Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele
I can’t stop thinking about the perfection of one of Peele’s most devastating details. After the car accident, Rose refuses the policeman Chris’s license, denies his identity, removes any salvation of traceability, resigns him to no one nowhere in an instant under the guise of white bravery and white alliance. That duplicity, the extent of American, white racism that’s deftly depicted in that seemingly small event—what an excellent movie.
Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends (Museum of Modern Art)
Goddamn! Rauschenberg made a lot of incredible art. And some of it is so funny, the flattened cardboard boxes, his impossible junk sculptures, his erased de Kooning. But the collaborations with Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown and John Cage made my knees buckle. Certainly, this was a Rauschenberg exhibit, but I was so happy to see collaboration, camaraderie, and dialogue front and center in an exhibit of one of these overpowering, uber-artists—and, yes! even when he is erasing a pal’s work.
The House of the Suicide and the House of the Mother of the Suicide, John Hejduk, Cooper Union Park
You know when you were just talking about Hejduk with a best friend, particularly about these structures, and then go to the library to track down every mention the most astounding poet David Shapiro makes of Hejduk and then accidentally go to New York City a month later and for no good reason get a beer that really comes as two beers at McSorley’s and accident your way through the St. George Ukrainian Festival only to look up and see The House of the Suicide and the House of the Mother of the Suicide? No one should ever point to the sky with something that sharp! you mutter to yourself, and you wonder, for the rest of your life, if you will ever see anything sadder than the House of the Mother watching over the House of her lost one.
Carol Rama: Antibodies (New Museum)
Carol Rama. Geez. I don’t know. Each of her drawings was my mother in some perverse way.
Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980-90s (Denver Museum of Art)
I loved this show. I daydreamed into a clean yet sloppy mass of an impossibly draped Yohji Yamamoto for seven or eight minutes. It wasn’t that I pictured myself in the clothing. I never saw myself show-stop a Pep Boys in a comically oversized Issey Miyake number or never dreamed of what? asking the alley meth heads to not pee near my garage? wearing one of Rei Kawakubo’s imaginary hurricanes, the skirt, with some sort of perfect rectangle on top, clinging to me as if by sorcery. These clothes were just so powerfully there. So unarguably existent. Certain in their knowledge that when you explode femininity you achieve an even more possible grace.
Boris (Bluebird Theater)
For the entire show, I stood wringing my hands, tying and untying my fingers into knots, scraping my knuckles back and forth against each other, clutching and un- my hands into fists in some kind of ecstatic anxiety. My poor hands were trying so hard to worship something.
Seth Landman Reading (Denver)
I don’t know how he does this, but Seth’s poems are heart rending, sad, beautiful, and delicate, but when I leave one of his readings, why do I want to do such blunt, stupid shit? Like sing karaoke and hug strangers and say thank you to stop lights? Yes, I know, the why is beside the point.
The Florida Project directed by Sean Baker
Christ, if I were to describe this movie to you, you would say, Come on, Sommer, Orlando? Come on, Sommer, child actors (or even worse, non-actors)? Come on, Disney World? Come on, Dafoe? Come on, a struggling, single mother? Come on, come on, come on. And I would say, Yup, come on you freak.
Jillian Weise Reading (Denver)
Jillian read in my backyard over the summer. Seth (above) read in friend’s living room. It’s not a fluke that the two readings on this list are house readings. A house is the best place to hear poets. There is no need to explain why if you have been to a house reading. So instead of explaining I will just invite you to the next one I get invited to. Jillian’s poems attack you in just the right places, places you can’t reach on your own. In this way she is a lover.
Potted Meat a novel by Steven Dunn
Reading this book felt like doing the worst thing I could possibly do, really fucking up my life, sleeping with my partner’s best friend or letting my kid see me beat the ever loving shit out of someone, just so I could spite myself, really destroy any sense of contentedness I’d managed to muster up, and it felt like praying that one time I believed in god so much I loved myself.
Total Eclipse outside of Alliance, Nebraska
If you ever get a chance to see a total eclipse, don’t.
Or do. I’m glad I did. I was with three true friends. I was on a fucking hillock if you can believe it. Three hundred suns set around me. Oren tells me the crickets quieted, but I only half believe him because, in fact, everything quieted.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under Song for a Cipher (New Museum)
The fourth floor of the New Museum held seventeen canvases of Yiadom-Boakye’s oil portraits. Supposedly these are portraits of imaginary people, people Yiadom-Boakye just made up. Before I knew that I had memorized the weight of her paint in the face of the man reclining, the heft of it in the feathers of the bird another holds. Now, knowing they’re not real people I want to show them to everyone I remember loving.
Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser (Blanton Museum of Art)
This retrospective of Katchadourian’s work was incredible. She is funny. She is smart. She is full. She is weird. She is brave. She is funny. She is relentless. She is funny. She is relentless. She is relentless. She is funny.
Two other best things I didn’t have time to write about:
Lenka Clayton: Object Temporarily Removed (Fabric Workshop and Museum)
Willie Cole: On Site (Arthur Ross Gallery)