents a selection of his historic covered cases, all hidden behind a covered vitrine.

Flawed Composition

Draw a Straight Line and Follow It purports to be a definitive biography of the famous but elusive avant-garde American composer La Monte Young (born 1935) and thus of particular interest to those involved in transcendental black metal, experimental electronica, psychoacoustic drone, and difficult noise music.

Noise’s Nectar

Unofficial Release is a brimming book that captures the key cultural philosophies of self-released music and sound art, emphasizing activities within the cassette network—that was so exciting to partake in back in the 1980s (a k a cassette culture).

In Conversation

JAY MURPHY with Joseph Nechvatal

Artaud’s Metamorphosis: From Hieroglyphs to Bodies Without Organs (2017)

The Art of Nietzsche

The Three Stigmata of Friedrich Nietzsche: Political Physiology in the Age of Nihilism is a terribly expensive but mesmerizing book of contemporary interdisciplinary theory that comes across as a chaotic-black velvety luxury item of immense merit.

Abigail Susik’s Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work

Binding Surrealist automatism to workplace sabotage, the book raises issues for deliberation that benefit opportunities to review the premise of the life-as-art/art-as-luxury-lifestyle aspiration as nothing more than a consumerist enterprise equipped with cloaking theoretical elements that have artfully ducked anti-capitalist and anti-art critical postures. This fever-dream history of subversion as sex machine invites you into a contemplation of your intimate erotic life, put in relationship to its oppression.

Gustav Metzger’s Writings

Including versions of his Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto, the moral content of this collection is unashamed melancholic rage at the state of the world. Metzger’s writings, at times naïve, can still mess with heads in right-wing America.

Hal Foster’s Brutal Aesthetics: Dubuffet, Bataille, Jorn, Paolozzi, Oldenburg

This eloquent book attempts to inaugurate a positive appraisal of what the author identifies as “positive barbarism.” However interesting the brutal aesthetics of sloppiness might be to a modern art historical exegesis, Brutal Aesthetics arrives at the grim doorstep of an offended world in the wake of endless uncouth brutalizations made by a mendacious macho American president.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues