Category Archives: Arts

Museum of Fine Arts

At the end of the summer break I will get to Houston, and I will be there in time to see what is apparently a truly important exhibit on Mexican modernism.

This of course engages my topics: avant-garde discourse (revolution, modernity), and representations of race (nation), interests I must articulate in a more precise way than I am doing at this moment.

I should hone in on all art exhibits in this way.


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Alain Resnais

From Austerlitz, I learned about this Resnais short obliquely based on Borges, Toute la mémore du monde. This article, about architecture in the Bibliothèque Nationale of France, complements the film and the novel very well. And here is a set of 13 films of works by Borges and Bioy Casares.

How do you see film “à la Alain Resnais”? There is a moment in Hiroshima mon amour where Emmanuelle Riva says “Bien regarder, je crois que ça s’apprend.” The entire film is about vision, and it is about war, so it is related to Austerlitz.

Related to both Borges and Resnais: Mon amour, reading films; another list of films on Bioy, in a book; another discussion of Bioy, Resnais, and film.


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Francisco Boix

Un fotógrafo que después declaró en Nuremberg.

Y como si no fuera suficiente, aquí van los últimos andaluces de Mauthausen.

Y una más sobre Boix.

Y hay más: el último español de Buchenwald, memorias de Elsa Osaba de Mauthausen, Saturnino Navaso, futbolista de Mauthausen.


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Bad poetry

Here is a bad poem or at least, one I dislike. I read it while reading an interesting book review that shows precisely why everyone is fatigued with the Democratic Party, in the same magazine with a yet more interesting book review on Hitler, characterized as a warning from history. This was the title of an important BBC series on the second world war made in the late 90s, that is apparently being rebroadcast now.

I am of course fascinated with the Shoah since I find my Polish and Lithuanian cousins in its databases. I have seen Night will fall, a documentary about a documentary that has been finished at last. This second film is very beautifully photographed, strange though that may seem to say. But the cameramen were artists and I think they had good film and equipment.

Meanwhile, it seems that the FBI sat on the Trump-Russia file for months. But at least there is such a thing as Radio Cómeme — which offers better poetry than does (necessarily) Sharon Olds.



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Things people have sent me to try.

Alan Watts on Chesterton.

Paul Preston on the Spanish Civil War — as holocaust.

The Holocaust Encyclopedia actually has an entry on the Spanish Civil War.

U.S. economists are always wrong.

Hattie says:

There was also an excerpt from Chris Hayes’s new book, A Colony Within a Nation. As he says,  “In the nation, you have rights;  in the colony you have commands.” These are the two Americas. We need this  kind of structural historical analysis to understand the way systemic racism works. That is, those of us who live in the nation do. Those who live in the colony know all about it. It is absolutely part and parcel of what our country is. No use denying it.


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I splashed swordfish with olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and orange juice, and grated fresh turmeric over it. Then I baked it in a clay cazuela. It was arguably the best thing I have ever made–I wonder whether I can repeat it.


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Les Tarahumaras

A crumbling volume I am putting into recycling is Artaud, Les tarahumaras, in Gallimard/idées, 1971. I bought it used 10 years later. The text was composed between 1937 and 1948, after Artaud’s 1936 trip to Mexico. I marked some passages in it when I read it.

P. 18: Westermers when asked a question react as though they knew it was they who were responding, and not someone else. The Tarahumaras are not like that.

Pp. 18-19: A European would never accept the idea that his sensations, emotions, ideas, were not his own, that another person could have experienced them in his body. The Tarahumaras do make a distinction between what are one’s own thoughts and what are the thoughts of the other, even if one thinks both thoughts oneself.

P. 73: The Renaissance and Humanism diminished humanity because they denied the perhaps superhuman, but natural laws of the earlier period: from the Renaissance forward Man tried to cut nature down to his size, rather than reach up to its size. Nature was denied and only the human was considered henceforth.

p. 131, on ceremonies and priests: Mais il faut surtout entendre les Paroles qu’ils se renvoient de l’un à l’autre avec des signes qui senblent extraits des limbes même de l’Eternité et qui sont faits pour supporter et manifester quelque chose, et ce quelque chose est l’Esprit du Verbe qui roule comme une boule de flamme devant le Seigneur Dieu, et dont eux Tarahumaras se souviennent, disent-ils, d’avoir été et d’être la Volonté et le reflet.


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