The blog of author Dennis Cooper




Jeppe Hein Water Flame (2006)
Water Flame is an installation combining two elements usually opposed to each other in a spectactular but nevertheless minimalist way: a small sprinkling fountain with a flame burning on the top. This paradoxical constellation of elements creates an effect of astonishment and wonder.


Sylvie Fleury Gold Fountain PKW (2003)
Gold porcelain, plexiglass plinth, 18 x 62 x 62 cm


Raffaelo Romanelli Untitled (1928)
Outside of the Starbucks in the Plaza of Kansas City is a thoroughly inappropriate fountain called “Boy and Frog.” Why is this fountain inappropriate? If you can’t tell from the picture, it is a naked young boy with his frog. When turned on, the water sprays from the little boy’s peep into the frog’s mouth. It is a little boy peeing in a frog’s mouth! How is that appropriate for public viewing?! I first saw the fountain when my friend Anna came to visit me last year. We went to the Plaza and to look at all high-fashion things we couldn’t afford and be “ladies who lunch.” After lunch we went to get some coffee. That was when we saw it. A boy peeing into a frog’s mouth. We both stared for a while, trying to be sure of what we were seeing. Then I looked around for someone else who was shocked by the fountain, but nothing. People were buying their lattes and going on their way. Apparently public depictions of little boys peeing in the mouths of amphibians is okay in Missouri. It was originally sculpted by Raffaelo Romanelli and was acquired for the Plaza in Florence, Italy in 1928 by John C. Taylor, the chairman of the J.C. Nichols Company. I’m all for artistic expression and extremely opposed to censorship, but I’m struggling to get what the creative merit to this fountain is.


Klaus Weber Public Fountain LSD Hall (2003)
“Public Fountain LSD Hall” is a single room installation by Klaus Weber. In the centre of the installation and the proposed building is a crystal glass fountain. The water running through its innards is spiked with D-Lysergic Acid Diethyamide.




Yoan Capote Tear Duct (2001)
In Tear Duct (2001), he replaced the top of a drinking fountain with a stainless-steel mold of the face of a classmate who had to support herself through prostitution, a prevalent social problem in Cuba at the time. When viewers put a coin in the slot of the fountain, red wine spouts from her mouth. People drinking from the fountain are put physically and psychologically into the position of her customers, watching the wine and their saliva drain through her eyes.


Klaus Weber Sandfountain (2012)
As we move into what has been called the anthropocene age, in which we prove we can do just what we damn well please with the planet, traditional fountains are redundant. That is what makes Klaus Weber’s Sandfountain so timely. It’s a technological swansong which swaps a single water pump for some dozen sandblasting units. The sand will erode the concrete and you can already see the disconcerting way it shifts and cascades.


Charles Ray Ink Line (1987)
Ink Line is a sculpture/drawing/fountain consisting of a stream of jet-black ink pouring from a dime-size hole in the ceiling into a dime-size hole in the floor. Initially Ink Line looks like a strand of yarn strung the height of the gallery, a pulsating Fred Sandback sculpture, a free-floating Barnett Newman zip, or a disembodied Sol LeWitt. Get close and you’ll realize the line is liquid, glimmering, the consistency of syrup, moving fairly fast, fluctuating slightly, and thinner at the bottom than at the top. The ink forms a weird climatological aura around itself, slightly changing the humidity of the room.




Bertrand Lavier Fountain (2014)


Bartosz and Malgorzata Szydlowska Fountain of the Future (2014)
A bright yellow statue of Vladimir Lenin answering a call of nature has been installed in Nowa Huta, the ‘ideal socialist town’ built on the edge of Krakow in the Stalinist era. Fountain of the Future, as the work has been dubbed by artists Bartosz Szydlowski and Malgorzata Szydlowska, references a statue of Lenin that once took pride of place in the district. The diminutive yellow version is a replica of a communist-era work which anti-regime activists tried to blow up on several occasions during the 1970s and 1980s.


