The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Dave Muller Karen Carpenter Empty Drum Kit 4 (2013)


Alicia Eggert Pulse Machine (2012)
‘This electromechanical sculpture was ‘born’ in Nashville, Tennessee on 2 June 2012, at 6:18 PM. It has been programmed to have the average human lifespan of babies born in Tennessee on that same day: approximately 78 years. The kick drum beats its heartbeat (at 60 beats per minute), and the mechanical counter displays the number of heartbeats remaining in its lifetime. An internal, battery-operated clock keeps track of the passing time when the sculpture is unplugged. The sculpture will ‘die’ once the counter reaches zero.’


Stéphane Vigny Sans Titre (2012)
‘Witness the dozens of cymbals arranged by Stéphane Vigny into a musical landscape, which is subtly brought to life by the discreet triggering of a mechanical vibration.’


Terry Adkins Muffled Drums (2003)


David Shrigley Headless Drummer (2012)


Michael Sailstorfer Drumkit (2005)
‘Michael Sailstorfer fuses two loci of masculine aggression in Drum Kit, a drum kit fashioned from the scraps of an LAPD police car. The drummer and police man are recurrently imagined as rogue figures, however the police officer only becomes one when teaming up with other officers to create “force.” The LAPD is one of the most violent police departments in the United States and the drummer is perpetually cast as the craziest band member in our pop cultural memory.’


Terence Koh Sprungkopf (2006)


Christoph Büchel Minus (2002)
‘A punk-concert was held inside a room at the Kunstverein Hannover. Immediately after the show, the entire room was frozen.’


Fabienne Audéoud, John Russell & Wayne Lloyd The withdrawal from conversation/return to the oceanic: the weight of the breast. Twenty women play the drums topless. (2002)


Ivan Navarro Wail (2010)
Neon light, plexiglass drums, metal, mirror, one-way mirror and electric energy.


Samson Young Nocturne (2015)
‘For this work, Young collected video recordings of night bombings – predominately U.S. attacks on the Middle East, ranging from the Gulf War to ISIS – and edited the found footage into a six hour-long film, which plays mutely on his laptop computer. As he watches, the artist uses household objects and “live foley” techniques to reproduce the sounds of explosions, gunshots and debris as accurately as possible. This work is conceived of as a “Sonic Warfare Training Program,” with the artist taking on the role of training combatant; by the end of the show, he will know the aleatoric composition by heart. His “sound effects” are broadcast on-site via pirate radio frequencies, accessible via FM receivers both within and outside of the gallery.’


Pascal Grandmaison Manner (2003)


Krištof Kintera Bad News (2011)
Bad News, created in 2011, represents a devil who, head leaning on a drum, reacts to his listening to a radio airing announcements about catastrophes, speeches by dictators and Heavy Metal music hitting the instrument like a maniac.’


Naama Tsabar Twilight (Drum Case) (2006)
‘Encasing a whole drum set into an instrument case extended to such a size that it nullifies its usability. It is transformed into a giant stage, substituting a backstage functionality with a performative, front-stage one.’


Dolphin Explosion performs “Boogie Man” with guest drummer Mike Kelley (2006)


Pedro Reyes Disarm (Mechanised) (2012)
Disarm (Mechanized) is an ambitious installation, comprising of 8 mechanical musical instruments, resulting from Pedro Reyes’ international project in which illegal firearms were used to fabricate musical instruments. Musical instruments were created from firearms, including revolvers, shot-guns and machine-guns, which were crushed by tanks and steamrollers to render them useless. These were offered to the artist by the Mexican government following their confiscation and subsequent public destruction in the city of Ciudad, Juarez. From the 6,700 destroyed weapons the artist received from the Mexican Secretary of Defence, Reyes created two groups of instruments including Disarm. This installation of mechanical musical instruments can either be automated or played live by an individual operator using a laptop computer or midi keyboard.’


