The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Nick Alm Drinking Sisters (2014)
‘Nick Alm was born 1985 in Eksjö, Sweden. In 2007 he entered the Florence Academy of Art, where he also held a position as teaching assistant. After graduating in 2010, he received a scholarship to join The Hudson River Fellowship. The following year, he studied with the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum in Norway and in France before returning to Sweden. At present he has his studio in Stockholm.’


William S. Burroughs Drunk Cop (1993)
‘felt pen and gun shots on paper’


Cyprien Gaillard The Recovery of Discovery (2011)
‘Those are cases of beer in bottles. Considering Germany is the home of Oktoberfest, I am not surprised this passes for art. The artist is Cyprien Gaillard and his piece was meant to illustrate the point “Preserving a monument goes hand in hand with destroying it.” The most important bit for fans of the brewski may well be this; the pyramid was made from cases of Efes beer in bottles that was imported from Turkey. The boxes formed the steps of the pyramid and people at the museum were cut loose to climb the pyramid and open the boxes, then get hammered. From the after shots in the gallery, it looks like they did a very good job.’


Luca Giovagnoli Drunk Woman (2019)
‘oil on canvas’


Rare Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001)
‘The morning after a night of binge drinking, Conker awakens to find himself in an unfamiliar land with a terrible hangover. Having no other choice, he begins a long journey with the goal of returning home to his girlfriend, Berri. While he is trying to get home, he also must avoid the minions of the evil Panther King, who wishes to use Conker as a side table leg; his right-hand man and the mad-scientist, Professor von Kriplespac, is tired of being bossed around by the Panther King and plots his vengeance. Along the way, Conker finds himself in a variety of situations, including having to recover a bee hive from Wayne and the Wankas, confronting an opera-singing pile of feces, being turned into a bat by a vampire, and even getting drafted into a war between the SHC and a Nazi-like race of teddy bears simply known as the Tediz.’


Nicole Eisenman Drunk Girl (2019)
‘Paper pulp drawing’


Banks Violette Not Yet Titled (broken beer bottle) (2005)
‘aluminum, wood, tinted epoxy, salt and polyurethane’


Phil Penman Drunk in Midtown, New York (2018)
‘Silver Gelatin Print’


Albert Maignan Green Muse (1895)
‘In France absinthe became called “La Fée Verte”, meaning “The Green Fairy” and this is how it is presented here: as a femme fatale, a fairy who drives a man into a hypnotic state. I imagine that during the happy hours in bars, which came to be called “L’Heure Verte”, meaning “The Green Hour”, there were many such men.’


Anastasia Klose The Re-Living Room (2012)
‘She is known for her lo-fi aesthetics with her use of iMovie editing software, generic fonts for text-based work and found objects such as cardboard or handwritten signage. The artist has also professed to drawing on the concepts of humiliation and embarrassment and has such her work has been likened to the antics of comedians such as Sacha Baron Cohen and the cast of Jackass. In 2005, Klose filmed a video of herself engaging in sexual intercourse with a fellow art student in a disabled toilet at the VCA entitled In the toilets with Ben, and later the same year filmed Mum and I watch in the toilets with Ben, where Klose and her mother viewed the former video together sitting on a couch.’


James Hopkins Balanced Beer Table (2002)
‘Wood, lager and glass’


David Claerbout KING (after Alfred Wertheimer’s 1956 portrait of a young man named Elvis Presley) (2015)
‘Silent, black and white projection, based on a photograph in a book that marks the transition from ordinary life to superstardom of Elvis Presley, then aged 21. That week in 1956, Wertheimer portrayed a young man who generously returns every shot the camera takes with an incredible calm, allowing the photographer to come very close and feel at ease with a ‘body’ that will soon transition from casual to monumental.’


Tom Burr drunk emily (2014)
‘The title of the exhibition, “drunk emily”, is a direct reference to Emily Dickinson, a sublime poet and fetish character, who has become a mainstay for the artist. Now viewed as one of pop figures of American culture, Emily Dickinson spent most of her life in her room on the top floor of her father’s home, isolated from the society of which she was nevertheless an acute observer. For her, fantasy and imagination were the true means for acquiring an understanding of reality, and a way of conveying happiness.’


