” … radiant and giving off a palpable … vibe, a kind of psychic heat, Heavy Sunshine, buzzing from the apian engine which drives it with the cosmic exigency which only derives from density, an immensely dense little star of positivity, happy imagery—flowers, mountains, clouds, houses, bees, bunnies, books, baseballs, brick facades, bananas, watermelon slices, apples and pineapples and mushrooms, computer monitors, keys, clocks, lampshades, pyramids, the majority made animate, all gaping eyes and content smiles stretching across their faces like cats in a sunbeam—condensing into a heavy star, loosed now and setting in to a dark sea obliterating, by virtue of its weight, all that lays before it, so long as any wavelength still finds its mark among the rods and cones … “
Articles by B. David Zarley
A rotating selection of new articles and personal favorites; updated periodically.
“A massive Hector Duarte painting greets you right as you walk in the front door, depicting an avian heart encircled by gnashing border guard dogs. It symbolizes the pieces of their spirit immigrants must leave behind. Directly next to it is an early Marcos Raya, a portrait of the artist in a bar, the countertop now a butcher’s block, a gun and bottle before him and the leering demons of his alcoholism floating just above. Together they depict the complicated reality of immigrant life, a life Salgado knows personally.”
“Antarctica is a place of extremes: coldest place on earth; home of the world’s largest desert; land of constant sun and constant night. So it stands to reason that Antarctica draws only the most intrepid and unique individuals.
While the continent has no permanent population, numerous scientists and support staff are scattered across its surface. It is here, by design, that Antarctica is meant to avoid at least one polarizing factor: politics. Operated under the Antarctic Treaty System, the South Pole is meant to be a brumal Eden of science, where research centers are freed from the political binds that exist in the world above.”
“The clouds spilling out of A retrospective view of the pathway are subject to an array of variables like wind, temperature, humidity, grass, and people that make even tumultuous modern life seem simple by comparison. The inherently fun yet hard-to-control foam is meant to celebrate the joy that can be found in change.”
“Finances fray our nerves and shadow our souls. As flies caught in an international web of commerce, few things can make us feel as powerful or as pathetic as our bank balance. So if your parents just paid your rent again or you just can’t reconcile those little numbers on your ATM receipt, these books’ torturous relationships with cash will leave you feeling better about your own (legal) tender issues.”
“In the thin hallway gallery adjacent to the bulk of the show, prints made with the obsolete hectographic method—the kind used by the anti-colonial activists—use agar-agar, a common Asian dessert ingredient, to display English, Vietnamese and French iterations of the pro-immigration rallying cry “We are here because you were there.” The artist’s royal purple agitprop hangs over the observer’s heads like Damocles’ sword, a powerful reminder that history is written in blood and spoken through the gnashing of teeth. One leaves the show with eyes open, but blurred by now-knowing tears.”
“Availing himself to as romantic a backdrop as one could ever hope—not only the island itself, rich with ruin and religion and, well, riches, but also the twin eddies of the Greek economic crash and the Mediterranean refugee crisis—Bollen’s writing echoes both Patmos and the famous words brought up from its core. Sun-blasted prose is pocked with marvelous turns of phrase, and his pawns twist, flay and leak acid like lemons. Every painful and sexy and mysterious moment proves alluringly repulsive, like the heat—from behind designer sunglasses—of the vacation sun…or the end of the world.”
“When people ask me why I write about sports, instead of some or any other thing, I tell them this: when it comes to social constructs—the membranes and ligaments which hold groups of people together, the bonding agents not visible on a map or in a flag, things that tie us together socially, not politically—there are only three which can rightfully claim true and enduring power: religion, war, and sport.
Those three social constructs reach, bring together, and separate more people than art or music or movies (both so close!) or literature or whatever else is generally deemed “more important” than sport.
And so, should not our writers who cover so important a social construct be admired and examined with the love and seriousness commensurate with what they cover? All of which is a long way of saying, sport matters, sportswriting matters, and Frank Deford was a fantastic sportswriter. His writing matters, and so does he.
And what fucking writing! Go on ahead and Google an image of Deford, because the easiest way to explain his rhetorical stylings is to say that he wrote how he looked. Unafraid of the purple and being picaresque, large but not bulky or intimidating, charming but not unctuous. He’s a rakish hero, broad shouldered and be-pompadoured, glossy and flashy but never to the point of inelegance.”
“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 retrospective, Takashi 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!’”
“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.”