Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year.

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Welcome 2009. Best Wishes to All.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Golden Slippers by James A. Bland

Oh, my golden slippers am laid away
'Cause I don't spect to wear 'em til my wedding day
And my long tailed coat, that I love so well
I will wear up in the chariot in the morn.
And my long white robe that I bought last June
I'm goin' to get changed 'cause it fits too soon
And the old grey hoss that I used to drive
I will hitch him to the chariot in the morn.

Oh, dem golden slippers
Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I'se goin' to wear
Because they look so neat.
Oh, dem golden slippers
Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I'se goin' to wear
To walk the golden street.

Oh, my old banjo hangs on the wall
'Cause it ain't been tuned since way last fall
But the darks all say we'll have a good time
When we ride up in the chariot in the morn.
There's ol' brother Ben and his sister, Luce
They will telegraph the news to uncle Bacco Juice
What a great camp meetin' there will be that day
When we ride up in the chariot in the morn.

So, it's good-bye, children I will have to go
Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
And yer ulster coats, why, you will not need
When you ride up in the chariot in the morn.
But yer golden slippers must be nice and clean
And yer age must be just sweet sixteen
And yer white kid gloves you will have to wear
When you ride up in the chariot in the morn.


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Philadelphia Tricentennial

One thing I want to work on in the next couple years is starting to plan a Tricentennial event in Philadelphia. I realize that I be dead in 2076, but I want to get it started. I'm completely seriously. Where is the city going to be at the close of this century? What about our infrastructure, how will it hold up for the next 70 years? And industry trends in the city? Planning for social services, for energy, for traffic? Realistically, will our 100 year old home hold up for another 70 years? And if not, how can our neighborhood be restructured for new housing?

I want to look forward to what the city will be and I want us to plan for it, to plan for the long haul. Fuck that vinyl siding that's falling off of newly built houses in the neighborhood. I want to think about what works and what will hold on and why it will keep on keeping on.


Fairmount Park Strategic Plan Executive Summary
Plan Philly


(2008) In Memoriam by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Day by Audre Lorde

The day feels put together hastily
like a gift for grateful beggars
being better than no time at all
but the bells are ringing
in cities I have never visited
and my name is printed over doorways
I have never seen
While extracting a bone
or whatever is tender or fruitful
from the core of indifferent days
I have forgotten
the touch of sun
cutting through uncommitted mornings
The night is full of messages
I cannot read
I am too busy forgetting
air like fur on my tongue
and these tears
which do not come from sadness
but from grit in a sometimes wind

Rain falls like tar on my skin
my son picks up a chicken heart at dinner
does this thing love?
Deft unmalicious fingers of ghosts
pluck over my dreaming
hiding whatever it is of sorrow
that would profit me

I am deliberate
and afraid
of nothing.

From a Land Where Other People Live (1973)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

cinderblock and salt

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Help Support the Mummers Parade

Click above to donate money to help defray the cost of the Mummers Parade. Mummers have to pay out of pocket for a lot of the city services this year due to our budget crisis. If you attend, please think about chipping in because we all have to be responsible for the parade this year.

Recommended: Life, Liberty, and the Mummers by E. A. Kennedy III

Check out this Q&A with E. A. Kennedy.

Love you, Sabu.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

Christmas was an unparalleled success in the Bloom/Strauss household. With a Xmas breakfast prepared by yours truly and then and Xmas dinner prepared by your truly and Italian Wedding Soup prepared by Andrea and Justin. Hanukkah went by the wayside as the alleged birth of "Christ" prompted a household of awesome visitors.

For breakfast we supped on many things, mainly meats and bread, with an important addition of scrapple to this years menu. Here's who was here: Mom, Nannie, Syd and Cos and me and LB. 100% success rate. Worth noting are Savannah's ingenious theme gifts, which might have to be the new thing for our holiday extravaganza. My theme was "cool as a cucumber." Also worth noting is a great present from Syd and Brother... "The Snuggie." I have it on right now. And by "on" I mean I am UNDER A BLANKET AND THAT BLANKET HAS SLEEVES. I AM TYPING ON THIS COMPUTER COMPLETELY UNDER A BLANKET! Personal family photos for all to share in my family's happiness to come later.

