All My Stars (30)

By: Joanne McNeil
July 28, 2016

stars

One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.

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I’m traveling, tired, behind on work, and only just picked up my laptop after urgent repairs. So while I didn’t really watch or read or listen to or see anything this week that struck me, I thought this week I might share some stray thoughts on why I started the newsletter.

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I found the tone of so many of my casual conversations about novels, films, music, etc., was not critical so much as dismissive. Certainly huge homogenous committees deciding what to fund and greenlight are guilty of sanding away the edges of art and sacrificing greatness for the bottom line. But it seems like the best way to ignore the overhyped is to drown it out with the underappreciated.

It is an interesting challenge for me to think about what work soars, surprises me, and resonates emotionally rather than exploit emotions. And I know I have blinders on, too. I find the best thing to do when something leaves me cold — and I’m sorry if this sounds obvious, but maybe not — is ask someone who really likes it… why?

To give an example, I went to the Robert Ryman exhibition in New York, last winter, and walked right on through. Not feeling it. But my friend, who is an artist, took about ten minutes with each piece. I went to join him and he pointed behind the canvas. “Look at the shadows, look at the way this hangs. Curators and painters love this because he’s exposing the decisions people make with a canvas.”

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I went back to the beginning of the exhibition, walked through again much more slowly, and it was like an optometrist had adjusted my lens prescription. I could see it. It might not be what I seek out first, what speaks to me directly, but I could see it.

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ALL POSTS IN THIS SERIES

CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators

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