Ed Ruscha Double Americanisms (2019)


Yuko Mohri THE BEGINNINGS (or Open-Ended) Part 1 (2015)


Jonathan Polkest Drum Fusion (2008)


Christian Marclay Museum Tinguely Performance (2018)
‘On the 26th of January, as part of a two-day international symposium, performance artist Christian Marclay took up the challenge to interact with the artwork of Jean Tinguely. Joined by Okkyung Lee (Cello) and Luc Müller (Percussions), the trio performed a concert in the midst of machines created by Jean Tinguely and other material found in the museum by interacting with them spatially and by the sounds they produce.’


Los Carpinteros Congas (2015)


Anri Sala Still life in the Doldrums (2015)


Michelangelo Pistoletto Terzo Paradiso (2003-2013)
346 cymbals, lids, 120 x 640 x 1120 cm


Open Reel Ensemble Tape Tapping (2018)
‘Japanese musicians Ei Wada, Haruka Yoshida, and Masaru Yoshida create reverberating drum beats on the outstretched tape of cracked open reel-to-reel tape recorders from the 1970s and 1980s. The group, appropriately named Open Reel Ensemble, produces an intriguing timbre that more closely resembles a synthesizer than an analog drum. The group has created the soundtrack for Japanese designer ISSEY MIYAKE‘s last four seasons.’


John M Armleder Furniture Sculpture 189 (1988)
Furniture Sculpture 189 is a quasi-symmetrical composition consisting of a silent drum kit standing in front of a horizontal yellow canvas with two strips of mauve at each end, hung very low, so that the drums share the same visual space. The title of the work is a nod to its musical genealogy. Indeed, Furniture Sculpture echoes Erik Satie’s experiments in Furniture Music from 1917 on. This was music designed to create a mood rather than be listened to: as Satie himself wrote, it ‘claims to contribute to life in the same way as a private conversation, a painting in the gallery or the seat one is, or is not, sitting on’. While Furniture Sculpture may be read by analogy as installations contributing to an ‘art of ambiance’, the use of a silent drum kit in Furniture Sculpture 189 also gestures to Cage, a major influence on Armleder’s performances.’


Alex Gawronski The Old Man With the Big Long Horn (He’s the One Who Isn’t There) (2016)
‘The title of this installation, The Old Man With the Big Long Horn (He’s the One Who Isn’t There) paraphrases a lyric from seminal experimental-absurdist ‘band’ The Residents. The creepy apparition conjured in the song is that ugly thing, ignored by reason and self interest, that is nonetheless ever present and inescapable. Inserted through the wooden monolith, a TV depicted a close-up of a musician (Jack Wotton) simulating a beat from Jean Luc Godard’s 1967 film Weekend. In a scene towards the end of that film, a rock drummer plays over farcical events like the blackly humorous cannibalisation, by a group of deluded ‘revolutionaries’, of a wholly unlikable bourgeois couple. The lose-lose scenario depicted speaks of a contemporary world devouring itself.’


Dawn Kasper Cluster (2016)
Cymbals, cymbals stands, ardunios, motors, motion sensors, power strips, extension cords and AC adapters, dimensions variable.


Claes Oldenburg

Drum Set (1967)

Miniature Soft Drum Set (1969)

Ghost Drum Set (1972)


Jean-Lucien Guillaume Chocolate Drums (2000)


Takeshi Ikeda Band of the Night (2005)
‘I and my friend destroy earnestly the drums made from styrene and corrugated paper. This work is made by the basis of the influence of the idea which records the song for 1-30 second on a 7-inch record in large quantities. This idea was borne by the trend of hardcore punk from the first. At the exhibition, all possible drums were made among one day, and it repeated destroying every day. The wreckage of the broken drums so, then day by day stacks and goes up to the hall.’