Then Xmas dinner prep, and guess who arrives? Cousins Andrea and Justin! They start with the soup, we finish opening presents and then I get back to cooking. Then Kim, Maggie, Katie and Kellie arrive and they are all good news. Course 1 soup... Andrea and Justin killed it. Special thanks to Uncle Col, "soup sensei," for the recipe and the years of training that allowed Andrea to produce a masterpiece pot of soup. Course 2 Dinner... I have to say, I really brought it. Course 3... dessert.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What the H-E-double toothpicks? Pope likens "saving" gays to saving the rainforest.

The Pope.

Zoe Strauss.


Padre, you're off the mark here! Still, Pope, I wish you a Merry Christmas because that's how fucking nice I am.

Monday, December 22, 2008

List of Photographers

click above to see the list. I am working on expanding the list and creating a link to everyone on the list. I had hoped that some of my interns could work on it but we got sidetracked... in the next couple of months it should be done.
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While I am most certainly a Jew, we celebrate Christmas full force in my house. My lady friend, Lynn Bloom, is not a Jew even though her last name is Bloom.

We have had this Christmas tree stand for years and I think you can see why I'm just so happy every time I see this lady on the box. I love this lady, maybe only second to my lady!

Thanks to Amy Stein for taking this awesome photo of America in the MoMA bookstore. That's right, get it at MoMA.

And if you haven't gotten it, GET AMY'S BOOK... DOMESTICATED!

Also, go see her show... up through Valentines Day at the Print Center here in the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia, PA.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

America: We Love Having You Here Up Until January 10th

No pressure, but get your ass up to see America: We Love Having You Here at Bruce Silverstein. Yes, I'm biased because I made it, but it's a great show. Seriously, it's really great.

The slideshow is without a doubt the strongest it's ever been and the more I've sat with this show, the more I'm certain I nailed it. Whoooooo!

And for those with a lot of money... may I encourage you to buy, buy, buy.

Installation Views.

Happy Hanukkah

Los Angeles Times file photo

Happy Holidays, South Philly Style!

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I thought this house was the topper of 2008, only to be topped by 1640 S. 13th St. tonight. Before I get to why 1640 S. 13th St. is the best, I'll let you in on why the home above held onto the #1 slot of "South Philadelphia Holiday Decorated Homes" for so long. The photo above is snapped at a crescendo. These lights are synced to a blasting sound track and blink in time to the music. Seriously, this house is so loud you can hear it from almost a block away. It's really spectacular, but unfortunately this home uses some of the techniques used to drive Branch Davidians out of the Waco compound, so it wouldn't be so great to live next to it.

Not pictured here is my #1 home of the holidays, 1640 S. 13th St. This home has a decoration that I've never seen before which involves a rear projected image in a 2nd floor window. It's only visible at night and I highly recommend walking by if you live around here.


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Here's our holiday window. Honestly, it's pretty understated compared to most.
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Photos by Firefighter Gabe Angemi

"I take A Canon SD630 6.0 Megapixel Digi Camera to work. When it does not interfere with my job as a Firefighter, I use it."

Check out his work
Thanks to all who came to my studio to get a book signed. Happy Holidays, Friends.

Studioscopic by David Kessler

Studioscopic: Zoe Strauss from David S Kessler on Vimeo.

Check out the above video. David Kessler made it about me from some of the 60+ hours of If You Break The Skin documentary. Thanks, Kessler!

