The blog of author Dennis Cooper




Christos Venetis
Brian Dettmer
Rachel Whiteread
Kajsa Dahlberg
Xu Bing
Shilpa Gupta
Chiharu Shiota
Duncan Hannah
Jannis Kounellis
Isobelle Ouzman
Mengyu Chen
Long-Bin Chen
Cara Barer
Maskull Lasserre
Frances Stark
Guy Laramee
Loris Cecchni
Alicia Martin
Richard Artschwager
Susan Hiller
Ed Ruscha
Jonathan Callan
Dieter Roth
Anselm Kiefer
Mika Taanila
John Latham
Doug Beube
Raymond Pettibon
Airan Kang
Alexis Arnold



Christos Venetis Various


Brian Dettmer Various


Rachel Whiteread Untitled (Black Books)


Kajsa Dahlberg A Room of One’s Own/One Thousand Libraries


Xu Bing A Book from The Sky


Shilpa Gupta Someone Else: A Library of 35 Books Written Anonymously or Under Pseudonyms


Chiharu Shiota Untitled


Duncan Hannah Various


Jannis Kounellis Untitled


Isobelle Ouzman Various


Mengyu Chen Untitled


Long-Bin Chen Untitled


Cara Barer Various


Maskull Lasserre Untitled


Frances Stark Various


Guy Laramee Various


Loris Cecchini Extruding Bodies


Alicia Martin Various


Richard Artschwager Various


Susan Hiller Lucidity & Intuition: Homage to Gertrude Stein


Ed Ruscha Open Books


Jonathan Callan Various


Dieter Roth Diary


Anselm Kiefer Various


Mika Taanila Film Reader


John Latham Clusters


Doug Beube The Arena: White Over Black or The Secret Wars of the CIA


Raymond Pettibon Untitled


Airan Kang Digital Book Project


Alexis Arnold Various




p.s. Hey. ** David S. Estornell, Hi, David. I haven’t seen ‘The Florida Project’. I’m guessing you recommend it? I will then, thank you. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Yeah, sure. I know those ups and downs too from when I used to do my magazine Little Caesar way back when, and my book series Little House on the Bowery more recently too. Yes, I’m heading off this morning to make the new trailer with Zac because they need it by this afternoon, so I hope we can figure out how to make something we’re okay with and satisfy them. Trying to think like salesmen is weird. I remember that in-between apartments phase. I remember it being kind of beautiful. I can’t remember why. But tomorrow you fully move in, right? Gosh, I hope it all goes really easily. My day was finishing the poster, or rather two poster choices for them, and hopefully one of them will get the green light, and basically lots of little festival-related tasks, yeah. Not much else. Today too. But hopefully we’ll have everything ready by tomorrow, and I can go back to doing the other work I need to do. Work, work. Did you get everything ready for the move today? Is all good? ** Steve Erickson, Even the faster Elton John songs make me sick to my stomach. Nachos buddies! Curious read your piece about ‘The Post’. That film isn’t my thing, but I’m oddly interested to see it. Paris is great for seeing films, but, boy, I do miss having Anthology in the vicinity anyway. Everyone, Mr. Erickson weighs in on Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ right here. ** David Ehrenstein, Thanks. Well, the signed statement — here it’s not just Deneuve’s thing because a lot of respected women in the arts also signed it — is being passionately debated and argued about, yes, but that’s the French way. They do that about everything. But no one to my knowledge is denouncing them as rape apologists or saying they should be beheaded or that their work should be boycotted or blah blah. I think the atmosphere is that people are glad that the issue has been brought to the forefront so it can be discussed. That’s sad news about Van Dyke Parks’ arthritis. But I would imagine he’s finding a way to create great things anyway. ** Sypha, Well, if anyone’s urge to create is a spaceship or inter-dimensional traverser, it’s yours. I love that idea of the haunted house story told from the POV of the haunted house. That’s exciting. ** B, Hi, Bear. Did being in NYC make you miss the place and its intensity? I still haven’t seen ‘Silence’. I had a chance to watch it on a flight, but it seemed like that context would be a disservice, so I declined at that time. Very interested to read your ‘Coco’ review, another film I haven’t yet seen but want to. Everyone, d.l. and writer/artist B, also known as Bear, also known as Timothy Bell, wrote a review of ‘Coco’. I really want to read what he thought, don’t you? Do so here. Thanks, pal. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. I love Simon, and that’s an excellent novel by him, one of my faves of his. I read your new column when you altered folks to it on FB, and loved/was tweaked by it — very happy to see you write about Greg Tate — and now I’ll spread the entrance. Everyone, Jeff ‘J’ Jackson does this fantastic regular column for Fanzine as you probably know, and the new one is up and ready to be read and viewed, and it features ‘ a new box set of amazing films by Japanese New Wave master Kiju Yoshida including ‘Eros + Massacre,’ a new collection of cultural criticism essays by Greg Tate, and a book that transforms Communist propaganda photos into a Chris Marker like narrative’, so, obviously, click this. Yes, Sunday’s good. I’ll message you at FB, and we can nail. ** Alex rose, Oh my god, Alex! This is such a incredible pleasure! I just was asking a few people in the last two weeks if they were in touch with you and knew what you’re up to. Man, this is so nice. Please don’t hesitate to hang out here at least a bit if that doesn’t ruffle your feathers. What are you up to, working on, etc, etc.? Dude, fucking ruling is something you do so hard. Lots of love to you, Alex! ** Misanthrope, Drain them, yeek, but please do it if need be. As you know, my dreams vanish without a trace with the opening of my eyes except for the odd fluke, but I don’t they’re very weird, which is weird. ** Daniel Lemons, Hi, Daniel. Welcome! Yes, Pierre Buisson is kind of my all-time favorite porn star. I had dreams/plans to do a big interview with Cabinet about him when I first moved over here, but Cadinot died before I could. Well, that is quite huge news you’re delivering right there. I had no idea, and, in fact, I’ve never heard anyone ever talk about that before. Wow. Now I have to chase those porns down. Thank you so much, man! That’s giant. Nerdy alert but that last list of his films has the dates wrong on some of them. ‘Tough and Tender’ predated the others, for instance. But whatever. Again, much gratitude to you for bringing that scoop in here. ** Okay. Books. Books as material maybe. Something like that. That’s your diet for today. See you tomorrow.


  1. Hey DC,

    A day late maybe, but the Claude Simon blew my mind. That description of it like a camera lens focussing in and out is a good one and yeah, just, wow. I’ve ordered a copy of conducting bodies and been googling nouveau roman when nobody’s looking at work.

    My holiday was alright if a little stressful. It’s my last day at work today and I’ve been saving to head back to Lisbon so I’m off again this week – excited.

    Randy Newman is I think deceptively diverse as a songwriter. While musically it’s pretty much all in the same vein, the fact he does Disney scores, songs for bigger ‘swing’ style artists, the kind of dark and personal stuff, humorous songs, and the political/historical ones which are my fav. I love how thorough and detailed songs like Great Nations of Europe are.

    Thanks for the books post – great to see Rachel Whiteread in there.

    Cool, have a good day 🙂

  2. David Ehrenstein

    January 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Beautiful “Books Day”!

    I’m trying to remember the author and title of the nouveau roman that came as book of unnumbered pages that could be read in any order. Anyone? Bueller?

    Just got my review copy of “Avedon” an oral history of the great man co-written by the co-author of my favorite oral history “Savage Grace.” I’m going to be referencing it n a piece I’m doing about bisexuality as Avedon had a seven year affair with (wait for it) Mike Nichols (!)

    Here’s a fascinating piece about color and how we perceive it

    • I have long heard rumors about Nichols being gay or bi. I’m glad to hear confirmation of this.

      • David Ehrenstein

        January 12, 2018 at 7:36 pm

        Here’s the Dish (and I do mean DISH) from Avedon lui-meme:

        “We had so much going for us. He’s above me intellectually of course, the way Renata is, but I’m the artist so it evens out. And we’re equally corrupt. We were made for each other. At one point we even thought about running away together. Eloping, we called it — leaving our wives and our lives and moving to Gay Paree. I was the one who introduced Mike to Paris, that time when we shot the collections for the ‘Bazaar’ — he loved it as much as me. We chickened out, but we were together for years, til Mike met someone else and moved on–someone not worthy of him I might add. Later on we started things up again –there were sparks, but no fire. But we stayed best frineds. And we’ll always have Paris.”

        Now doesn’t THAT Beat All: A gay version of “Funny Face” with Mike Nichols in the Audrey Hepburn role!

    • David – I believe that book is “Composition No. 1” by Mark Sapporta. Recently reissued by a UK press, too.

