Everybody Needs Wiggle Room
For three decades, in artworks and writing David Robbins has promoted a frank, unapologetic recognition of the contemporary overlap between the art and entertainment contexts. His work Talent (1986) is widely credited with announcing the age of the celebrity artist, and The Ice Cream Social (1993 - 2008), a multi-platform project which included a TV pilot for the Sundance Channel, a novella, installations, ceramics, and performance has been cited by Hans Ulrich Obrist as pioneering the "expanded exhibition." Progressively evolving away from the prevailing model of the professional contemporary artist, in his books High Entertainment (2009) and Concrete Comedy: An Alternative History of Twentieth-Century Comedy he identified and advanced other categories of imaginative endeavor. Among his six books are The Velvet Grind: Selected Essays, Interview, Satires 1983 - 2005 (2006) and The Camera Believes Everything (1988). Ten years ago he withdrew from active participation in the art world in order to discover how his imagination performed when not formatted to produce art, and began using the term "independent imagination" in place of "artist." Subsequently re-locating to Milwaukee he has aligned his work with contexts and formats historically foresaken by the avant garde, positing the suburb as a frontier for art production and creating TV commercials for galleries. His work is featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Most recently, his "Theme Song For An Exhibition," a ground-breaking experiment in digital distribution, was launched internationally, on the same day, by 11 art museums, including the Serpentine, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles.
By Daniel Gerwin
APRIL 2020 | Film
I arrived at Circus of Books without the slightest clue I was walking into LA queer history. The store has since closed, but a new documentary, Circus of Books, explores its 33-year life and the story of its unlikely proprietors, Karen and Barry Mason, a straight and straight-laced Jewish couple. The movies director is their daughter Rachel, a multi-disciplinary artist who made a previous film in 2013, The Lives of Hamilton Fish.
SEPT 2019 | Art Books
My conversation with Devers underscored the importance of collecting as a means of rectifying history. It seems like a nostalgic pursuit, but the more energy in the market around certain books, the more likely it gets onto syllabus and back into print.
By Carol Nisar
DEC 19-JAN 20 | Art Books
Amassed by the artist Hannah Darabi, this oversized photobook casts a broadly curated lens on the sociopolitical turmoil induced by Irans Islamic revolution through a look at the Tehrans underground publishing scene. Including personal recollections, first-hand accounts from publishers and photographers, and invaluable photographic documentation of the books and the city, Darabi and researcher Chowra Makaremi reconstruct this important moment in Irans history.
By Betsy Kaufman
MAY 2019 | Critics Page
On my first date with an artist who would eventually become my husband, I said, Look at me, look at me, look at me! I am also an artist and I wanted him to know, from the beginning, that I not only live for my work, but that I need an audience to view that work. Eventually my husband gave me A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka.