Category Archives: Culture

Monday 06/19 2017
The MCA and Facebook Messenger Bring Murakami to the Masses

“Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is collaborating with Facebook to bring the art of Takashi Murakami to all of the users of the social network’s Messenger feature. The team-up, which kicks off the Cannes Lions Festival, allows users to snap photos with special “frames” incorporating Murakami icons Mr. DOB and the smiling daisies, as well as the octopus created to coincide with his MCA summer retrospectiveTakashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. The partnership is the first of its kind between a museum and Facebook, i.e., creating something interactive rather than just ad space.

‘We are excited to work with the MCA and Takashi Murakami to bring to our community these special, exclusive, first-of-their kind tools to connect with the people they love,’ Facebook’s Head of Messenger, David Marcus, said in a press release. ‘The work of the team at the Facebook Creative Shop has been both thoughtful and playful, and we can’t wait to see how people interact with their own small piece of Murakami art!’”

Read the rest at Creators

Tuesday 06/6 2017
No Pity: Masculinity and Haruki Murakami’s “Men Without Women”

“Any discussion of male loneliness must begin with two caveats. The first is that our loneliness cannot be the fault of women; this is no fedora-wearing, MRA message board polemic. The second is that the issues which may exacerbate loneliness are our own fault, stemming from concepts of masculinity that have given us a pretty good shake for millennia.

Modern American Masculinity is the one I know best, and it feels defined by stoicism, by beards and guns and backwards Flexfit baseball caps. Such atavistic ideas can be deeply alluring; I know, because I have felt them, too. So when a man who defines himself by his Modern American Masculinity is presented with something corrosive like loneliness, he can either sacrifice a part of that masculinity and express his emotional pain or internalize it and immolate with rage. One guess as to what choice many men make.”

Read the rest of my essay in Paste Magazine

Tuesday 05/23 2017
Painting the Unchecked Pleasures and Unformed Horrors of Childhood

“The figures populating Bruce’s past are abstractions; ciphers for himself, the viewer, whomever. They exist as jaundiced faces—like summer camp soap carvings left in the sun—and flat, creamy planes or, most often, as simple, vibrant lines, exsanguinated silhouettes, emanating in jejune tones from the forest or the side of the frame, squiggling like tube worms from between shoulder blades, practically detached as a soft gray tracing, visage-cum-skyline.”

Read the rest of my review of Kristian Bruce’s solo show at Stuart & Co. in Newcity

Tuesday 05/16 2017
The Effective Narcissism of Chuck Klosterman

“Klosterman’s essays matter, because—despite focusing on a bunch of middle-aged-white-guy-things—their content tackles well-known subjects. These are not meditations on obscure punk records; these are treatises on KISS, for fuck’s sake. It’s like pulling David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster from a black backpack covered in Toy Machine patches and poorly rendered Sharpie doodles. Klosterman pulls the literary equivalent of Jeff Koons’ art—validating your love of something with nary a pat on the head in sight.”

Read the rest of my essay on Klosterman’s new book, X, in Paste

Tuesday 05/16 2017
The New Battle Front Is Personal: The ISIS Hostage and the New War Journalism

“Puk Damsgård’s unadorned chronicle of Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye’s capture, confinement and eventual release delivers a lesson as astringent as medicine: in the modern era of irregular warfare, battlefields are no longer demarcated by flags or trenches but by ideology and memory. Beyond bombs and drones and Kalashnikovs, wars are now fought via emotion and media, perception and pressure. The modern front is personal.”

Read the rest of my review in Paste Magazine

Tuesday 05/2 2017
Beware The Wolf: Can Esports Prevent Its Inevitable Match-Fixing Scandal?

“It’s a level of foresight that no other league has enjoyed in such relative infancy. As a result, Smith has set a lofty expectation: To be the first major sport to head off a sweeping match-fixing scandal well before it strikes.

‘Every single sport [with the exception of golf] has only put proper match-fixing regulations and procedures in place after they’ve been hit by a major match-fixing scandal,’ Smith said. ‘And my message to esports from day one has been, ‘Let’s do this before the scandal.’ If you want to wait ’til afterwards, that’s fine, but it’s gonna be a hell of a lot harder and a lot more painful once your industry is rocked by a major scandal to do something meaningful about it.’