Joseph Havel Endless (2013)
Havel has created an “endless column” of books. Endless (2013), made from books cast in bronze and resin, emerges from the centerpiece of the Museum’s lawn, the Ballard Fountain. The column of books, cast from a stack of Sotheby’s auction catalogues among others, stands almost 20 feet high and gradually transitions from bronze to translucent resin.


Aldo Froese Fountain #5 (2010)
A waterflow is directed through the frame of a wheel barrel. As time passes, the water changes color and turns from clear to yellow, orange, red, brown and ends up as almost black.


teamLab Universe of Water Particles under Satellite’s Gravity – Gold (2014)
The fall of water is calculated using physical laws and a waterfall is simulated that is attracted by the satellite’s gravity. The simulated waterfall is then projection-mapped onto a life-size model of satellite ALOS-2. The water is expressed as a continuum of hundreds of thousands of water particles that flow in accordance with computer calculations of particle interaction. The water particles that hit the satellite bounce off and circulate around the satellite until they evaporate. Once an accurate water flow simulation has been constructed, 0.1% of the water particles are selected and lines are drawn in relation to them. The waterfall is expressed as the combination of these lines. Behind these lines exist thousands of water particles, and the curvature of the drawn lines is based on their overall interaction. The waterfall video artwork is created in 3-D space and uses what teamLab calls ultrasubjective space, the logical structure of spatial recognition used in premodern Japan.


Bruce Nauman One Hundred Fish Fountain (2012)
The Nauman sculpture, one of the largest artworks the artist has ever made, is a functional fountain comprised of 97 bronze casts of fish that are suspended throughout the air that noisily shoot water out of their mouths into a large basin below, occasionally coming to a complete halt.


Andrew Salomone Vomiting Doll Punch Bowl Fountain (2015)


English artist Anna Brownsted left 100,000 pennies in an abandoned public fountain in Cambridge, over the weekend, in a bid to explore human nature. The money was all stolen in just one day. The coins were placed in the fountain at Quayside, in Cambridge, at 8 am on Saturday, and were supposed to be left there for 48 hours. However, by 9 am on Sunday, over 99% of the coins had been removed from the fountain, despite clear signs informing passers-by that the fountain was under constant CCTV surveillance. Only £1.66 worth of pennies were left.


Roman Signer Kayak with Fountain (2015)
And out on the terrace there was another bloody kayak – this one had been put on top of a fountain and had a hole put in it so it looked like it had sprung a leak! LOL. ART.


Helmut Smits Street Fountains (2002)
Small water pumps in existing pot-holes in the road surface. When it rains, small fountains appear.


Ice sculpture fountains


Doug Aitken Fountain (earth fountain) (2013)
Fountain (Earth Fountain) (2012) is blatantly derivative of a more famous work. In a large rectangular vitrine the letters “A-R-T”, built from Lucite, ooze smooth creamy mud resembling milk chocolate. It immediately recalls Robert Rauschenberg’s Mud Muse (1971)—itself a large rectangular vat filled with mud rigged to bubble and sputter like lava. The use of the word “ART” here merely underlines one obvious subtext of Rauschenberg’s piece: that something as ubiquitous and abject as mud could so effectively be corralled into the realm of art. This makes Aitken’s rather polished version more like CliffsNotes for a canonical work than anything else.




Tue Greenfort Crystal Fountain (2014)


Guillaume Paris Fountain (1994)
The video is shown on a cubic monitor, placed directly on the floor, in a corner of a room. The central figure (the Pinocchio from the eponymous 1942 Disney feature) is “de-animated” – inanimate – while the water surrounding it flows continuously. A perfect loop simulates the regular movement of water and a linear sound recording (white noise of water flowing) accompanies the image. The schematic drawing (simple shapes, bright colors), combined with the homogeneous and regular sound of the water flowing contrast with the uneasy nature of the subject. The inscription of image and sound within a protracted time frame, with neither beginning nor end, hampers our understanding of the event and freezes the narrative dimension of the scene.


“The San Francisco skyline has been forever changed by the large erect Salesforce tower thrusting up into the heavens. While it is a glorious sight to behold, I think we can make it better!! I propose to install an artistic fountain at the tip of the tower (above the shaft). To conserve water we will build 2 large spherical water tanks at the base of the tower that will collect and recycle the water as it flows down the shaft of the building.”


