Bird of Paradise, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 84 x 108 inches. © Mark Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Joshua White
Los Angeles Review of Books: This Week


“When classical music is your field, the term ‘genius’ carries another layer of historical baggage. All of us who have dedicated our lives to an art form we see as a vital and fundamental expression of the human soul struggle against the forbidding images of the people who came before us. In classical music, those people were often tortured white men, largely misunderstood and unrecognized until their deaths. This is a mausoleum approach to music that promotes an involuntary social turn toward the reactionary.” Opera director and MacArthur Fellow Yuval Sharon critiques the idea of genius. This article is featured in the LARB Quarterly Journal: No.18 Genius Issue. Sign up for membership to the print and higher level and we'll mail you a copy.
“There has never been an Eastern Europe without Islam. Eastern Europe owes its existence to the intermingling of languages, of cultures, and, perhaps above all, of faiths. It is the meeting place of the Catholic West and the Orthodox East, of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewry, of militant Islam and crusading Christianity, of Byzantine mystics and Sufi saints.” Jacob Mikanowski traces the silver thread of Islam in the tapestry of Eastern European culture.
“At the corner of 8th and Market in San Francisco, by a shuttered subway escalator outside a Burger King, an unusual soundtrack plays. A beige speaker, mounted atop a tall window, blasts Baroque harpsichord at deafening volumes. The music never stops.” Theodore Gioia takes aim at the weaponization of classical music.
On BLARBSarah Blackwood asks, “Is Motherhood a Genre?”


Edward F. Mooney takes lessons from Gordon Marino’s The Existentialist’s Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age.
Robert Allen Papinchak appreciates  William Trevor’s “impeccable” Last Stories.
Adrian Nathan West considers Armen Avanessian’s Miamification, “a journal intermingled with sidebar quotes recording two weeks spent in Miami.”


Mary Davis sheds light on shadow banking.
Amy Wright talks to Dorothy Allison about working-class anger and the glory in literature.
Peter Sloterdijk offers his explosive views on Nietzsche.
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In the new works on view at Hauser & Wirth, Mark Bradford probes stories found in comic books to question the archetype of the antihero and the influence of the media on contemporary society, while also revisiting misconceptions of black identity and gender as seen in previous works. ‘New Works’ presents paintings that extend the artist’s examination of homophobia and racism in American society. Bradford employs the ‘tools of civilization’ — billboards, merchant posters, newsprint, comics, magazines, and endpapers — creating layers of social commentary in paintings that evoke deep feeling. Through his rigorous physical approach to the material presence of painting, Bradford has addressed powerful issues of our time, including the AIDS epidemic, the mis-representation and fear of queer identity, and systemic racism in America. His recent work engages in a broader excavation of American history to raise questions about the preservation of the past and the transference of power. ‘Mark Bradford. New Works’ will be on view at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles through May 20, 2018. The featured image in this week's newsletter is Bird of Paradise, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 84 x 108 inches. © Mark Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Joshua White.
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