Bruce Hainley

Bruce Hainley lives and works in Los Angeles. A contributing editor at Artforum, he is the author of two books of poetry, one of which, Foul Mouth, was a finalist in the National Poetry Series. With John Waters, he wrote Art—A Sex Book. He teaches in the MFA programs of Art Center College of Design and the Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California.

  • Vile Days

    Vile Days

    The Village Voice Art Columns, 1985–1988

    Gary Indiana and Bruce Hainley

    Gary Indiana's collected columns of art criticism from the Village Voice, documenting, from the front lines, the 1980s New York art scene.

    In 1985, the Village Voice offered me a job as senior art critic. This made my life easier and lousy at the same time. I now had to actually enter all those galleries instead of peeking in the windows. At times, the only tangible perk was having the chump for a fifth of vodka whenever twenty more phonies had flattered my ass off in the course of a working week.—from Vile Days

    From March 1985 through June 1988 in The Village Voice, Gary Indiana reimagined the weekly art column. Thirty years later, Vile Days brings together for the first time all of those vivid dispatches, too long stuck in archival limbo, so that the fire of Indiana's observations can burn again. In the midst of Reaganism, the grim toll of AIDS, and the frequent jingoism of postmodern theory, Indiana found a way to be the moment's Baudelaire. He turned the art review into a chronicle of life under siege.

    As a critic, Indiana combines his novelistic and theatrical gifts with a startling political acumen to assess art and the unruly environments that give it context. No one was better positioned to elucidate the work of key artists at crucial junctures of their early careers, from Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince to Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman, among others. But Indiana also remained alert to the aesthetic consequence of sumo wrestling, flower shows, public art, corporate galleries, and furniture design. Edited and prefaced by Bruce Hainley, with an afterword by Tobi Haslett, Vile Days provides an opportunity to track Indiana's emergence as one of the most prescient writers of his generation.

    • Hardcover $29.95
  • Under the Sign of [ sic]

    Under the Sign of [ sic]

    Sturtevant's Volte-Face

    Bruce Hainley

    The first book-length monograph on Elaine Sturtevant, who has focused her career on the artistic copy.

    Asked to sum up her artistic pursuit, the American artist Elaine Sturtevant once replied: “I create vertigo.” Since the mid-1960s, Sturtevant has been using repetition to change the way art is understood. In 1965, what seemed to be a group show by then “hot” artists (Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, George Segal, and James Rosenquist, among others) was in fact Sturtevant's first solo exhibit, every work in it created by herself.

    Sturtevant would continue to make her work the work of others. The subject of major museum exhibitions throughout Europe and awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 54th Venice Biennale, she will have a major survey at the MoMA, New York, in 2014.

    In Under the Sign of [sic], Bruce Hainley unpacks the work of Sturtevant, providing the first book-length monographic study of the artist in English. Hainley draws on elusive archival materials to tackle not only Sturtevant's work but also the essential problem that it poses. Hainley examines all of Sturtevant's projects in a single year (1967); uses her Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) from 1995 as a conceptual wedge to consider contemporary art's place in the world; and, finally, digs into the most occluded part of her career, from 1971 to 1973, when she created works by Michael Heizer and Walter de Maria, and had her first solo American museum exhibit.

Contributor

  • Now the Night Begins

    Now the Night Begins

    Alain Guiraudie

    A novel that is a meditation on friendship, love, obsession, power, and abuse, by turns hyperrealist and phantasmagoric, recalling the work of Sade and Bataille.

    And he leaves. I'm not happy, I'm pretty upset at myself, I wasn't satisfied with him but I wouldn't have been any better without him. I sit on the couch and think. I'm not actually thinking, it's already been thought, I have to call Grampa... I need to hear his voice. I miss him.—from Now the Night Begins

    At the tail end of summer vacation, Gilles Heurtebise drifts between lazy afternoons, swimming, cruising the shores of a nearby lake, and absentmindedly hooking up with old lovers. He has yet to achieve material or romantic stability. He is forty, facing a precarious future with unformed fears and regrets. The one thing that seems solid is Grampa, the ninety-year-old patriarch of a family Gilles has befriended. Gilles grows obsessed by the old man, and a strange sexual bond grows between the two. When the police get involved, and Gilles is witness to a murder, the banality of interhuman violence is brought to a paroxysmal climax.

    The winner of France's prestigious Prix Sade, Now the Night Begins is a meditation on friendship, love, power, and abuse in a world where social relations have radically disintegrated. Interwoven with swaths of Occitan, the language of troubadours and love, and by turns hyperrealist and phantasmagoric, the novel recalls Georges Bataille's dark surrealism and the unvarnished violence of Bret Easton Ellis. It proves Alain Guiraudie's status as the preeminent writer of the vulnerability underlying our contemporary malaise.

    “The genial perversity of Alain Guiraudie's Now the Night Begins is something rare and fascinatingly energized, a metaphysical and moral slapstick that points to the arbitrariness of all authority and the fluidity of all desires. In its way, the most elegant, certainly the most hilarious brief for anarchy that anyone has written in a long time.”—Gary Indiana

    “Raw, sexual, and scatological, Alain Guiraudie's novel evokes Sade and Bataille.”—Elisabeth Philippe

  • Crazy for Vincent

    Crazy for Vincent

    Hervé Guibert

    Diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? The chronicle of an obsessive love.

    In the middle of the night between the 25th and 26th of November, Vincent fell from the third floor playing parachute with a bathrobe. He drank a liter of tequila, smoked Congolese grass, snorted cocaine...—from Crazy for Vincent

    Crazy for Vincent begins with the death of the figure it fixates upon: Vincent, a skateboarding, drug-addled, delicate “monster” of a boy in whom the narrator finds a most sublime beauty. By turns tender and violent, Vincent drops in and out of French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert's life over the span of six years (from 1982, when he first met Vincent as a fifteen-year-old teenager, to 1988). After Vincent's senseless death, the narrator embarks on a reconnaissance writing mission to retrieve the Vincent that had entered, elevated, and emotionally eviscerated his life, working chronologically backward from the death that opens the text. Assembling Vincent's fragmentary appearances in his journal, the author seeks to understand what Vincent's presence in his life had been: a passion? a love? an erotic obsession? or an authorial invention? A parallel inquiry could be made into the book that results: Is it diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? Crazy for Vincent is a text the very nature of which is as untethered as desire itself.