Shadow World by David Kessler
Studioscopic... videos on artists by David Kessler


and a random link to the Renaissance Faire, which David Kessler has nothing to do with except that he attended it once. Or maybe more than once.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heeb Interview with Yasha Wallin

Yasha Wallin is super... thanks for this shout out and interview, Ms. Wallin! As a Heeb, I love Heeb.

Shabbat Shalom, Mishuggahs and Menches!

Friday, December 19, 2008

RIP Mark Felt

Thanks, Deep Throat. We all owe you. Big time.

New York Times Review!

While Ms. Rosenberg is more engaged with the individual images than the installation, which is crazy talk!, this is a pretty good review. I'm especially down with her description of my "considerable narrative gifts."

But wait, what's going on in my life where I've had 2 reviews in the New York Times? Holy shit.

"In her second Chelsea solo, the photographer Zoe Strauss continues to develop her socially incisive portraits of downtrodden communities. While the images are strong, the delivery is flawed: wallpaper-size prints, salon-style installations and mock living rooms with vintage furniture compete for attention.

Many of the photographs were taken in and around Philadelphia, where Ms. Strauss is based, though shots from Gulfport, Miss., Las Vegas and elsewhere are mixed in. Close-ups of scarred, pregnant and otherwise striking individuals are alternated with blighted urban landscapes (half-houses; parking lots in abandoned strip malls). It’s not as bleak as it sounds; witness the two toy Escalades parked side by side in a driveway, or the child in pink pajamas jumping up and down on a messy bed.

Often Ms. Strauss comes across as a more sardonic Robert Frank or Walker Evans. This is especially true of the many instances in which she isolates signage, from desperate bathroom graffiti (“He Shoud Just Disiper Some Wheir”) to public-service announcements on the Atlantic City Expressway (“Stay Alive”). William Eggleston is here too, in a shot of a red room with a mirrored ceiling.

Taken one at a time, as in the slide show or the accompanying monograph or on Ms. Strauss’s blog, the images are more poignant. Those formats seem to suit her considerable narrative gifts better than this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink installation."


Thursday, December 18, 2008

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO'S BOUGHT MY BOOK! Really, it's incredible that people are buying the book. My god, I am so, so appreciative. Thanks to everyone. Thanks.

Tonight someone asked me where they could by the book where I would make the most money from getting it. I don't care, I'm just thrilled that anyone wants to buy it. Thanks. Thanks for thinking of me and for your consideration and for wanting to support my work. Thanks.

Alaska AIR: Land of the Noon-Day Night

I'm headed to Alaska thanks to United States Artists. To Anchorage and the surrounding area, and hopefully a little farther North to have a knockout view of the Northern Lights. The aurora borealis is on the top of my "things to see" list... I'm very excited to be going to Alaska in the dead of winter.


As I've been thinking about this trip, I've been working on a piece that I'm planning on producing in the next few years, a 4 walled projection, a series of outdoor projections and a photo series. TBA, friends.

Waterfall Motion Aftereffect
The extra-retinal motion aftereffect


“United States Artists is committed to providing new opportunities for America’s finest creative talent, both through financial support and programs that catalyze new artistic expression,” said USA Executive Director Katharine DeShaw. “With the generous support of the Rasmuson Foundation, we have forged exciting partnerships with local organizations that will give USA fellows exposure to native cultures, unique arts communities, and dramatic landscapes unlike any in the continental U.S. The inaugural season of Alaska AIR resulted in pioneering artistic work and we know the program will continue to enrich the state’s cultural organizations and the communities they serve in the year ahead.”

The USA fellows participating in the 2009 Alaska AIR program are playwright Anthony J. Garcia (Denver, CO) dance duo Eiko & Koma (New York, NY), and textile artist Gwendolyn Magee (Jackson, MS) and me.


I am anxious about Alaska for one big reason, I will be away from Lynn Bloom for a month. That's the longest I've been away from her in almost 20 years. I'm hoping that I don't have a nervous breakdown. No amount of cod liver oil or indoor light box exposure will be able to remedy my anxiety about being away from her.

