Maurizio’s John

Ever taken a slash in a gold-plated toilet? You haven’t lived my friend. But if you were in New York for the past couple months the opportunity for your ‘golden shower’ was available too you at the Guggenheim. Conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan had created his shining head for the esteemed gallery and called it ‘America’ …

A Pen of all Work

Southern Californian Raymond Pettibon has been a counter culture artist since his days playing bass, albeit briefly, in his big brother’s punk band ‘Black Flag’. But it was with a pen rather than a guitar that he found the tool that would unleash his creativity His comic like drawings in black and white and color …

Cathedral of the Pines

Gregory Crewdson has been creating film stills of the lives of ordinary American suburbanites for many years. His latest effort ‘ Cathedral of the Pines’ continues his themes of loss, loneliness and alienation in wide screen. But with more foliage. Beautifully composed, these eerie and unsettling images are what I imagine David Lynch might come …

Widow Basquiat

With works of fiction like ‘City on Fire’ and non-fiction like ‘Love Goes to Buildings on Fire’ being set in a ‘golden’ era of American alternative music the late seventies and early eighties, it makes sense that this a good time to re-release Jennifer Clement’s ‘Widow Basquiat’ I’d previously known Clement only through her novel …

Journals

Keith Haring left behind him an impressive body of work that reflects his era perhaps better than any New York artist of the early eighties. His understanding of modern music and street art gave him a leg up on contemporaries still beholden to galleries and collectors to make their names. Ironically even without the backing …

Severson Surf

Eighty year old John Severson, one of the founding fathers of modern surf culture, has a book out unimaginatively but appropriately called ‘John Severson’s Surf’. This is a man that introduced surf culture to none other than the surfin’ safari Beach Boys( who he accuses of appropriating surf culture) That’s how deep into the culture …

Monsieur Jean

Oh to be a carefree bachelor in Paris. The women, the Gauloises and the charm of every arondissement you have the good fortune to stroll through. Monsieur Jean is perhaps the most famous cartoon version of such a beast. A writer beset by a fearsome landlady and a group of deeply troubled friends who manages …

Jenny Saville

When I see a Jenny Saville painting I’m always reminded of Middle-America. It’s the gargantuan fleshy bodies she paints that do it, I think. For Saville is certainly no fan of the waif. Her figures are big, solid, powerful and often appear to be suffering. There’s something about her work that reminds a little of …

Heinrich’s World

Many photographers have attempted to give their work a painterly feel. Perhaps one of the most successful was an early Austro- German photographic pioneer called Heinrich Kuhn. Using an early color photography process known as autochrome, he created dreamily impressionistic images of friends and family that seem to exist in some painless parallel universe.

Excerpts from Silver Meadow.

Todd Hido is famous for his depiction of eerie unpopulated homes and weirdly haunted landscapes. The lanes in his suburban neighborhoods feel like they lead to one of the circles of hell. Nothing good can come of this world. What are strangely absent are people, who make only occasional visits to his photographs. This all …