  3. My favorite artwork/design here is the Penguin books.

    I think that after Paris, New York is the best city in the world to be a cinephile (at least as far as seeing movies in the theater.) I spend a lot of time at Anthology, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s programming is great too. I saw an interesting documentary, THE PRINCE AND THE DYBBUK (about the Polish-born director of THE DYBBUK, who then spent the rest of his career in America and Italy and began exploring his gay sexuality in the final decade of his life, albeit in ways that now sound slightly predatory), at the Film Society’s New York Jewish Film Festival, and I will be returning for Romanian director Radu Jude’s THE DEAD NATION, which combines still images of beautiful landscapes with a voice-over relating increasing anti-Semitism in the run-up to WW2, on the 21st. Anthology is beginning a week-long run of Wang Bing’s BITTER MONEY today and the Film Society is doing the same with Philippe Garrel’s LOVER FOR A DAY.

    I am working on an article/review on female rappers Cupcakke and Rapsody, with some general observations on the music industry’s tendency to put women like them into niches and the way they’ve both succumbed to this (Cupcakke is a sex goddess in the vein of Lil Kim, Rapsody is totally positive and socially conscious in the vein of Lauryn Hill) and worked to expand the gender/genre roles they fall into. The rough draft is more than 1,100 words. Alas, I couldn’t find anyone to pay me to publish this, so when I get to a final version I’m happy with, I will post it on Medium. I’ll then post the link here. I plan to go with a headline as woke and provocative as possible to attract Medium readers.

  4. Hi!

    Such an amazing post today! Thank you so much! I’m in love with books, as objects. The ones by Christos Venetis are my absolute favorites from this collection but I liked lots of them. Isobelle Ouzman, for example.

    Thank you for the nice words! I think we’re all set to move tomorrow. I’ll still have my keys for a week or two and I’d like to come back and take photographs of every room and every important, familiar little detail.

    Did you make the new trailer? One that satisfied all the sales agent people too? Did they like the posters?

    I won’t have internet connection for a few days (maybe a week, at worst) but I’ll tell you about how everything went as soon as I have the chance! I also can’t wait to hear the news from your end! I hope everything goes perfectly with the festival preparations – and everything else!

  5. This is really lovely. I try to keep a running list of artists who show up here that I want to find out more about, and this alone has added a bunch. I spent a lot of my teaching years around book-arts people, and still do a workshop with one once in a while. I have no qualms at all about reading on my Kindle–it’s great for reading in bed, and I get a lot of free stiff for it–but the engagement with the physical form of the book still seems like a great basic human erotic mystery, like how we relate to fruit, or trees, or houses. (When I taught “1984,” I used to start with a hands-on workshop to emphasize the erotic relationship to a journal where you keep your secrets.)
    You don’t need to worry about the statement for me. I learned I’m not eligible for the one thing that was on short deadline, and I’ll be doing a lot of applications etc within a month or so, so I’ll come back to you: It’s basically an endorsement that I’ve done significant writing, have a reputation (well, kind of), and also am a good neighbor (for residencies)–I lived downstairs from you in Paris for three weeks the first time I went to Récollets 🙂 You are *very* busy now, though.
    I was in Richmond last weekend and got to see the Poe Museum–not a place he lived in Richmond, unfortunately, but full of memorabilia–and it was good to take in his whole aura. Reminded me how totally central he is to my whole idea of what literature, or writing, is–especially finding your way around the intersections of fantasy and truth. The tour guide was great, because he clearly thought Poe had some kind of mystical knowledge of the foundations of the universe (I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at “Eureka,” but it’s kind of mind-blowing).
    I have a long list of Days for you some of which I can now get to; maybe can add something about Poe. I have dug up the Golden Boys posts from the old blog, which were 9 separate collections of images from ’70s porn, and I have an idea for something to do with selection, but . . . I’m noticing they almost all feature erections. Is that OK here? If I have questions about any others before completing, I’ll FB DM you, since I still can’t figure out which email works for you.
    So: I sleuthed Pierre Buisson a little myself–I remember you introducing me to the films of Cadinot, and then me sitting in my friend David Lebe’s house dubbing TLA’s entire catalogue of Cadinot on VHS–and almost immediately found this very interesting book by Earl Jackson called Strategies of Deviance, where the article on Almodovar’s Law of Desire starts “In a recent essay, Dennis Cooper has observed that the work of many artists reflects a certain indebtedness to pornography.” And there are essays on you, Robert Glück, and Kevin Killian. Looks good. 1995.
    Can’t wait for the film, of course.
    x and especially o.

  6. Speaking of Randy Newman, I don’t think anyone has made this comparison, but Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt’s “Super Rich Kids” really reminds me of him. It’s the kind of sardonic look at wealthy L.A. lifestyles that he almost made a specialty out of in the late ’70s.