Santo Tolone Fontana Angelica (2014)
Santo Tolone’s immersive “Fontana Angelica” is a working fountain based on a design by early 20th century architect Piero Portaluppi. As the name hints, the original fountain would have been decorated with angels, but Tolone’s version is stripped down to just the plumbing of the fountain. What remains is a simple, structural beauty. It’s also an exhibition within the exhibition: Tolone curated a display of coins made by other artists in the pool, including works by John Baldessari, Tim Foxon, Nick Fusaro, Ryan Gander, Micah Lexier, Jonathan Monk, M/M, Alek O, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Wilfredo Prieto, Rob Pruitt, Yann Sérandour, Jack Strange, Santo Tolone, Amalia Ulman, and Anne de Vries.


Taro Shinoda Model of Oblivion (2006)
Inside the screens is a small room containing “Model of Oblivion,” in which a visceral red liquid is clinically pumped across “white cliffs,” creating a vision as sinewy as human muscles on a white table. Explaining his approach, Shinoda says: “In my mind, waterfalls are connected to oblivion. When I stare at a waterfall, I go into a daze and forget reality. But the essence of myself is always there, even when I forget everything. I tried to express that here in an abstract sense.”


Daniel Wurtzel Feather Fountain (2010)
Feathers, mirrors, fiberglass and air


Sam Durant Proposal for Public Fountain (2013)
Proposal for Public Fountain centres on a fountain sculpted from black marble – a prototype for a larger installation in a public setting – together with a series of related graphite drawings. The structure features a reproduction of an armoured water cannon, which sprays a jet of water onto a hooded figure bearing an anarchist flag. Its note of polemic is a defining aspect of Durant’s art. Poised between detached commentary and acerbic critique, it recasts a contemporary episode of state authoritarianism in the ‘stately’ aesthetics of public stonework.


Slavs and Tatars Reverse Joy (2012)




Olafur Eliasson Big Bang Fountain (2014)
Every few seconds it is illuminated by photoflash lightning. The image of the bright dancing water leaves a ghostly impression in the mind’s eye. Keep watching the flashes of silver water and you see blue impossible forms in the afterglow.


Robert Gober The Heart Is Not a Metaphor (detail)
Gober’s chapel in honor of September 11, 2001, originally shown at Matthew Marks in 2005, is one of the culminating rooms in the exhibition. At the front of the chapel are two doors through which one can barely make out a naked pair of legs submerged in a running bathtub. The child peeks through the cracked door and sees something it cannot understand—something it is, perhaps, not supposed to see.


Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon Huh (2012)
Toilet, stell, water, 68 X 36 1/4 X 47 1/4 inches


Unknown Decapitated Head Drinking Fountain


Vincent Houze Interactive Fountain Mapping (2016)
The result of a collaboration with AV&C;, an experiment where one can control a simulated liquid flow and watch it splash against a geometric sculpture. It was premiered during SEGD Xlab conference 2015 in New York. As in previous experiments the liquid simulation is driven by the nVidia library Physx FleX that I implemented in TouchDesigner, which is used for the mapping and overall set up.




Dan Flavin proposed fountain in memory of Pablo Picasso (1974)
Black ballpoint pen on white looseleaf notebook paper


Thiago Rocha Pitta Inverted fountain (2003)
Thiago Rocha Pitta is best known for his “collaborations” with nature, outdoor interventions that harness its forces, processes, and beauty. Here he has created an inverted fountain by the side of a lake.


Hany Armanious Fountain (2012)
Fountain (2012) is based on an anatomical model of the inner ear and a weathered outdoor table. Meticulously carved in Opal Bianca marble at ten times the model’s original size, the ear is a complex and mysterious form, containing transparent resin casts of the ear drum and cochlear. Instead of running water Fountain evokes the idea of water, through its references to the fluid of the ear canal, the undulating contours of the marble, and the translucent resin shapes that sit like droplets of liquid trapped inside the ear.


