Monday, August 29, 2016

Anastasia Aukeman

Anastasia Aukeman is an art historian and curator who teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues and written articles and reviews for Art in America, Art on Paper, and ARTnews, among other publications.

Her book is Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Like most New Yorkers, July and August are the months that I catch up on back issues of the New Yorker. I turn first to anything Andy Borowitz has written, because he is hilarious. Then I look for anything written by my friends, so that I can feel jealous of their success in being published in my favorite magazine. Finally, I skim the shows, readings, and performances that I missed last spring.

I’ve been lazily preparing for a Bruce Conner symposium I’m participating in at the Museum of Modern Art in September by reading the essays in the excellent exhibition catalogue Bruce Conner: It’s All True. I love exhibition catalogues and am also reading Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, the companion to a great show at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

I tend to gravitate toward novels by female authors. I just finished reading a re-issue of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which is an imagining of the tragic backstory of Rochester’s wife in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. His wife, you might remember, in Brontë’s telling, was simply the madwoman in his attic who had to die in order for Rochester to find happiness with Jane Eyre. I have on order A Place of Greater Safety by the incomparable Hilary Mantel. I read the first two of her trilogy (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies) and saw the brilliant Broadway theater production of Wolf Hall in New York. I have been awaiting this third and final installment for three years.

Yesterday I bought Dave Eggers’ sixth novel, Heroes of the Frontier, at Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts and plan to begin reading it today. Dave Eggers and Hilary Mantel are the two authors I read in hardcover. I just can’t wait for their books to come out in paperback and the line for their newest work at the New York Public Library is always a month long.

Todd Gitlin’s The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage from 1993 was just re-issued and I bought it after hearing an interview with the author on National Public Radio in July. I’m interested in knowing more about that era. Daniel Cohen, philosopher-in-residence at Colby College in Maine and the brother of my dear friend Paula, recommends Why the World Does Not Exist by Markus Gabriel and also Why the World Does Exist by Jim Holt. I’m not sure I’ll get to these, but I’m inclined to take his advice after listening to his TED talk, “For Argument’s Sake.” Finally, I will be re-reading E.B. White’s Here is New York, because it reminds me what I love about NYC, because it lifted my spirits post-9/11, and because I require all my freshman students at Parsons School of Design to read it in the first weeks of the fall semester.
Learn more about Welcome to Painterland at the University of California Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue