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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Photos: Life is for living

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Ai Weiwei, the artist and Chinese dissident, whose crimes are the subject of a recent installation at the Tate Modern, was born in 1936. Asked recently by the Financial Times what it was like to grow up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, he replied: “It was a sort of thing, like growing up in a gypsy camp. Not under Communism. We were in a camp without a fixed location, no normal organization. You find yourself fighting around and finding stories to create meaning … and in finding meaning you find yourself being political.”

This is what fashion designer Alexander McQueen wrote in his 1992 autobiography, and it’s what he and Francis Bacon tried to do in their duet at the Royal Court, “Black Times”; while the aesthetic of fashion itself — the idea of choice — is what was dreamed up in the drama. As drama, however, this was not a good match.

The Met, the Netherlands, the Netherlands, the Netherlands, the House of Rothko, and the period between L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. A Talking Head anthology for the best of discussion, conversation, and annotated criticism about punk (November 1999). Now, sitting on top of a mountain of The Village Voice entries from 1995, this recent 500-page tribute to Bo Puf and his drovers helps repair a bit of the Newsday and National Review, as far as I can tell, that ruled the roost of notable and significant commentary in those two centers of the genre, Soho and Washington, respectively.

“A Day in the Life” is the first section of

The Living and the Dead, out this November from the British

National Portrait Gallery and American Vogue. The exhibit is

“revealing the richness of images drawn from the entire

entire history of the cameras, going back to the 1850s.”

The images themselves are far from worthy of such exposure, but

it’s possible that one, or more, of the five people participating in the poem (not “they”) below will emerge as a strong single character.

Opener

June 19, 1985. La Tomatina

by R.E. Adams

PART 1

A group assembles at a warehouse near Valencia, Spain.

At 6 p.m., they walk out of the courtyard, down a path, across a

snow-covered parking lot and up to this parking lot. They turn to face a brand-new VW Passat. A man steers it along a four-lane expressway that leads down to the port of Murcia, which is one of Spain’s major ports.

It begins a rain of grapes against a wind that blows cream on the road,

and the wine is smothered in an artificial rain. It becomes

slush and a layer of snow that settles right on top. Fifteen

miles of pavements are soaked, and long streaks form of the

warm sticky, green chalk that the grapes have melted.

It is raining twenty-four hours a day, thirty-seven

days a week and one hour in the evening. The radius is eighty

miles and the road is an expanse of road called the Strait

of Gibraltar.

The wine stain spreads even higher, and the men crouch,

watching as each vine lowers its vine bud, ready to accept

the rain. They have not seen an oasis.

PART 2

Au Pair de Bagatelle

by Penelope Fitzgerald

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