p.s. Hey. ** Milk, Hi. Thank you very much, Milk. And thank you very much for being part of it. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T! Great Korine reverie on your part, and yes! I’m good, all things considered. Meaning healthy but partly stir crazy like everybody. And you? How are you employing your isolation? Yes, I had thought I could announce my novel’s US publisher last week, but it should be any day now. Highly compressed locked down love too you, pal and sir! Oh, you know, I’m way down to make a ‘welcome to the world’ post for your book if you want to send me any supplementary stuff to use or anything. ** David Ehrenstein, Harmony got the single and only really good performance out of Franco in ‘Springbreakers’. And I guess he’s fairly funny in that film about ‘The Room’. Otherwise, snore. A friend of mine is actually using the lockdown to read Proust, so there you go. ** Misanthrope, Korine haters tend to be secretly conventional fussbudgets. I haven’t filed my taxes in a couple of years out of laziness or something, so I don’t think I’ll be getting a check. So, is your novel now truly ready for the hideous conveyer belt to fame and glory? Kidney stone, ah, right makes sense. Ouch. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. I’m so, so sorry to hear about your uncle’s scare. I’m happy that everything worked out for the ultra-best for him, and here’s heavily hoping that continues. Scary. My friend Sabrina told me you’re reviving ‘Tea with Tosh’ for the ‘Made in LA’ show, which is awesome news, obviously. Hang in there, bud. ** Bill, Hi. Oh, Korine’s films are a billion times better than Larry Clark’s, if you ask me. I think your lockdown just got extended to April 30th if I read my news through un-coffee-d eyes correctly? Yes, your gig is up just when I need it most! Sweet, I’m there today. Everyone, artist/music maker Bill Hsu did a gig just before the world collapsed at Peacock Lounge in San Francisco (3/5/2020) in a trio format under the rubric Bjll Dingalls (Tom Djll, Bill Hsu, Matt Ingalls), and you can not only hear but watch it here. I’m heading over there shortly. ‘See’ you there? ** MyNeighbour JohnTurturro, Hey, man! Surreal, you bet. It’s Dada and even Actionist. Every time I’m out in Paris I feel like I’m on the level of a really good but very vexing video game. I haven’t seen ‘Beach Bums’. I heard such bad things, and I love all of his films, so I’ve been wary. But I need to. I think ‘Julien’ is my favorite too. The two films he wrote for Larry Clark are the only films of Larry Clark that I like. Korine is a wonderful writer. His novel ‘Crack Up at the Race Riot’ is recommended if you haven’t read it. You like Horse Lords too, cool. I’ve mostly been listening to scattered tracks. The recent albums I love are the new Destroyer, the new Thomas Brinkmann, the upcoming Yves Tumor. But I’m going on an album hunt today. You recommend anything in particular? It’s really good to see you! ** wolf, Wooly Bully! Up? Being is up. I feel like everyone I know including me is just being right now. I’m okay. As an often stay-at-homer, I think I’m spared the the higher level stir craziness maybe. Semi-accustomed, I guess I would say. Yes, the control freaks are waving their freak flags wildly, that’s for sure. Social media is like Attack of the Killer Bees. It would be a great alternate energy source if things worked that way. I’m doing that imaginary retrofitting too. Huh. Definitely helps reorient the brain cells. Yes, let’s do a Skype catch up! That’s a stellar idea! Any time you want basically. I’m a 24/7 sitting duck. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey, Ben. I’m with you. Ah, you have plenty of time to suss out the perfect story. I can’t wait to read it. ** Dominik, Hi, D! I’m happy my blog upped your weekend! Yay! Thanks about our producer. I think she’ll be fine. Most people who get it end up fine. So far. As you’ll see when you read my new novel, which is entirely about George’s effect on me, having his and my mutual friend Lee to talk with is meaningful indeed. I can’t say that my weekend was all that much. Doing the regular of late. Uh, Skyped with an editor of Artforum and might be doing some GIF works for their next issue, which, no surprise, will have to be online only. Other than that, just watching and listening and reading and doing (within reason) and going out a bit. Like you, it sounds like. God, things had better be at least back to semi-normal by the end of August, holy god! You sound good. I’m good. Any particularly good entertainments or ideas come to your mind and/or eyes/ears today? Big love, me. ** KK, Hey, man! Greetings from the heart of my solitary confinement to yours! I haven’t seen ‘Beach Bums’. I’ve been scared of it, but I’m getting less scared by the minute. I haven’t been up to much. Working a bit, imbibing books and music and streaming stuff. Making the blog. Planning and scheming about future projects that will require being outside my apartment. That kind of stuff. I used to do yoga for several years. It was definitely a good thing to do. But I got too busy or bored or something after a while. I’m sorry to hear about your grandma. Curious to hear how the online classes work. No, long story short, my struggle to get a Switch has yet to pay off with one actually arriving, but I’m still on the hunt for a plausible way to get one reliably delivered. I played the first ‘Animal Crossing’, and it ate me alive, so I won’t play the later iterations, but its having eaten me alive is a compliment to it. Great Akermann, no? I’m reading a couple of new Amphetamine Sulphate books and a bunch of poetry (which suits my current attention span) and … I forget. My roommate used to cut hair for his living, so my head is covered or uncovered as the case may be. You stay as well as humanly possible too! ** Steve Erickson, Ah ha! Everyone, Mr. Erickson has used part of his quarantine downtime to become a budding Beat maker, and he has uploaded one of his initial beaty works onto Soundcloud. Let’s go listen, shall we? Here. Wow, that is trippy: that doc streaming on Pornhub. Sounds good. I’m there. My weekend, described with appropriate brevity somewhere above, was … fine. Yours? Baxter Dury … maybe I’ve heard the name? Is he related to Ian? He might be kind of exaggerating about the ‘famous in France’ thing, or maybe not? I’ll look around. ** Jeff J, Thanks, man. I have not seen ‘Above the Below’. You can bet I scoured the internet for it when making the post, but it wasn’t anywhere. Still haven’t seen ‘Beach Bums’. Still intend to. Thanks for reminding me: I’ll try to get those Gould works today. I totally agree that ‘Portrait of a Young Girl at the end of the 60s in Brussels’ is one of Akerman’s greatest films and very, very strangely overlooked. Cool about your writing momentum. I need some. I’m going to go try to find mine. ** Okay. Today, it’s simple: drums. See you tomorrow.


