Hearing a writer read his own work can lead not only to new ways of understanding the material, but also to a different level of empathy. I am so delighted to be able to present a sample of Jonathan Lerner’s new novel, Alex Underground, in this way. You can both read a sample from this non-fiction novel and listen to the author read it. Lerner takes us on a journey that is both physical (to Havana) and self-revelatory in his tale of leaving the Weather Underground at the end of the 1960s.
This is a fragile and dangerous time for Lerner’s Alex, much like the materials that Arte Provera artist Jannis Kounellis has used for a lifetime. His current installation in London, his first since 1982, inhabits the vast underground space of Ambika P3, a former concrete testing plant hall (the concrete for the Chunnel was tested there). Critic Floriana Piqué guides us through the labyrinth of this artist’s work, which has often taken place in large spaces, contrasting high drama with the modest means used to create it in ways that address the metaphysical oppositions of life and death.
Sylvie Fortin, who just curated the Québec City biennial, Manif d'art 5, which is tagged with the rather unusual title of “Catastrophe? Quelle catastrophe!” might have included Kounellis. Or would she? Fortin, who is currently Editor-in-Chief of Art Papers Magazine, curates with humor and politics walking hand-in-hand. She gives us the insider’s view of her biennial and her home province of Québec. Perhaps you can go home again.
All my best,
Photos above, clockwise from upper left: Jonathan Lerner; Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 2010, © Manolis Baboussis. Courtesy: Sprovieri Gallery, London; Manif D'Art 2010.
Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer living outside of Atlanta, GA and Editor-in-Chief of The Art Section.