  7. No surprise that I love the gallery today, Dennis! I believe you’ve featured some Brian Dettmer before; lovely pieces.

    I somehow doubt that Kindles have this kind of potential as material, haha.

    Good luck with the new trailer. Hope we get a peek soon.


  8. David Ehrenstein

    January 12, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Richard Avedon “Gay Jeopardy” Bonus Points! When he divorced his wife Doe — “I screwed up enough courage to go to one of George Cukor’s ‘boys nights.’ The minute I walked in the door I had an attack of what Auden called HP homosexual panic, and ran out.”

  9. Thank you for the beautiful book art day. Some things I’ve never seen before . And Artschwager is always awesome. Chiming in on another thread – The Florida Project is great. I think you’d like it. It’s beautiful and sad and the kids’ performances are incredibly good. I’m a little biased since my team did the poster for it. Anyway, my two cents. Personally I think Phantom Thread is the movie of the year. But people will fight me on that.

  10. Hola D-spot!
    How are you?
    This is such a lovely post. I think I spied some Ian Svenonius words in one of those Frances Stark pieces, all of which I really liked. The Airan Kang digital book project is like manna for my eyes. Cool effect on the Loris Cecchini piece with the books pushing through the wallpaper like Freddie Kruger or something. And the books spewing out the windows is pretty great fun also. Thanks, man.
    I listened to Hurdy Gurdy Man this morning just to keep the Donovan flame burning.
    I like the fact that your pal was in Nancy Drew! That was one of my absolute favourite shows as a kid, so I’ll have loved her in some way. I was mad keen on both Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. I think the Nancy Drew books were just that bit better.
    How was Friday? Are you still neck-deep in movie work?
    We’re having a Writing Gang meet tonight, which is always great but will be extra special tonight as Kate is coming up from London and staying at ours so it’s WG IRL!!!!! Word.
    What’s your weekend look like? May it be like a normal weekend but put through a metaphorical Soda Stream.
    Paneer love,

    • Yeah, that Stark/Svenonius thing was in the Whitney Biennial–really, really big. It was kinda fun watching people read it.

  11. Hi Dennis, these books are beautiful, thank you. I had a rejection yesterday from FSG. Jonathan Galassi had kindly offered to read my next book a while ago, and yesterday I got a lovely email from an associate there. Really nice, complimentary, but not an offer. Today I don’t know how I ever thought I’d get in without an agent. I learned this, I thought, on my other novel. And even with an agent (which I had before), it’s difficult. So my pipe dream was shot down yesterday – all because of this one guy’s opinion – and it won’t go any further than that. Still waiting to hear from 2 agents who’ve got it, both close calls on Red Truck. I’m really not querying it anymore as of this year, and will have to make a decision whether or not to stay with my publisher if these don’t pan out. Somehow, confessing all this to you here helps – and thanks for encouraging me a while back to get it published with someone. It’s not the money I care about at all – it’s just that I’d like an editor, and a little respect from bookstores, reviewers, etc. What I went through with Red Truck was not at all easy, though the book did fairly well for a small press. Well, shall I click “Post Comment”? If you see this, I done did it.

  12. Lots of good stuff here. I like the Whiteread, Pettibon, and Stark especially off the top of my head. A tribute to your noble curatorial impartiality that you included Kiefer right? (Haha)

    I wanted to tell you, I was in Portland last weekend and saw a huge exhibition at the art museum on Laika studio. It was totally mind blowing. Coraline is one of my all time favorites, and I love all their stuff. They had tons of models and props from the films including entire buildings and sets. I can send you some photos if you would like. Hope you are great.

  13. Here’s my review of French director Marie Voignier’s documentary TINSELWOOD: http://read.kinoscope.org/2018/01/12/momi-first-look-tinselwood-marie-voignier/. It plays the same “First Look” series at the Museum of the Moving Image as the Benning films – this year, they seem particularly intrigued by films that overlap between the avant-garde and documentary. My sole experience in academia has been lecturing on Western films about North Korea after a screening of her previous doc INTERNATIONAL TOURISM at Columbia, but her films have had no exposure in New York at all besides one-off “First Look” screenings. Is she better-known in France?

    We had a rainstorm in NYC from the morning to the middle of the afternoon and got intense at times, which left me with wet shoes and socks even though the rain ended almost three hours ago.

    Sorry about the FSG rejection, Kyler.

  14. When you were a journalist, were you ever in a position when you were in the middle of writing a piece and someone publishes much the same concept in a higher-profile venue before you have finished writing yours? That just happened to me. I figure I should go ahead with what I’m doing, and not read the other writer’s piece in question until I have finished and posted mine. If it’s any good, I will have come up with something different and worthwhile to say.

  15. Gorgeous Books Day, I’m happy to see John Latham’s work here and I should really check more of it. Often think of this as being dense and inaccessible but these Clusters are quite lovely.

    With the injury I’m just laid low right now, keeping topped up with over-the-counter painkillers to alleviate the soreness. Last night I saw Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest for the first time, which was either the best or worst thing I could have watched, but either way it made for a profound experience.

    We’ve still been able to have a Yuck ‘n Yum online meeting and the Instagram page is now live with the Seattle callout to be broadcast later this weekend. I’ll keep you posted as this story develops.

  16. Dennis, These books are disturbing. Some of them. It’s to do with a phobia of mine, but that’s okay. I’m okay. I like them.

    Dreams are weird, no? Supposedly, you only remember your dreams if you wake up during them. Somebody like Bernard would know more about that than I do. I often remember 2 or 3 or sometimes more dreams. Was I having them all at once? Did I wake up several times somehow and not remember all the awakenings? I don’t know, they’re weird. Weirder yet is not remembering them. To me, at least. Though there are times when I’ll wake up and can’t recall having dreamt at all. Very rare, but it happens.

    I tend to dream more, as well as more intensely, when I take melatonin, it seems.

    Yeah, I mean, if drainage is needed, I’ll do it. Frankly, I just don’t like the expense of it all -even with insurance- or the days off from work or the recovery time. I’d much rather spend those days off doing something I like.

    So it was 65 degrees here at 5 p.m. By the same time tomorrow, it’ll be about 32. What the fuck?

    • Short answer from the world’s foremost authority on everything:
      It’s very difficult to convert dreams to long-term memory. But as most people have experienced, recollecting one detail can trigger recollection of others–they are literally, physically linked by association via synapses. Which is why, if you want to keep track of your dreams in a journal, you should write a quick sketch, or a list of images, and go back to fill in details later.
      One thing that’s pretty well established is that many, if not most, people pursue the same themes in a night’s dreams, often with related imagery. (Sometimes this is pretty dramatic, with replays of the same situation with different details and outcomes.)
      So if you awake from a morning dream and while recalling it, recall others, there are at least two very common occurrences that could explain it: 1. Elements of the last dream of the night are triggering recall of earlier dreams; 2. The last REM period, which may be 40 minutes long, actually does have a few narratives stitched together, either because of the sudden shifts common in dreams, or because of mini-awakenings or shifts from REM to non-REM.
      The situation is more complicated than that, because you can recall non-REM dreams, too: they tend to be much simpler, often just a weird image or phrase.
      According to general personality style, people recall dreams or don’t because of the stage of sleep they wake up in, and the circumstances of awaking. “Creative” people tend to wake from REM and remember dreams; they also recall more disturbing dreams, and more often have trouble transitioning to full wakefulness.
      I’m writing this fairly late, so I’ll DM you on Facebook to let you know I answered.

  17. Hey Dennis – So many lovely books here. Great to see the Dieter Roth ones. For some reason, the Mika Tananila collages and Christos Vanetis – which were both new to me – really stood out.

    Thanks for the kind words about the Ideal Home Noise column. Greg Tate is amazing and I was happy to get to write about his work. I believe he has a sci-fi novel and Basquiat bio in the drawer. Wish he’d publish more often — or maybe better put that it was easier for him to get his work out there. Do you know his band Burnt Sugar?

    Glad Sunday works for Skype and I’ll be checking FB to set the time.

  18. Hello, Dennis — great book gallery day as objects and perhaps concept also. Thank you! How is your premiere preparation going? I saw the short description of the film, and it sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to see it here in the US.

    I went to the city today and watched a great Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff’s “The flute and the arrow” — a really lovely ethnofiction where I had the opportunity of seeing my favorite things — animals, children, and trees in their best surroundings. Lately I’ve been obsessively studying and writing on practices and philosophy of ethono-fiction or poetry related to Brazilian cinema novo and Portuguese school of Reis (where “The Ornithologist”‘s Rodrigues is coming from), and it was a timely viewing in a purer form. Do you like Arne Sucksdorff work? I might see more of his this weekend.

    I’ve sent you an email regarding Ashbery. If you have time, I’d like to have your thought. But no rush. Please let me know when would be good for you. Otherwise, have a nice weekend.

  19. Hi! I have not read all the comments and maybe someone has already mentioned her, but you should have a look to Denise A. Aubertin and her cooked books (or “Les livres cuits”).

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