Erratic . . . Yet Dependable
Gregory Battcock, DeForrest Brown Jr., Josephine Pryde, Fred Hammond, and energy drinks
Art is killing me this week, or more properly the prospect of seeing tons of it, and editing books about it, and writing about it. Since I just got back to NYC, I still haven’t seen anything worth discussing.
My solution was to compose a fall preview, which also happens to be a foolproof way to boost readership—you link to some people’s shit, they forward it to their friends, the friends become dedicated readers of Spigot. But then I started to anticipate the guilt I would feel for promoting some people and not others, disappointing numerous friends and associates, and so that idea went out the window.
Thus in this week’s issue, no art! Only books, accessories, beverages. With the opening of the fall season underway, there will be plenty of art in the air soon enough.And soon enough I hope Spigot will slip back to appearing earlier in the week.
One book I’ve almost finished and one I’m about to start.
Why Art? Casual Notes on the Aesthetics of the Immediate Past—Gregory Battcock
Battcock. What a character! Why art? What a question! Half the time in this book you can’t tell if he’s joking, for example when he writes about cruise ships as the museum of the future (superyachts, now that would have been prescient). The book feels both timely and archaic, as Battcock alternately obsesses over speed and technology and expounds crackpot theories about the effects of the Homestead Act of 1862 on American visual culture. If you’d like to discuss, used copies of the book cost only $6.95 on Amazon (I know, sorry!). And you can read a nice David Joselit overview of Battcock here.
Assembling a Black Counter Culture—DeForrest Brown, Jr.
Next up is this maniacally detailed tome on the history and theory of Black music in the United States, centered on Detroit techno. I’ve heard Brown on Montez Press Radio (a set and interview that’s also available on archive.org), read his writing, and heard him perform as Speaker Music. He seems just fucking great. Available from the very fine folks at Primary Information.
New Writing (By Me)
I had a weird writing summer, so I’m glad to finally see something new appear—this review/essay for Texte zur Kunst on Josephine Pryde and her improbably titled show at Reena Spaulings back in April, “Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ & the Gastric Flu.” Pryde’s reputation paints her as gnomic, cerebral, and impeccably cool, but I found the show to be potently sad, even morbid. It’s about the gaps between things and the impossibility of connection—of connecting one moment to the next, connecting to a romantic partner, connecting to one’s body, connecting to one’s feelings, and the ultimate unknowability of each of us to each other.
Also, Taylor Swift!
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Speaking of music, got kind of God-pilled listening to radio down South. Of all the versions of this track on YouTube—and there are many—this one doesn’t have the best audio, but the performance slaps. Solos start around 4:30.
One thing that continues apace is the production of Spigot premium subscriber membership bracelets. If you have received yours, please flaunt them and post them and help make them the must-have accessory of the season. If you have not received yours, apologies and please be patient!
Bang Whole Lotta Chocolatta. I’ve been in South Carolina, so if you’re expecting wine discourse this week, you will be disappointed.
While I’m a fan of Bang because it tends to be on the lower end of the price spectrum (though nothing can beat the 99-cent bodega mini-can of Arizona’s Extreme Performance Energy Drink), I also admire its imaginative range of flavors—Rainbow Unicorn, Birthday Cake Bash, Krazy Key Lime Pie, and thirty-three more! In this tasting, I may have been influenced by the orange color scheme, but Whole Lotta Chocolatta tasted a whole lot like a muddy Creamsicle, with an orange undertone girding a thinly structured note that was mostly vanilla before it faded into grainy cocoa on the back of the palate. The aftertaste, growing thick as I missed exits and puttered through the DC traffic, was a childhood carton of chocolate milk. Highly recommend if you’re a sick fuck on the road.
For me, conversation is a big part this project, and I recently realized there was no direct way for readers to get in touch. From here on out, I’ll try to list an email address whereby one can offer suggestions, complaints, or even compliments, or else just chat. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.