Tag Archives: review

The Head, the Ear, and the Syllable; the Heart, the Breath, and the Line


Currently my directive, at least in my own mind, is to review the updated edition of Postmodern American Poetry edited by Paul Hoover. While I do not expect to cover the entire length and breadth of this weighty tome in one relatively short blog post, I do hope that I can accurately convey, (as best I can, through writing), my thoughts, feelings, impressions, etc., to you, the faithful Graphite blog reader. That is the purpose of this blog post. Now the blog post is beginning–watch it begin.


The ravenous hordes of avant-garde American poetry fans have been foaming at the mouth for years waiting for Paul Hoover to update his seminal 1994 anthology. Their little faces shook with Beatlemania psychosis at the announcement of the arrival of the book: bigger, better, postmodern-er. Continue reading

Mona Hatoum: Projection

When one thinks of the work of 20th century Catalan artist Joan Miró, images of brightly colored paintings featuring abstract birds, women, moons, and stars immediately come to mind. So, what does Miró’s work have in common with the large-scale installation artwork of contemporary artist Mona Hatoum? Hatoum, the winner of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize, exhibited her show Projection at the Fundació Joan Miró with the intent of creating a dialog between the contemporary avant-garde art world and the work of artists such as the award’s namesake, who represented the forefront of 20th century artistic vanguard. The exhibition attempted to draw attention away from works explicitly focusing on geopolitics, a subject Hatoum’s work has become well known for. Instead, Projection discusses the universality of subjects of time, nature and the human experience, as well as responding to 20th century art movements such as Minimalism and Surrealism.


Hatoum’s Cube (9x9x9) features a cube: a central form of Minimalism. However, whereas minimalists evoked the cube form to argue that art has a reality distinct from that of the outside world, Hatoum re-envisions the cube, by relying on the physical material of barbed wire to emphasize the connection (and disconnection at times) between art and the current environment. Her use of the barbed wire to create the structure evokes darker notions of barriers, confinement, and physical punishment within the quiet repetition of the cube itself.


Cube (9x9x9) Photo Courtesy of Reportarte


In pieces such as Web, Hatoum advocates for a greater appreciation of quotidian life, creating a giant spider web of blown glass and balls and wire, which hangs horizontally under the gallery ceiling so that visitors walk under the structure to experience it. By warping the scale of the web, Hatoum emphasizes the incredible intricacy of the structure, while concurrently portraying its fragility through the materials she uses. By enlarging the web to fantastic proportions, Hatoum builds upon the efforts of Surrealism to exhibit familiar objects in unfamiliar, fantastical settings in order to evoke wonder and confusion. Web encourages viewers to view everyday objects with curiosity and to continually rediscover the world in which they function.


Web © Mona Hatoum Photo: Stephen White Courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube (London)


In + and –, Hatoum again uses large scale to create a motorized piece of machinery that rotates in a large reservoir of sand, pushing the sand into ridges with one metal arm while the smoothing newly-made ripples with the other arm. Here, Hatoum constructs a metaphor for the cyclic quality of life itself, vividly emphasizing the ephemeral impact that individual people or nations have, in contrast to the eternality of existence. As the cycle spins, it concurrently creates and erases the sand ridges, mimicking the mechanism by which experiences are created and forgotten with the passage of time. Hatoum re-imagines the hourglass, creating a system in which time does not “run out” with the flowing of sand, but instead moves cyclically, causing the sand to ebb and flow as the machine turns.



+ and – Photo courtesy of White Cube (London)


Thus, Hatoum’s engagement with the work of past movements like Minimalism and Surrealism builds upon central ideas to continually propose new interpretations and directions. Like Miró, her work fundamentally deals with the human condition, and she evokes universality through the subject matter she engages. As this exhibition shows, Hatoum’s willingness to engage with “human values of concern to all cultures and societies” is a kind of 21st century reimagining of “Miró’s view of mankind after his experience of three devastating wars”(“Mona Hatoum”).


Mona Hatoum’s exhibition Projection was on view from June 22, 2012 – 9/24/12 at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.


– Jessica Cook



“Mona Hatoum.” Joan Miró Prize : Fundació Joan Miró. Fundació Joan Miró, n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2013. <http://fundaciomiro-bcn.org/premiedicions.php?idioma=2>.


The Shadow of the Wind



Following a young man’s investigation of an author’s dark past, The Shadow of the Wind is a tale that delves deep into its characters’ pasts to uncover their buried scars. With an intense sincerity are the characters’ secrets revealed and, alongside the effects of their personal traumas, they are granted the utmost empathy. This thrilling tale is one of suspense, mystery, and romance; its complexity allows for a wide reading audience.


As the title of the book may suggest, the novel is riddled with haunting motifs of  shadows and the wind. Both are simultaneously present and absent, contradictorily tangible and immaterial. The shadow can be seen though we cannot feel its presence. The wind, though invisible, is something felt. Both are contingent, transitory entities and act as representations of the mystical and many dualities of existence as seen through the story’s characters: the metaphysical presence of Daniel’s deceased mother, Julian Carax and his devilish alter ego Lain Courbet, the parallels drawn between Julian Carax’s life and romance to that of Daniel Sempere’s. Ghostly spirits, dark forms, and eerie experiences flood the pages and contribute to the spooky, oftentimes somber, themes of the novel.


The dominating moody tone of the story, along with the many twists and turns of its subplots, mimic the very feeling of wandering the streets of Barcelona. While navigating the snaking streets, which are lined with the Gothic facades of a Medieval history, one can easily get lost en route. Carlos Ruiz Zafon ensures the reader’s entertainment, and with a gripping captivation.

The Double Soul

This past Sunday the GRAPHITE team along with other members of HSA (Hammer Student Association) had the opportunity to explore Simon Toparovsky and Ariel Soulé’s A Letter from the Renaissance: The Double Soul, which is currently on display in the UCLA Library’s Department of Special Collections. After being bused to the Getty Center where we got a 60 minute crash course on 16th century Italian history and portraiture, we were fortunate to have one of the artists, Simon Toparovsky, give us a personal tour of the exhibition in Special Collections.

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