Cosima Von Bonin Drunk Octopus Wants to Fight (2016)
‘B/W digital Photograph 16 1/2″ x 21 1/4″ edition of 70’


Peter De Cupere DRUNKEN (2013)
‘In the performance ’Drunken’ one sees the artist as a loner sitting at a table. After drinking the red wine, he opens two drawers of the table. The latter are positioned opposite one another and as such create the shape of a ‘cross’ together with the table. By opening the drawers one sees that a part of the surface of the table also opens up and a space filled with red wine becomes visible. He fills his glass again from this sea of red wine, drinks and crawls into the table, laying himself down in the wine. Waiting on a state of complete drunkenness, not just orally, but physically sucking up the red alcohol into his body. Afterwards he crawls back out of the table and lets his behaviour and stature be determined by the influence of his being drunk. The artist finishes back at the table where he started.’


Peter Paul Rubens Drunken Silenus (c1620)
‘Rubens had learned a lesson that Nietzsche was never quite able to get through his head. It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter where you do it, where you live out your life. If the shit inside is solid then it will never matter. Alas, as we’ve already noted, the shit inside Nietzsche was anything but solid. It was runny.’


Jen Schwarting Image Search (Drunk Girls) (2012)
‘I do choose photographs that appear to be one moment captured from a larger narrative. Something has clearly happened prior to the moment the picture was taken, and because most of the women are unconscious—but the photographer is necessarily present—there is something foreboding, like the potential for a dangerous aftermath. The thought or threat of rape, or some equally horrifying outcome, is apparent in some of the pictures. I like the word “still” because of its connection to narrative, and to Cindy Sherman, who is a big influence. I think a difference is that Sherman’s [Untitled] Film Stills and early centerfold images implied a constructed narrative, pointing to representations of women in film and advertising. I am going for something similar in terms of stereotypes, appropriation, and representation, but it is complicated by the fact that the photographs I’m using allegedly depict real girls, and further, that their images are being used without permission.’


Maya Stovall Liquor Store Theatre (2017)
‘History reverberates in the present; the effects of white supremacy are felt by Black Americans each day with the immediacy of a neon sign glowing in a store window. Such windows are found at liquor stores across Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt neighborhood, where the artist lived and worked from 2012 and 2018. These liquor stores form the focus of Stovall’s “Liquor Store Theatre” project, a six year-long artistic and ethnographic study of McDougall-Hunt, which unfolds across a series of thirty videos, featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

‘For each video, Stovall staged an unannounced, choreographed dance performance at the site of a local liquor store, and after dancing, interviewed members of her impromptu audience about their views on the neighborhood, their city, and its future. Scenes of these interviews and performances are cut together in the videos, the voices of Stovall and residents mingling with the dance’s ambient techno score, Detroit-style electronica. The interviews their reflect an intense awareness of Detroit’s binary representation in American media: either a dead metropolis, or a city on the comeback. In “Liquor Store Theatre,” Detroiters return the nation’s speculative gaze, contradicting assumptions and dispelling popular myths.’


Kathy Acker Spread Wide (1982)
‘Raw materials from when Acker was writing Great Expectations and trying to leave America for London.’


PIEK! Beer and Piss (2000)
‘A wall of 4 meter long, 2.75 meter high and 0.7 meter deep, was covered with blue tiles. On one of the long sides were hanging two urinals. On the other side, at ‘penis’ height, two beerhoses were mounted on the wall were you could pull yourself a ‘pislauw’ (the temperature of piss) glass of beer. By climbing the stairs it was possible to look in the installation. In the wall were 5 monitors and a beamer lying on the ground with the PIEK! and Niggendijkers in piss video-loops on them.’


Tracey Emin Drunk to the Bottom of my Soul (2002)
‘appliqué blanket 76 3/8 x 63in.’


Ed Ruscha Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966)
‘In the 1960s, Ed Ruscha more or less reinvented the artist’s book. By turning away from the craftsmanship and luxury status that typified the livre d’artiste in favor of the artistic idea or concept, expressed simply through photographs and text, Ruscha opened the genre to the possibilities of mass-production and distribution. The 25-foot length of the accordion-folded Every Building on the Sunset Strip affords the viewer two continuous photographic views of the mile and a half section of this landmark stretch of Sunset, one for each side of one of the city’s landmark thoroughfare.’