About 12-13 years ago I worked on an installation that was set up in the bedroom next to ours. It was something I was compelled to set up in our house and it was a whole room with many dangerous things, emotionally dangerous and physically dangerous.

A one point during the year it took to finish Whirlforce, I purchased heroin and cocaine for the lab because that was an important component of the installation. There were already a number of things that didn't make a lot of sense in the household... preserved animal organs, chloroform and ether , formaldehyde... the list goes on. So Lynn Bloom was not too happy about the heroin and cocaine purchases. And I have to say, rightfully so. Can you believe how incredibly self-centered I am? I mean, I just compulsively do what I think is my best work, and she supports me in every sense. I didn't even give a thought as to how nuts that was. I see LB as a collaborator, and not just because her opinion is the one I trust; because I wouldn't have been able to produce any of my work without having her in my life.

I can't be any luckier to be with Ms. Bloom... and while I'm presenting that in terms of my work, I mean it about every facet of my life. This summer will mark our 20th anniversary. That means I've been with LB for more than half of my life, and I couldn't be any happier, appreciative, or more in love.

Also, what about how lucky I am to have my family? My mom and my sister and my brother Cosmo and even that jack-in-the-ass Walker. Lucky is an understatement. And my extended family, Buddy and Rita and All the Fauxes and Ellen and my in-laws. There's plenty more to list. I'm telling you friends, I have a charmed life.

Sustainable Philadelphia





Yes, that's correct. I received a letter yesterday that I'm being audited by the IRS. Again. How is it possible? I don't know, but it apparently it's not just possible, it's actually happening.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LA Weekly..."Now We Sample the Season's Picture Books"

Thanks to Steve Appleford for reviewing it... click above to read it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zoom In "Favorite Photo Books of the Political Season"

Thanks to Sophia Betz for loving America!

" Zoe Strauss’ compelling new book "America" is my personal favorite photography book this year."

Book Signing at the Studio!

Hey Friends, because the Quaker City America signing sold out so fast I will signing books at my studio on Saturday, December 20, Noon to 3PM. Obviously I am out of books, so you must bring you own. Here's where you can get them!

In Philadelphia...

Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street

Joseph Fox Bookshop
1724 Sansom Street

or get it online...


or at Amazon

or from Photoeye


You get the book and bring it to

838 Cantrell St.
Philadelphia, PA

If you come on December 20th, anytime between 12 and 3, I will sign it! I will have hot chocolate and some kind of snack.
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Check out my show at Bruce Silverstein Gallery


Posting is slow, so is new work, I'm hoping to get back up to breakneck speed before xmas.
Robert Frank discusses his book, "The Americans," with Philip Gefter... multimedia and article.


Amy Stein all up in Philadelphia!

1. See Amy's awesome show....

DECEMBER 11, 2008 – FEBRUARY 14, 2009

2. Buy a signed copy of Domesticated at Photo-Eye

3. Go hear her speak at Penn

Thursday, Jan. 22
Amy Stein
5:30 pm, B3 Meyerson

From Domesticated by Amy Stein

Did you think for a minute that I stopped loving Alec Soth? You would be mistaken if you thought that.

1. Read an interview with Alec at Two Way Lens by Michael Werner

2. Look at "The Last Days of W."

3. Buy The Last Days of W

4. In a few months, go hear Alec speak at Penn
Thursday, April 16, Lecture
5:30pm, B1 Meyerson
Alec Soth, Photographer
- Spiegel Resident

From The Last Days of W by Alec Soth

Monday, December 15, 2008

OK, I really need to know if anyone has as many electronic problems as I do. Today Microsoft Word busted, with insane things happening and this was at the end of an interaction where I never received an email from the person who was then getting the corrupted word documents. In addition my cell phone is stone cold busted. Why do all my things bust? Hard drive, laptops, cell phones, software, nothing is safe.