  1. “Beat out that rhythm on the drum!”

    Warren Beatty is 83 today

    Being a major homebody I’m not in the least “stir crazy” But the death toll is rising stateside in truly frightful ways.

  2. To me, there’s nothing sadder than hearing Karen Carpenter singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” everywhere at Xmas time. Always makes me sad, but I don’t think there are drums in that one. Hope you’re doing ok Dennis. My new laptop has Skype, camera and mic. So I’m video-chatting all over the world and having a blast with this – a new experience for me! Take care, man, thinking of you. x

  3. Hey,

    I hope things get better for all you guys over there in La France.

    Uh, things are pretty much like everywhere else in the Western World. The number of cases has grown, so now very few restaurants and stores and supermarkets remain open. Parks, museums, cinemas, theaters, malls, department stores have all been closed; all levels of schooling have been canceled; very, very few people is still working from their working place, a lot of people have been laid off, there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go; streets are empty for the first time in my City’s History. You know how it is with these Capitalistic Catastrophes…

    I know, Mark was so incredibly kind.

    Oh, Artforum! Great!

    Didn’t really do shit during the weekend. Today’s my appointment with my psychiatrist; we’ll see how that goes in every sense of the word.

    Hey, check this out:

    “‘Hey Boy’ is a fever dream of a novel of a sentence. Loopy, depraved, literate in its illiteracies, fiercely cruel and facile, wonderfully unhinged . Reads like Andrew Cunanan’s lobotomized nightmares filtered through Delany’s Hogg.” – Gary J. Shipley.

    ^ How about that, huh??? I can’t believe it!

    Sanitised hugs right back at you.


    Good day, good luck,


  4. I saw a pic of Mike Kelley playing drums as part of his performance The Sublime at CalArts in the early 80s. Was that an event you were there for?