Gilbert & George Drinking Pieces & Video Sculpture (1972-73)
‘Not as stridently provocative as their later, more celebrated works (or silly, depending on your point of view), G&G’s portrait (or “drinking sculpture”, as they call it) shows “the evening before the morning after”. Consisting of 114 photographs, deliberately amateurish, it represents an evening drinking at the Balls Brothers bar in London’s East End. The artists, hitherto teetotal or nearly so, took up drinking for the sake of their art, or as a project within it, so they could understand, from an artistic point of view, the sensation of drunkenness.’


William Hogarth A Midnight Modern Conversation (c. 1732)
‘William ‘Hogarth’s A Midnight Modern Conversation is perhaps the most misunderstood of the artist’s works. It rapidly became a preferred image for reproduction on punchbowls and tankards produced in England and Holland, as well as in Meissen for the Saxon court, all of which contributed to the idea that Hogarth was celebrating drunkenness and its effects. The print was also taken to mean that Hogarth was himself a hearty drinker who relished drunken companionship and promoted it in his art. This went along with the idea, developed in the late 18th century by his biographers, that he was a true man of the people who despised his social superiors, whose pretentious behavior was the main subject of his satirical art.

‘But a closer look tells a more complex story. While some of the participants seem to be having a good time, some are definitely not. The “politician” on the far right carelessly sets his sleeve on fire as he lights his pipe—with potentially horrific consequences. In the foreground, a wigless man has fallen off his chair and is spread-eagled on the ground, having smashed a bottle as he went, while an unsteady and unseeing drunk empties a bottle of wine on his head. A clergyman absorbed in his tobacco is toasted by another drunk who puts his own wig on the clergyman’s head. A man to the clergyman’s left is clearly ill and probably about to vomit, and the floor is littered with discarded food and broken pipes. The whole scene is a picture of disorder and of the consequences of excessive consumption of both alcohol and tobacco.’


Walt Disney Studios How to be a Detective (1952)
‘Goofy is hired to solve a mystery of a missing “Al.” He searches the city for clues, but constantly runs into a city sheriff (who is portrayed by Pete) who tells him to let the police handle it. A car chase occurs and the drivers ram into a haystack. It turns out that Al is actually the city sheriff who is supposed to get married to the woman who hires Goofy to find him.’


dimitri Very Drunk Boy (2005)


Gillian Wearing Drunk (1997–99)
‘Wearing’s plan—to cultivate a bunch of skid-row types over a period of years, give them the run of her studio, and film the proceedings—sounds like a recipe for disaster, not only for practical and aesthetic reasons but on ethical grounds as well. Yet the artist’s formal rigor makes the work a minimalist masterpiece: at once somnolent and keyed up, like its subjects—a cross between Andy Warhol and Samuel Beckett, if such a hybrid were possible.’