The world largest dancing fountains, Burj Khalifa




James Grashow The Cardboard Bernini (2012)
James Grashow is an artist who has built—among many other things—giant 15 foot tall fighting men, a city and an ocean using paper mache, fabric, chicken wire and cardboard. Several years ago, while visiting the home of his art dealer, he stumbled across some of his giant fighting men that had been put outside due to lack of space. They were disintegrating. Although it was deeply painful and shocking for him to see his work like that, it was also surprisingly beautiful. He felt that he was seeing the full arc of his artistic enterprise before him—including its end. So, Grashow challenged himself to embrace the “backend” of his process, and decided to build a giant cardboard fountain—a Grashow “Bernini.” From its conception, he intended this work to be put outside to disintegrate. Work on the fountain began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. Grashow installed the fountain outdoors at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT on April 1, 2012. It was there for a total of six weeks, after which time Grashow took his degraded cardboard masterpiece to the dumpster.


Denis Adrien Debouvrie Jeanneke Pis (1987)
Jeanneke Pis is a modern fountain and statue in Brussels, which was intended to form a counterpoint to the city’s Manneken Pis, south of the Grand Place. It was commissioned by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985 and erected in 1987. The half-metre-high statue of blue-grey limestone depicts a little girl with her hair in short pigtails, squatting and urinating. It is located on the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang (Fidelity Alley), a narrow cul-de-sac some 30 metres long leading northwards off the restaurant-packed Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat. The sculpture is now protected by iron bars from vandalism.


José Lerma Fountain (2014)
‘A Critical Analysis of Central Banks and Fractional-Reserve Banking from Austrian School Perspective,’ an installation that takes form in the shape of a 10% fraction of a circular fountain which is flanked by mirrored walls. An essay by Spanish economist Jesus Huerta de Soto, from the Austrian School, serves as the inspiration for the work and title. The percentage reflects the minimum requirement of liquid assets the United States’ financial institutions are required to hold by law in order to operate. ‘A Critical Analysis…’ presents a contrast to the interaction the portraits have with each others’ reflections, instead of borrowing from the impressions of each piece to build on the final compositions, the fountain completes itself through the illusion of a whole in the mirrors, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. The installation is activated through performance in which water sounds are made by participants standing within the structure as sculptural elements of the fountain itself.




p.s. Hey. Earlyish tomorrow morning I fly to Porto for a screening of PERMANENT GREEN LIGHT at a film festival there, so tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday there’ll be posts but no p.s.es, and I’ll be back on Monday to catch up with everyone about everything. ** H, Thanks, h! I feel just fine, thank you. Busy, me too. Ace your busyness, and I’ll try to do the same. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. Any updated thoughts on ‘Running on Empty’? Hope all is great with you. ** Chris Cochrane, Howdy, Chris! Miss you, man! I’m pretty good, thanks. Fantastic about the new duo and about the wealth of upcoming bands there. Definitely, if you don’t mind, spread some names as I’d love to investigate that stuff. So sucks about the bad sound quality of the THEM shoot. Oh, Christ. What’s the plan re: salvaging it or not? Glad your tooth is righted. I just had one that had been broken into a shard years ago by a tortilla chip, just as yours was, weirdly enough, yanked out of my mouth, so now my mouth-cave had a new hiding place. The TV script is moseying along. It’ll get there. It’s not huge fun to work on, but finessing it is not without some imagination-based sparkles. New film: just finishing up docs needed for funding submissions. We’ve already gotten a nice little initial grant input, so we’re on our way. New novel has to wait until the TV script is finished and submitted, I suspect. If I can sneak in some spare brain power in the meantime, I will. Lots of love to you, and I guarantee some from Zac without even proposing that he exude some your way yet. ** Tosh Berman, Many thanks, Tosh! He’s just up the road from you teaching at Cal Arts. ** Steve Erickson, I do like the first Queen album. When I lived in NYC in the early 80s, I used to see Freddie Mercury at this gay bar on Greenwich Avenue every time I went in there. Two people I know who’ve seen ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ say the actor’s performance is good but the thing itself is meh standard fare. Dexter Fletcher isn’t the same fella who starred as Caravaggio in the Jarman film, is he? The influx/wave of Euro films incl. Fellini, Bergman, Truffaut, et. al. happened in the mid-late 60s. I was talking about before that, early 60s, when I was even younger. ** _Black_Acrylic, I’m very glad Klahr’s work snuck into you. Insomnia’s the worst, so sorry. I hope the end of the treatment gets the sheep leaping over your head again. Congrats on the win, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the new Noe. I liked it and thought it was a fair amount of fun. ** Misanthrope, I am? Too bad I’m not working on my novel. Like I told Steve, word amongst those I know who’ve seen ‘BR’ suggest you should enjoy the guy’s performance and not expect too much from its surroundings. Dude, doing movie-going favors for some in return is totally legit. It’s just one of the mysterious ways love works or something. ** Bill, Hi. Ha ha, absolutely do not schedule a Paris visit around Nuit Blanche, although it’s always a generally lovely, cool, crisp time of year here. Yeah, Toop seems to playing all over the place, with Thurston Moore in some locales oddly enough. I hope you get to get out there and eat some live noise this weekend. ** Right. I decided to let or make you deal with fountains today. Please use them to refresh. As stated up north, the blog will see you tomorrow, and I’ll see you again come Monday. Have very fine long weekends!