Fortnight of Winter Celebrations

December 20- Book Signing at My Studio

December 21- Solstice
December 21- Hanukkah
December 25- Christmas
December 26- Kwanzaa
January 1- New Year's Day

Hooray for Newspapers!

Click the above title to read about how Rod Blagojevich was worked up about the press...

"According to the criminal complaint that the United States attorney filed, Governor Blagojevich, while allegedly trying to set a price for a United States Senate seat, also spent a significant amount of time going after the press, especially The Chicago Tribune, whose editorial page had been calling for his impeachment."

Blagojevich, while revolting, is the least of our worries in terms of government corruption. That traditional Chicago shakedown can't even hold a candle to the Halliburton and Blackwater backhand deals.

But maybe this indicates a return to journalism that seeks to uncover and present facts, and is strong in convictions. I am optimistic that with the end of the Bush era, we will be seeing a slow reversal of the last 8 years of the Rovian/McCarthyite crushing of the press. And while corporations that have tremendous conflict of interest issues with a free press still own much of the media, I'm hoping that newspapers and news sources will work to tell us many of the unpleasant facts no one really wants to hear about.

Yay for inclusion in "No downsizing in this literary field" in the Inquirer

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanks to everyone who came out to hear me talk about the show! And thanks to all who came out to hear me talk at the SPE-NE conference!

Special thanks to Julia Staples who flew in from Iceland... I think she just flew in for the day to hear me.

I'm Giving an Artists Talk at Bruce Silverstein Gallery Today!

When: Saturday, December 13th, 2008
Time: 3pm
Where: 535 West 24th Street (ground floor)

Hear me talk and talk about AMERICA: We Love Having You Here on view now at Bruce Silverstein Gallery.

Check out the review in this week's New Yorker


Here's some other reviews of America: We Love Having You Here, straight from my living room tonight.

"This show is real, real good! Who wouldn't want to see it?"- Zoe Strauss

"The feel-good show of the holiday season."- Lynn Bloom

Friday, December 12, 2008

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blackbook Review of America


Where to Buy America in Philadelphia...

In Center City
Joseph Fox Bookshop
1724 Sansom Street

And in University City
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

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Monday, December 08, 2008

New Yorker Review of America: We Love Having You Here



Strauss’s 2007 exhibition in this gallery was a memorable knockout, but she tops it with a follow-up that’s even more aggressive and assured. With a nod to Walker Evans and Robert Frank, she calls the show “America: We Love Having You Here,” and it’s a love-it-or-leave-it affair. Strauss’s subjects are the damaged, the deranged, and the stubbornly ordinary—dead-end kids, tough broads, crackheads, angry guys—in their natural habitat. But there’s nothing anthropological or judgmental about the work. Strauss calls her pictures “unsparing and unsentimental,” but they’re also angry, engaged, and surprisingly bighearted. Through Jan. 10. (Silverstein, 535 W. 24th St. 212-627-3930.)


Miami, Miami: Part I

Back from Art Basel Miami, the free world's biggest art trade show. Oh ho ho! My jet-setting ways!

I have a show up right now at World Class Boxing in Miami, which is an exhibition space of Debra and Dennis Scholl's private collection. Tremendous thanks to Debra and Dennis for their hospitality and generosity. I love the Scholls! The show at World Class Boxing looks great; it was installed perfectly... and thanks to Desiree for helping with the installation.

The Scholls are good news, my friends. Each year they have a curator come and curate their home... this was really strong year. I had 2 immediate favorites upon sight: a beautiful, and deceptively delicate piece by Tara Donovan and a Julie Mehretu painting that just knocks you out. Also, there was a real beauty of a painting by Mark Bradford in another room and the two being so near to each other was just awesome, a real testament to the strength of cartography that's both personal and physical. Both Julie Mehretu and Mark Bradford are, without a doubt, two of my favorite working artists.

