New York

Cool Girls Do It Better: On Kim Gordon’s Juicy, Modest Memoir, ‘Girl in a Band’

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In the final paragraph of her memoir, Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon details a makeout session with a man who is most certainly not Thurston Moore. Emergency brake pulled, the two sat in front of a house on a hill that Gordon had rented in LA for several weeks last year while getting back to her visual art roots in a post-Sonic Youth, post-Thurston world. The anecdote starts kind of bumpy because it is apropos of nothing, but it ends somewhere fitting — hopeful, even. “I know: it sounds like I’m someone else entirely now,” she writes after pulling away from this man’s “full-on grope” for reasons of practicality, “and I guess I am.”
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Flavorwire Exclusive: A Lesson on Art School by Chris Kraus

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The work of Chris Kraus — the American novelist, critic or fictocritic, professor of film, filmmaker, and editor — is irreducible to a single mode of artistic output. Nevertheless, in recent years, Kraus has been known more in her capacity as “the art world’s favorite fiction writer,” or, as  Kate Zambreno put it, as a writer who “radicalized a vernacular criticism that involves the self” and “[is] influential in re-innovating the idea of the nonfiction novel.” In whatever mode, Kraus draws fearlessly from her life as an artist. In the below short excerpt, taken from Phaidon’s new Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life, Kraus does the same, effortlessly combining biography and criticism to deliver a sui generis lesson on art school. Included at the bottom is Kraus’ selection of reading, viewing, and other assignments for would-be students.
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‘All Our Happy Days Are Too Expensive': Is Sheila Heti’s New Psychodrama an Exercise in Self-Immolation?

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“I think I learn less every time it is performed,” Sheila Heti confessed after the second night of All Our Happy Days Are Stupid at The Kitchen in New York. “It’s a terrible play,” she murmured. Heti’s confession had a twin effect: it presented a low-key staging as superfluous — even decadent — and it somehow made the whole spectacle more endearing.
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Spy Novels, Mice Brains, and the Neuroscience of Pleasure: Ned Beauman on ‘Glow’

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There are some go-to mentionables about the novelist Ned Beauman, snippets or shorthand remarks that are true but work to obscure his literary gifts and value. It is often pointed out, for example, that Beauman was the youngest writer on Granta’s Best Young British Novelists of 2013. And it is now a given that his first two novels — Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident — recall the work of William Gibson and Thomas Pynchon. Both of these are fine things to write or say — and Beauman is unfailingly modest, a writer who is genuinely humbled to hear such things — but for me they don’t quite get at the consistency or quality of his work. Time after time, Beauman is able to capture a milieu, or totally invent one, in fleet, intelligent prose that is somehow analytic, beautiful, and comic all at the same time. When a new novel by Beauman arrives, I open it knowing that I’m going to be swept into an engaging, possibly ecstatic plot. I also know that I’ll be quoting it to all of my friends.
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Hitler in Brooklyn: On Martin Amis’ ‘The Zone of Interest’

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Martin Amis’ new Holocaust novel, The Zone of Interest, is not about Adolf Hitler. Until, weirdly, it is. But for the first 295 pages, it is a difficult yet captivating book set in Auschwitz, one that reflects the atrocity of the Final Solution through the lusts and petty jealousies of Nazi officials. What begins as a romance between Angelus “Golo” Thomsen, fictional nephew of Hitler’s secretary, and Hannah Doll, wife of the pathetic and monstrous Kommandant, ends as a complicated moral tale that reveals the full spectrum of complicity in the Nazi horror. And it does all of this without once uttering the name “Hitler.” Or at least not until an afterword, fronted by a grainy image of the Führer, where Amis explains everything about the book that he doesn’t need to explain.
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