But ESIC can only do so much. ESIC is a coalition of parties, which means it has no jurisdiction over anyone that isn’t a member. This is not, in other words, a governing body which dominates the landscape and has the teeth to implement sweeping sanctions. Even if the match in question was conducted by an ESIC-affiliated organization, Smith cannot force the organization to take any action. All Smith can do inform the tournament operators, the books, and law enforcement of ESIC’s suspicions, and hope they respond accordingly.

‘And this is the problem that we face,” he says. ‘In a sense, I’m the man who cried wolf. The only difference is, I know the wolf is coming.’”

Read the rest at VICE Sports

Thursday 04/13 2017
Houses on the Sand: “Sunshine State,” Real Estate, and Our Future

“Florida is nothing if not a haven for builders and dreamers, down low where the laws are looser and the warm weather means construction season never ends. Cheap swampland is converted into mansions and country clubs, orchards into a Magic Kingdom, the Everglades into sugarcane fields.

How American is it, this rush to build in an inhospitable place? To turn aside nature and decide to build atop it? How darkly, cruelly, perfectly American is it that a “housing first” approach to ending homelessness in a state with a dire need and an obsession with building is met with fierce hostility, as Gerard chronicles?

That all of those pricey lands, those millions of dollars in assets, will soon be washed away hasn’t slowed their proliferation. This, too, is America in microcosm; it is a blind hunger for lucre and a blind faith for solutions, a bet that either the payout will be worth it or American ingenuity will beat back the seas. Sunshine State does not provide easy answers to any of the questions it dredges up, nor is it meant to; it is left to the reader—and the nation—to sift through the mangrove mud and crab carapaces.”

Read the rest of my essay about Sarah Gerard’s essay collection Sunshine State in Paste Magazine

Monday 03/20 2017
On Numbers on Words

Blatt’s approach sounds unorthodox, because, as he so aptly notes, we are used to studying literature in a granular way. We spend days, weeks, months on the reading and analysis of one work. We draw conclusions about culture and place until we exsanguinate it, and then we place it within a broader canon. What Blatt’s numbers can do is study the aggregate, massive swaths of work that can reveal broader trends than any single book can. More data, as far as science is concerned, is always better. The more points one can make coalesce into a picture, the better the odds of that picture being accurate.

Read the rest of my essay at Paste Magazine

Monday 03/13 2017
Cinema Fatalite: Ben Murray at Moique Meloche

“In Life Review, Ben Murray’s solo show at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, continues the artist’s reconnaissance of the maddeningly amorphous landscape of memory, here pinned to the walls in its most dramatic form. The “life review” is the classic, quasi-paranormal event wherein one’s life flashes before one’s eyes—in totality, crystal-clear—during a near death experience. A fictional trope and indelible fact to those who have experienced them, the life review is memory armed with the exigency of death, its celerity contrary to every little thing we imagine about ourselves—that we are some grand elegy in our total, that we are incapable of reduction to a series of scenes—when in fact we are, of course, nothing but scenes, none ever seen from the same perspective twice, singular in both our mind and the minds of others.”

Read the rest of my review in New American Paintings

Monday 02/27 2017
A Fairer Form of Gentrification

“Indianapolis’ Tube Factory Artspace is best understood not as a structure, but as a multifaceted art practice on a municipal scale. Heralded in The Guardian as a “fairer form of gentrification,” art collective Big Car‘s maker space and community center is the central hub for their efforts to invigorate the Garfield Park neighborhood, buoyed by ten houses owned by the collective, a second renovated factory, and a sound-art gallery and radio station.

“One thing that sets us apart is that we operate as a community center and a museum,” Big Car co-founder and Tube Factory commissioning curator Shauta Marsh tells Creators. Tube Factory is used for neighborhood association meetings, clubs, classes, and other events, as well as showing art and providing work spaces and a tool library.”

Read the rest at Creators