p.s. Hey. ** Ian, Hi, Ian. Awesome, really glad the post/work hit home with you, and thanks a lot for saying so. Hope you’re doing as great as everything will allow. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Oh, quite simply, I think up until it shifts to the ‘health center’ location, ‘Safe’ is excellent. At that point, for me, it becomes clunky and obvious and kind of negates what I’d liked about the film up to that point. But I have issues with most of his films. I find them over-calculated and stiff. The only films of his I like unreservedly are ‘Superstar’ and ‘Velvet Goldmine’, and possibly ‘I am Not There’, but I need to watch it again. Otherwise his films just aren’t my cup tea. *shrug* Shit happens. ** Dominik, Morning (?), D! Sorry about your love, I couldn’t help myself. Love that you suddenly figure out will become your TPE eternal slave if you click on the third button down from the neck of his shirt like it’s a link, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. It is strange that book hasn’t been reprinted given the billions of art books that constantly get published. Gee, there must be five hundred Raymond Pettibon books alone. ** Bex Peyton, Howdy, Bex. Thanks, yeah, me too, obviously. Nice comparison with Shaye Saint John. Huh, yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. Telling pairing. Those shitty scans saved us! Have a superb today! ** politekid, Hey hey, Oscar. It and she were a really fine meld. And it’s not easy to meld a complicated text with another’s voice. Been there. No one has ever been able to record their own version of a Randy Newman song without dumbing down and neutering it, for example. Anyway, yours was a successful depths/surface marriage. I like mash-up titles. A bunch of my stuff’s titles are just lifts from Guided by Voices lyrics. I didn’t know Placecloud. It looks very fruitful. I’ve marked it and will scour. If you remember, let us/me know when yours go up, that’d be cool, or I’ll try to keep my eye out. Right, gotcha, about Captain Tom. This is maybe kind of weird to say, but there are things that just seem so British that they exude a kind of generalised British charm offensive that I feel like I can’t parse, not being British, and I think Captain Tom did that for me. The curfew sucks! I don’t know if it’s working, but our numbers are holding steady, partly because of it, I guess (?), and it’s better than the very serious lockdowns that France likes to impose. I have encountered Dorothea Tanning’s Room 202, yes, and I agree, I think you’re absolutely right now that you say that. Smart. I hope your today is a windfall. ** Bill, What a power couple: him and Unica Zurn. I’ll see if ‘The Transfiguration’ is on one of my illegal sites. Might well be. Zooming/schooling going okay, etc.? ** Steve Erickson, Obviously interested in the Elisa Lam doc series, but also very wary. Yeah its interesting: back when I was doing journalism a lot, I never even thought about asking artists about their politics, and there was zero pressure to do that. I tried the new The Weather Station album. It might be a grower, although I don’t think it’s anywhere near Destroyer level. KAWS, yeah. He’s awful, bottom of the barrel awful. I don’t think there’s anything going on in that work at all. Art world people I know are often talking about how absurd it is that collectors are forking out hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars for his crap as an investment when it’s guaranteed to have future nonentity status. Weird phenomenon, fascinating but kind of depressing too. ** Brian O’Connell, Hi, Brian. Glad you dug his stuff. ‘Pink Narcissus’ is singular and pretty cool at the very least. I know the title ‘Malcolm & Marie’, but that’s it, and I’ll keep it that way, thanks for the warning. Purdy’s higher reputation over here makes one wonder if his work translates into foreign languages especially well or something, and, if so, why. It’s like how hugely influential Edgar Allan Poe was on great writers in France, apparently having a ton to do with the fact that Charles Baudelaire did the French translation and supposedly made him seem like a much greater stylist than he was. I wonder if anyone watches ‘M’ not for a class. The two times I saw it were for a high school and then college class. Not to say it’s not great. My day … I got closer to finishing an assigned writing thing that’s due soon, and that was enough to make it a solid day. Did your Thursday earn its keep? ** Okay. Today the blog is giving you a bunch of imaginary drinking buddies in effect. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Looks like we’ll have to “agree to disagree” about Tod I have always felt exceptionall close to him and if I weren’t already married I’d propose in a nanosecond.
    Regarding today, it’s a shame that “Drunk” isn’t up on YouTube. One of Andy’s most interestng but most obscure films it stars his good friend Emile de Antonio. “De” as Andy called him , was given a bottle of scotch and goes o it with brio . Hre’s “De” talking about Andy and the FBI

    One of the best films ever made about alcololism is “A HREF=””>?Betty” by Caude Chabrolwith Stephane Audran (long after they were divirced) and the beautiful, doomed Marie Trintignant

    The other great one is Barfly. Barbet’s film of a screenplay Bukowski wrote especially for him with Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke.

  2. _Black_Acrylic

    Before I ever moved up Northwards to Scotland I was taught at Leeds College of Art and Design, and the staff there formed a collective callled Leeds United who would exhibit the wine-stained tablecloths from their openings as a kind of morning-after performance relic. Back then in the 90s YBA era, such drunken bad behaviour was very much rife.

  3. Tosh Berman

    I really love the Drunks blog today. I’m a big fan of being ‘buzzed,’ not totally drunk. In my 60 something years of life, I have been seriously drunk maybe three or four times. The ‘drunk’ times were not good as far I remember, and I choose not to remember because they were embarrassing. ‘Buzz’ times, always good! The Gilbert and George drinking pieces always had a pull for me. There is something very simple yet complex about getting soused in a pub or bar. On the other hand, I can never get over the thought that Bill Burroughs shot his perfectly interesting wife in such a manner. His love of guns after the fact is disturbing to me. I can read his works, but the taste of that incident is something I never forget.

  4. Dominik


    Thank you for today’s post; I really enjoyed it. I especially liked Kathy Acker’s piece – such neat chaos. And of course, poor “very drunk boy…”

    Mmmm, such a nice and creative love! So this is the moment when I start pushing the buttons on every sweet, young boy’s shirt in hopes that I find the magic link, haha. Love looking (and sounding!) exactly like Bimini Bon-Boulash, with whom I’m currently obsessed with beyond words, Od.

  5. Bill

    That Drunk Boy, ha. And the drunk octopus! It’s been a manageable week, but I do need a drink tonight.

    I also thought of Bellmer’s doll when I saw some of Tanning’s figures.

    Did I mention I stayed at a KAWS-themed airbnb a couple years ago? No, it wouldn’t have been my choice.


  6. Alexandrine Ogundimu

    As someone who has spent a lot of time drinking alone the Drunk Emily piece is particularly resonant. The disarray of your living space comes to reflect the consumption just as much as your status of perpetual drunkenness. Cant help but think of Dickinson tripping over her skirts, scribbling two lines on some scrap paper before stumbling to a random bottle on a side table. I’d miss it if it wasn’t so painful to recall.

  7. Steve Erickson

    A KAWS-themed Air BnB? What a great horror movie setting! I can picture those X’d eyes coming to life as the characters try and figure out whether or not it’s haunted by the spirit of a dead CEO who paid $10 million for KAWS-related merch. Jeff Koons’ sculpture of himself and Ciccolina having sex would make a cameo in a nightmare.

    RIP Chick Corea. The piano/vibes duo albums he made with Gary Burton are fantastic.

    This has gradually changed over the years, as “sober January” and other such trends have become hip, but for a long time I was uncomfortable telling people I didn’t know well that I don’t drink because they often jumped to the conclusion I must be a recovering alcoholic. For some people, the notion that you don’t even drink occasionally without having a problem with alcohol is very strange.

    Unfortunately, Joe Berliner, who directed the Lam series, has turned into just another Netflix true crime director.

  8. Brian O’Connell

    Hey, Dennis,

    Delightful collection of boozers to get soused with today. Only I don’t drink, oddly. It’s not a moralistic stance, nor is it that I haven’t had an opportunity, I just have no desire to, for some reason. Didn’t at all subtract from my enjoyment of today’s wonderful menagerie, of course.

    Yeah, “singular” is definitely the word for “Pink Narcissus”. I don’t know, despite the kitschiness and silliness, there’s a real artistry to it, just visually I mean, that feels so lacking in “gay film” (ugh) today. I’m maybe going to try and go down a rabbit hole of arthouse gay porn this week, as a mini-project; at the top of the list are “Un Chant d’Amour” and “Equation to an Unknown”. I’ll see if I can turn anything else up. Yes, stay far, far away from “Malcolm & Marie”; it’s like getting lectured at by an angsty, half-drunk freshman film student for almost two hours. I watched it to laugh at it, in which respect it was inadvertently very successful.

    That’s a very interesting insight re: translation. You’re probably right. The Poe comparison makes sense (I’ve cherished his work since I was young, but I can certainly imagine Baudelaire would go a long way toward improving his style). I don’t know, the language of “Narrow Rooms” has a sort of peculiar texture to it that might resonate more in Europe—but I don’t know, I’m not really qualified to talk about this sort of stuff. I know a lot of his most vocal supporters were British, though, which the language shift wouldn’t account for.

    I’m glad yesterday was solid enough for you. Today was draining for me because of work; I did really enjoy discussing “M” in class, though, so that was nice. And, “Eustace Chisholm” arrived in the mail, and yay, I have a long weekend—tomorrow and Monday off. So all of that’s something. I’ll get some rest, at least. Did your Thursday prove refreshing or rewarding in any way?

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