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Bernadette Mayer’s Top Ten @ Artforum
MICHAEL RUBY, CLOSE YOUR EYES (DUSIE, 2013)
A poet gives us his descriptions of some hypnagogic visions. The constraint is that what he sees is the world. This world becomes different colors and can be full of dragonflies, roses, ice cream, spiderwebs, butterflies, and pyramids. Write descriptions of what you see, eyes closed, in the sun, compared to eyes closed before sleep. Concentrate on the area with the most turmoil. Try to recognize different incipient emotions in this panorama. For this you have to be a little more awake. See what emotions are associated with which colors.
THE LINES AND GEOGLYPHS OF THE NAZCA, ICA REGION, PERU
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, this extraordinary set of earth carvings includes giant line drawings of geometric forms and a spider, hummingbird, monkey, and pelican. They can be viewed from the air or from an observation tower. What were these people thinking? Were they communicating with extraterrestrials? The animal images are the oldest—BC old. Be prepared to haggle when visiting.
AGNÈS VARDA, THE GLEANERS AND I (2000)
No haggling here, you just take what nobody wants. Many of the leftover potatoes are heart-shaped. Oysters, apples, and figs are gleaned, some even by Varda. As we all know now, you can live out of dumpsters. Gleaning is a fine tradition. The French laws about gleaning are delineated in the movie. Varda is nothing if not charming and inspiring.
ROGER WEISBERG, ROAD SCHOLAR (1993)
Poet Andrei Codrescu goes on a road trip in a 1968 red Cadillac convertible. He visits communal places, new-age cure places, shrines, Detroit, a sausage factory, St. Mark’s Church in New York City, New Mexico’s Chimayó, and California. Poet Allen Ginsberg appears walking the sidewalks of the East Village espousing his wisdom. As an immigrant, Codrescu discovers America. We watch him be reborn!
DANIEL SPOERRI, AN ANECDOTED TOPOGRAPHY OF CHANCE (ATLAS ARKHIVE, 1966)
Written in connection with a one-man show of his “snare pictures” at the Galerie Lawrence in Paris in 1962, Spoerri’s book-length inventory of tabletop contents, published in English by Something Else Press, was translated from the French and further anecdoted by Emmett Williams. The book is illustrated by Roland Topor. Spoerri’s Fluxus artist friend Robert Filliou also helped with the project. The anecdotes on what was left on the table after lunch sometimes go on ad infinitum, down to crumbs and grains of salt. It’s the ultimate catalogue raisonné.