Thursday 07/6 2017
Deftly and Defiantly Decolonial: Huong Ngo at DePaul Art Museum

“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.”

Read the rest of my review of Huong Ngô’s To Name It Is To See It in Newcity

Tuesday 06/27 2017
Effortless Indomitability: Christopher Bollen’s “The Destroyers”

“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.”

Read the rest of my review of The Destroyers in Paste

Monday 06/26 2017
Remembering Frank Deford

“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.”

Read the rest in The Classical

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

Thursday 05/25 2017
Fold; Don’t Spindle and Mutilate

” … what Green Stripes Event (so perfectly named!) does not look like, at first blush, is a painting; it’s obviously painted, of course—those stripes aren’t woven, didn’t come from nowhere—and has those various things a painting would have, where it to be broken down anatomically—and it is the protrusion, like a compound fracture, of the painting’s support, broken at the top, dangling at the bottom, which gives it both its injurious and closet-ready qualities, although the former is far more important, and keeping with the spirit of the show, than the latter—but it does not sit like a painting, compose itself as a painting should, back straight, belly tight, against the wall, a tidy lie, telling us that it exists in two dimensions … “

Read the rest of my review of Jean Alexander Frater’s solo show, Softer, in New American Paintings

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