  5. My youngest brother Andrew is quite the drummer, has two drum sets and everything (one a regular set, the other an electronic one). One of his drum heroes is Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame, though he likes a lot of more contemporary drummers as well…

    I’ve been out of work for almost a week now… on Monday the governor of Massachusetts (the state where the B&N I work at is located) said that all non-essential businesses had to close by 12 PM Tuesday, and on Monday I worked 3-7. Since then, zip, zero, nada. I guess I get a normal paycheck for last week, this week they’ll begin burning through my paid time off, then the week after that they’ll pay me for up to 2 weeks. After that I’ll be furloughed, which means that technically I’ll still be employed, just not being paid, though I’ll be eligible to collect unemployment… sigh… ah well. I’m still toiling away at the Pleasant Tales collection, but it seems my timing to start such a project proved to be somewhat perverse, ha ha.

  6. What a great blog today. Drums are such a visually stunning image for me. As a kid or teenager, I think I was excited to see the drum kit before the show even starts. There is something fetish about the way it’s put together. And ‘art’ drum images are always fantastic. Yes, there is talk of doing a Tea With Tosh revival, and we will see where that takes us. It’s a strange world (ha!) that we plan things, but we have no idea what the future will hold for us. It’s sort of like tossing a coin to see if its heads or tails – and the coin is not landing but just floating above us.

  7. Hi Dennis! I wanted to share a new work for you/everyone stuck inside. I just finished it the other day, and since there’s no other venues available to show it, I’m just releasing it online right away. I would suggest doing another “Please welcome to the world…” post, but I don’t have any supplemental materials to go along with it this time. It was an odd project that sort of just happened without much planning, and then this quarantine gave me just the time I needed to edit it.

    Here’s the backstory: It’s another collaboration I did with the author Jarett Kobek. He wanted to promote his new novel by going on right-wing media and debating the hosts (he was especially focused on meeting Ben Shapiro). The idea was that he might create viral attention if these “debates” devolved into childish arguments and name-calling. He asked me if I wanted to document the process (which ended up being far more complicated/ridiculous than we had anticipated) and of course I said yes.

    I thought it was going to be a short, but then it ended up being 90 minutes. A friend of mine who’s a literature professor called it something like “a movie for us dying breed who still care about books.” Seems like a good fit for the crowd here. Anyway, here it is: https://vimeo.com/401193863

    Hope you’re doing well!

  8. Thanks for the plug, Dennis! Really appreciate this.

    That Christian Marclay/Tinguely performance is nice. And obviously I appreciate chocolate.

    Will definitely check out some Korine films soon. Just started my Stuart Gordon tribute streaming fest; “King of the Ants” is probably worth seeing, but not one of his best.


  9. Nice drum selection. I love the frozen post-punk gig idea/piece. It made me think about the Boredoms and their various drum related craziness, but I guess that’s more to do with the performance rather than centred on the object of the drums themselves, like these seem to be.

    Glad you’re doing ok, and awesome about the impending book announcement! Congratulations in advance! But I’ll of course add more when it comes officially. I’d love to do a Welcome to World day for my book – thanks, Dennis. The only problem at the moment is that the novel is at the printers and the State where they are is in lockdown … so at the moment my novel is trapped – argh! Hopefully it will get out of their before too long! I’ll let you know when I hear something.

  10. Dennis, I hope it’s just a kidney stone. Had a good weekend, but it flared up today around 4:30 as I was getting off work. I had a night insomnia, which I get every month or so, last night, so I’m crashing early tonight because of that and this pain.

    The novel is complete…however, there are three things I want to go over, two of which are chapters that have feature this one character and they have to be done in a certain way (that I’m sure no one will notice) because of that character. He’s this really goofy, corny, light-up-the-room type and the prose has to reflect that…subtly. (See? Like that light-up and reflect there? Hehe. (Totally unintentional. Or was it?!))

    The other is another decent look at dialogue, particularly when people speak and get cut off. There’s a reason for it happening and not happening and I just wanna make sure it’s pretty consistent.

    Okay, way too much about that.

    I think I told you this story before, but when I saw Suede for the only time in 1995, DC was the first or close to first date on their little USA tour. Toward the end of the concert, Brett jumped up on the big drum and jumped off…and sprained his ankle. Spent the rest of the tour in a cast, with a cane. I saw pics of him in SPIN or Rolling Stone or NME in that get up. That’s my drum story.

