Essays

“What Does the Boss Want?”
Jimmie Durham in the Haus Wittgenstein

During a three-year stint writing reviews for Art in America, I was asked more than once by my editors to devote added attention to the language being circulated about the exhibitions I was enlisted to cover. It was a request for better accounting on my part. Curatorial statements, press releases, wall labels and magazine reviews help account for a work; and when certainty about the alleged meaning of art is widely accessible, so becomes the capacity to assess its selling price. The result of all this seems to be an enforced split between the object in its ostensible mystery and the linguistic account in its ostensible transparency. The opposition conceals that words, too, are mysterious; that the work they do is more than simply saying what this or that thing is, assigning it a meaning… Read more at Art Handler

notes on art and transcendence

The course of my life thus far has been externally mapped by a number of forces.
After finding my first captain and cartographer in the God of the old testament,
each new transcendent figure who served as point of focus by which my identity
could settle into balance had traces of its original precedent, to whom I was taught
to pray as soon as I could speak. His sanction could substantiate the whole lot of
them because, as the most abstract, he was also the least arguable. Death, too, was
inarguable, yet proved an insufficient image of transcendence because, when I
pictured my life from death’s perspective, I found myself still beholden to divine
vision, as death’s absolute negative turned positive when situated as life’s constitutive
power. To really believe in death, I would have to forget transcendence… Read more at Haunt Journal