And what about the awesomeness of the United States Artists crew? Hold on, because they are super awesome. Thanks to Kathie Shaw and Amada Cruz who were gracious and fabulous companions. As well as the handsome Peter. Seriously, thanks, thanks and thanks. They were meal companions and event companions and tour guides...I just love those guys and am really grateful they let me get all up in the mix.

I really didn't see any art outside people's own homes except for a quick run through an exhibition at the Bass museum, Russian Dreams. Completely contrary to my usual leanings, I was pretty into this show because of how crowded it was at the opening. There was a distinct sense of confusion and the flow of the show was great. It was as if you had to wait in a crowded line to get to the back, which was a dead end, and you had to turn around and walk back in another crowded line of people. There was a great sense of futility with that structure. I say yes for that! Many of the walls were wooden pallets painted a gulag grey, which seemed a bit over the top and obvious, but I actually thought they heightened my sense of American nostalgia for an identifiable USSR, as opposed to the new Russian reality which we seem to have a difficult time defining: swimming pools, movie stars, velour sweatsuits. I thought that was an interesting aspect of the exhibit, Russian artists exploring nostalgia about their own national identity seemed welded to American cold war identity. There was most certainly a sense of "...and you knew what you were then, girls were girls and men were men..." However, there was a "new Russia" sculpture that was pretty funny, stacked glittering faux diamond dominoes.

And that leads to my other favorite Basel exhibit, Cartier's “Diamonds, Gold and Dreams,” a creation by filmmaker David Lynch in the Cartier geo dome. Wait, I'm lying! You've got to be kidding me with that shit. Jesus fucking Christ. It was a dome the size of the biosphere with bouncers and a velvet rope. Please. Just stop.


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Outside Art Basel... this is photo is completely unaltered.


Sartorial Art Basel Commentary by Zoe Strauss

basel trio

When I saw this awesome trio, I felt like I didn't need to see anything else in the convention center... they nailed it. The outfits yell out "art" and are akin to a paper boy yelling "Extra, Extra!" or a hobo with a red bandanna of stuff tied onto the back of a stick. I don't know these people and I snuck this photo without asking, but I celebrate these folks. Thanks!

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Here are two outfits that predominated another facet of Art Basel fashion... Czech Republic Nightclub Wear. It's weird, because I know and kind of like these outfits, but I only know this style from a "Polish Port Richmond corner clothing store" perspective, not from this cash flow bracket. Incredibly, while I know that these clothes mush have cost 70000 times the amount that one can get an outfit like that in the Greater Northeast or in Port Richmond, the style is indistinguishable to me.

I rocked a Phillies Jacket that's about 4 sizes too big for me and a brown tshirt, but I did wear a pair of jeans that fit.


Coming Up... Part II: Kismet! Bruce, Beth and Liam in the same restaurant where I went out to dinner for World Class Boxing, more on how much I love United States Artists, and I randomly meet Lorraine Opperman, originally from 7th and Wolf (Tree St.) but moved to Miami 55 years ago and works at Miami Jai alai.

Hooray! City Paper's #1 Book in Their Holiday Gift Guide

Right above Mary Kate and Ashley! Thanks, City Paper!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

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Miami Bound

Apparently, there's this Miami...

But I only know this Miami...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Artforum Best Books of 2008: America

Right, I am losing my mind that America is an Artforum "Best of 2008." Thanks to Julia Bryan-Wilson who chose it as a "Best Book of 2008."

Click below to read it

It's in this issue-

Day Without Art

America is the Book A Day at Photo-Eye

Nick Hornby's American Desire

Penguin Books asked their authors to tell which books they're giving, and which books they'd most like to receive this holiday season. What Nick Hornby wants to get is America... and how UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME IS THAT? Particularly because over the years I have given Ms. Lynn Bloom a Nick Hornby book as a Christmas or birthday gift until we reached the point that we have everything he's ever written. This is just great!

Nick Hornby America Xmas