  11. Baxter Dury is Ian’s son. In fact, he appeared on the cover of NEW BOOTS AND PANTIES. His music sounds different from his dad in its reliance on ’80s synthesizers, but his voice does sound remarkably like Ian’s.

    I produced two new pieces today: “Angelwaves,” which is built around samples of Aaliayah’s vocals and a distorted recording of ocean waves, and “Glassbow,” which was inspired by ’80s Philip Glass and samples the synth part from a Battles song and a cymbal played with a violin bow. I hope to enter it in Warp Records’ current Battles remix competition.

    Speaking of which, Yves Tumor’s publicist finally promised me to send me a link to his new album, although I haven’t gotten it yet. I did complete my review of Rina Sawayama’s album, which comes out 4/17, today. Keeping anxiety and depression at bay through work seems key, although it’s not working entirely. My goal of getting through this period without increasing my dependence on tranquilizers doesn’t seem workable. Many of my friends are so depressed they can barely get out of bed, and everyone who still has a job is expected to devote their entire life to it because it’s such a privilege now. Also, the grocery that I had been using closed today, as did a nearby deli. New York’s post-apocalyptic wasteland feel is only increasing.

  12. One other drum-related thing: Kokoko!’s performance videos got taken down from YouTube, but I love the sight and sound of their drummer using amplified plastic bottles as his kit!

  13. It’s weird, although hardly unexpected, how being at home all the time doesn’t faze me. Every few years I go to a conference at a monastery in Holland, and when I check into my little monk’s cell, I’m so happy. . . . Of course I live in a pretty big house, so I can go places inside it. I go for walks. But basically I’m inside my head all the time anyway so . . . Pantry’s very well stocked; I cook a lot; I think about what to cook. I’m writing. In fact, I wasn’t thinking about how what I’m doing has this n that in common with Fenéon til I saw your Day. And as you saw and kindly “liked,” I’m doing this dream journal workshop thing, and the first one went very well, I know all about Zoom now, and we raised quite a lot of donation money for this local arts organization that’s hurting because it depends heavily on ticket sales and all events are canceled. So now I’m thinking there’s a lot of similar things I could do online, like teaching but just the fun parts. If I do an open dream sharing group, which is a possibility, I’ll announce here in case anyone wants to join.
    Things are generally ok here; I am concerned for my friends though not inclined really to worry about them; I may have done so much worrying when I was young that I used it up, the same as sex drive, and I guess Freud says it IS the same as sex drive. I get emotional when I think about people my age being refused ventilators in Madrid and other cities. And the psychological wear of having a lunatic for president, raving about his TV ratings and still refusing to take action, it is so much worse than just about anything that’s ever happened here and everyone feels powerless. And people react just as he wants them to, and so far there is no national movement to do anything it takes to remove him.
    The Ed Ruscha drums reminded me of an interview I saw, with Daniel Radcliffe. He was supposed not to have seen the questions and to answer quickly, spontaneously; he was asked for something he was delighted to find Americans saying that the British didn’t, and he immediately replied, “a whole nother thing.” Which is a . . . locution I love, too.
    Your friend Alice Notley can certainly write a poem.
    I will keep thinking of you, managing. Paris sounds worse than DC though not so bad as New York. xo

  14. Those setups for Pedro Reyes’ Disarm and Christian Marclay’s Museum Tinguely Performance are pretty mind-blowing. Love how Open Reel Ensemble’s Tape Tapping sounds borderline electronic as well.
    I’m a nerd as usual but the latest Animal Crossing game allows you to make custom posters and other items through pixel art and I tried my hand at the Permanent Green Light cover, haha. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EUaqpthXgAAvZPr?format=png&name=small

  15. Hey Dennis!

    Hopefully you got my last comment re Inside the Castle ebook PDFs being free for the time being! Wanted to pop in because I had a story at 3AM today that I think/hope you’d enjoy. I was also on the Writing the rapids podcast and that came out today. Here’s that stuff. How are you? How’s Paris with everything going on?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2020 DC's

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