Queer books out in February 2015. Know any others?
[image description: the covers of ten books, listed below]


Hauntingly beautiful trailer for Internet Machine, Timo Arnall’s multi-screen film about the invisible infrastructures of the internet – the cinematic counterpart to Andrew Blum’s journey to the center of the internet.


recommended, recently opened:

 André-Pierre Arnal, Pierre Buraglio, Louis Cane,
 Mark Devade, Daniel Dezeuze, Noël Dolla, Jean-Michel Meurice,
 Bernard Pagés, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Patrick Saytour, Claude Viallat.

Canada Gallery, 333 Broome St., NYC

the first comprehensive exhibition in the United States of this under-recognized French art movement. Supports/Surfaces was a loose confederation of about 15 artists mostly from the south of France (Nimes, St. Etienne, Nice, Etc.) who made work marked by an interest in materiality, expansive ideas of what a painting could be and often a lyrical use of bright color. There is no manifesto, but the writings and ideas of Freud, Marx, Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and Chairman Mao were tossed together along with a deep interest in Matisse, another artist associated with the south of France. Everyday items used as art materials were as radical then as they are commonplace now. Witness the dishrags of Dola, the painted sunshade umbrellas of Viallat, the lathe constructions of Dezeuze or Saytour’s bolt of raw fabric in the seminal piece “Deployed”. Supports/Surfaces artists may or may not have been the first to pick up such materials, but what they did with them formally is the key to what sets the group apart from say Arte Povera in Italy or the more famous French group BMPT. In their hands there was a coupling of base material, the format of painting and the poetics of unprogrammatic form and color that simultaneously questioned and reaffirmed painting. Presented with Galerie Bernard Ceysson. thru July 20

read Sharon Butler’s comprehensive review & essay at Two Coats

Pierre Buraglio, Montage, 1981, Mixed media on canvas
Mark Devade, Untitled, 1967, Ink on canvas

The Monster: the fraud and depraved indifference that caused the subprime meltdown

Michael W Hudson’s book-length investigative journalism piece on the subprime meltdown, The Monster, is both a brilliant example of skeptical business journalism done right, and a brilliant example of the storyteller’s art. Hudson combines his meticulous, exhaustively documented research with a novelistic approach to telling the story that strips away all the financial jargon and the cosy justifications and rationalizations and lays bare the heart of the story: greed, depraved indifference, fraud, and a howling moral vacuum that swallowed up people at all levels of finance and financial regulation.

The Monster starts with the S&L crisis, and the fraudsters who destroyed the finances of the ordinary people who’d trusted them, and shows how the worst of the S&L conmen moved on to subprime, founding companies like Ameriquest and FAMCO. People like Richard Arnall, who became a billionaire, was the prime financier behind George W Bush’s 2004 presidential bid, and actually served as the US ambassador to the Netherlands, even as he built an empire built on outright, deliberate swindling.

And swindling it was. Hudson leaves no room for doubt here. You may have heard that the subprime collapse was caused by greedy homeowners fudging the facts about their income in order to secure easy credit, but Hudson shows that in the vast majority of cases, the “liar” in the “liar loan” was usually a banker, a mortgage broker, an underwriter, a bond-rater, an appraiser. These are the people who went into poor neighborhoods where vulnerable, poorly educated people had scrimped and saved all their lives to buy their homes and conned them into taking out brutal, lopsided second mortgages, lying to them, bilking them out of 20% (or more!) in upfront fees, lying some more, forging documents, and then handing off the mortgages to Wall Street to launder out as toxic bonds.

The depravity is bottomless. From small lies to big lies, from hiding documents to robbing developmentally disabled seniors. Stealing from widows by slipping in extra documents after their reading glasses were off. Using sexual harassment and even hired thugs to drive away anyone in the company with a shred of decency, anyone who raised the smallest objection. Coked up millionaires in SUVs, gouging good working people out of everything with a con designed and refined so ensnare people with so much debt that their houses were inevitably forfeit. The subprime outfits literally used the movie Boiler Room as a training film, requiring new hires to watch it in order to learn how to conduct their working lives.

But lest you think that the problem was just the con-artists at the bottom, Hudson shows you how regulators (all the way up to Alan Greenspan), Lehman and the other big Street firms, and politicians all the way up to the President of the United States were all in on it, that there was no way they couldn’t have known that they were participating in a once-in-a-century scam that was destroyed millions of good peoples’ lives as well as the planet’s economy, and how they all sat idly by and collected their share of the wealth rather than speak up. From lobbyists to campaign contributions, dirty tricks and massive media campaigns, bribery and intimidation, the men behind the subprime crisis were not merely expressing some historical abstraction, playing a part in a nebulous “business cycle.” They were deliberately, personally participating in something that they had to know would result in terrible consequences for innocents all around them.

Hudson’s book is a model for excellent investigative journalism. It’s a book that should be required reading for anyone who says that the economic crisis was caused by greedy mortgage-takers who spent too loosely with their credit cards.

The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America–and Spawned a Global Crisis