David O'Neill

  • culture April 03, 2018

    Home Is Where the Art Is

    Last month, the Feminist Press at CUNY and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop published Go Home!, an anthology of Asian diasporic writers exploring belonging, identity, family, place, and the myriad other topics that come into play when considering the notion of “home.”

    Last month, the Feminist Press at CUNY and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop published Go Home!, an anthology of Asian diasporic writers exploring belonging, identity, family, place, and the myriad other topics that come into play when considering the notion of “home.” We invited the AAWW’s Ken Chen and the Feminist Press’s Jisu Kim to discuss the book with its editor, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, and contributors Amitava Kumar, Alexander Chee, and Wo Chan. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

    Ken Chen: Rowan, Can you talk about why you decided to put together this

  • Political Theatre

    WHAT IF YOU ADAPTED the 2016 election campaign into a play? How would you stage this grueling saga about a bunch of uniformly unlikable characters in unhappy situations saying patently ridiculous things? You could start by looking at Mark Peterson's new book from the campaign trail, Political Theatre, in which he presents our nationwide absurdist freak-out as a stark melodrama. His pictures of media scrums, starstruck Trumpkins, forlorn Jeb! events, Village of the Damned–looking Rubio fans, Bernie in various grumpy poses, and tragically overconfident Hillary rallies remind us exactly why our

  • interviews December 13, 2012

    Bookforum talks with Michael Fried

    Michael Fried is a professor of humanities and the history of art at Johns Hopkins University, He’s best known as a singularly influential art critic and historian, especially for his controversial 1967 Artforum essay, “Art and Objecthood;” and for his trilogy tracing the genealogy of modern art back through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Absorption and Theatricality (1980); Courbet’s Realism (1990); and Manet’s Modernism (1996), He’s also written prolifically on photography, literature, and is a poet.

    Michael Fried is a professor of humanities and the history of art at Johns Hopkins University. He’s best known as a singularly influential art critic and historian, especially for his controversial 1967 Artforum essay “Art and Objecthood,” and for his trilogy tracing the genealogy of modern art back through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: Absorption and Theatricality (1980), Courbet’s Realism (1990), and Manet’s Modernism (1996). He’s also written prolifically on photography and is a poet. In his newest work, Flaubert’s “Gueuloir, the critic turns his attention to Flaubert’s first

  • culture May 09, 2011

    Viva la Baffler!

    The Baffler returns, with new editorial staff and high hopes that the influential culture studies magazine can regain its place as the premiere journal for dissident social criticism. New editor John Summers thinks the time is right for a comeback: “I cannot think of another journal better prepared to analyze the myths and dogmas of conservative rule or to anathematize the boom-and-bust style of life to which the country appears to be committed.”

    In January 2010 The Baffler, the influential Chicago-based culture and politics journal cofounded by Thomas Frank in 1988, put out an impressive new issue, its first in three years. George Packer heralded the journal’s return in the New Yorker, writing that it was “a perfect moment for The Baffler’s kind of cultural criticism to be revived.” But the revival was lamentably brief. Despite the issue’s high quality and success—three Pushcart nominations, two book contracts born from pieces in the magazine—no follow-up emerged. By the fall of 2010, Frank was looking for a successor.

    Fans of the

  • interviews February 01, 2011

    Chatting with Bookforum's Chris Lehmann about Rich People Things

    "So long as Americans fundamentally view themselves as upward striving Algerian monads—entrepreneurs waiting to happen, in essence—the language of social class, and the political aims of economic fairness, will always strike our ears as dangerously alien and morale-sapping."

    Chris Lehmann is a conspicuously over-employed editor and cultural critic. He’s a co-editor of Bookforum, an editor at Yahoo news, a columnist for the Awl, a contributing editor for The Baffler, and a guitarist and singer for the band The Charm Offensive. He’s also penned a book, Rich People Things, published by OR books. We recently caught up with Mr. Lehmann via email to discuss the how his blog column became a book, why he considers himself an economic populist, and what we talk about when we talk about class in America.

    Q: Mr. Lehmann, I can’t help notice that your name figures prominently

  • interviews January 01, 2011

    Bookforum talks with Sara Marcus

    "I chose, in my book Girls to the Front, to follow the stories of young women who aren’t in bands, in addition to the stories of the musicians, in order to assert that the lives and struggles of teenage girls matter, and that, furthermore, you can know some very important things about a historical and political era by looking at the lives of teenage girls.

    Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front, an engaging chronicle of the early-’90s punk feminist movement known as Riot Grrrl, is being published today by Harper Perennial. Writing in Bookforum’s music issue, musician and author Johanna Fateman called the book an “ambitious and convincing book that makes narrative sense out of events that had so far been recorded only in mythic, unverified, and fragmentary form.” We recently sat down with Marcus, who is a freelancer at our sister publication Artforum, to discuss her writing process, feminism’s fate in mainstream culture, gender bias in book criticism,

  • You Should Have Heard Just What I Seen

    As a photographer for publications like the Village Voice, Crawdaddy!, and Harper’s Bazaar in late-1960s and ’70s New York, James Hamilton captured one of the most vibrant music eras this country has ever experienced. His vast and spectacular archive from the time—black-and-white portraits, snapshots, and contact sheets—has been assembled for publication for the first time in You Should Have Heard Just What I Seen. There’s an exuberant Chuck Berry in performance, James Brown posing with thick shades, and shots of underground legends like Tom Verlaine and Sun Ra, as well as of the hoard of wild

  • Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon

    Félix Fénéon, whose Novels in Three Lines was collected and translated by Luc Sante in 2007, made trenchant literature out of the twelve hundred news blurbs he wrote anonymously in a seven-month stint for the newspaper Le Matin in 1906. Now, Joanna Neborsky pairs fever-dream-like collage with his early-twentieth-century Tweets in this illuminated volume, proving that tabloids can be timeless. Fénéon was an anarchist, suspected terrorist, aesthete, and dandy who worked the paper’s night shift, sifting through stories and reports and penning notes on accidents, fads, and technological breakthroughs

  • Pub Dates

    FICTION

    Lee Rourke’s first novel, THE CANAL (Melville House, June), features an unnamed, bored first-person protagonist, but the book doesn’t have the quirky and solipsistic observations that solitude spawns and that many debut novelists cram onto the page. For lack of anything better to do, the narrator quits his job and sits each day by a London canal. A woman stranger soon joins him and relates a story that pierces his apathy: “I was uncomfortable with what she was saying . . . yet she excited me that moment more than I ever thought possible.”

    Michelle Hoover’s THE QUICKENING (Other Press,

  • PUB DATES

    FICTION

    The sound of pencil on paper can be soothing. At least Robert Walser found it so. Early on, the Swiss modernist author abandoned all other writing tools, scratching out stories in a minuscule stenographic script. THE MICROSCRIPTS (New Directions, May) reproduces twenty-five of these engaging mini-masterpieces, crafted in the 1920s on envelopes, slips of paper, and even calendar pages, along with English translations by Susan Bernofsky of the large-hearted stories about schnapps and small-town life within.

    As the narrator of Elias Khoury’s WHITE MASKS (Archipelago, April; translated