  1. Dennis you forgot Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain

    also Fountains of Wayne

    River told me the scene where he confesses to Martha Plimpton was “a coming out scene”

  2. This is a charming and sparkling kind of collection, Dennis. I love that Exorcist vomiting fountain. One of my best Toys ‘r’ Us finds was a tiny Exorcist vomiting doll, with a spinning head and spewing green foam. It’s not coming up on google, so maybe I hallucinated it.

    Watched Season 3 of Nick Antosca’s Channel Zero horror series. This one probably relies more on standard horror tropes than the first two seasons, but is still worth catching. There’s some very nice visual design, and we get to watch Rutger Hauer do his thing.

    Have a great Porto trip!


  3. Nice to see Sam Durant hoisting the black Anarchist flag by that public fountain. Here at the DCA right now we have shots of Santiago Sierra planting the symbol at the North and South Poles and it’s an inspiring sight to behold.

    I saw Noe’s Climax today with Alex at the cinema and yeah, we both really enjoyed it. A lean cut, no fat or sinew whatsoever and the soundtrack was nicely chosen… in fact I listened to it back on Spotify after coming home to revisit the thrills. Happy to see all the universal props the film’s been getting, and for such an uncompromising piece of work too.

  4. Hey Dennis,
    I don’t know if you’ll see this before you go, but I just popped in to wish you the bonnest of voyages. Hope those Portuguese dig your movie and the trip’s a top one.
    As a lover of fountains who wishes there were more operational ones around this post pleases me no end, thanks. But holy shit, Charles Ray’s Ink Line is astounding!! Wtf?! That’s like one of my favourite pieces I’ve ever seen.
    May your trip be one that you think fondly about for ever more.
    Fortified love,

  5. I knew that Dexter Fletcher is both an actor and director – he’s currently in production on an Elton John biopic – but you inspired me to look up his Wikipedia page and he did indeed play the young Caravaggio in Jarman’s film. He’s now in his early 50s.

    I hope things go well at Porto. Portugal seems to have one of the liveliest film cultures in Europe right now, at least judging from the movies the country produces.

  6. Dennis! Dexter Fletcher, I believe, was in The Rachel Papers. Strangely cute to me in that.

    Ah, that’s what I’m kind of expecting re: BR. There’s already controversy because they’ve supposedly really downplayed the gay bit, making him out to be a straight guy with a dalliance or two. Obviously not. But I’ll have to see it. Frankly, the guy playing him, I don’t like his eyes, hahaha. Too buggy for me or something. But I’ll go in with an open mind.

    Yeah, not a bad tradeoff, eh? I’m making them all go see Beautiful Boy soon, though most of them want to see that. From what I’ve read so far, BB is the same as BR: amazing performance from Timmy Chalamet but the rest…bleh. I just want to see him do his thing.

    He’s supposedly dating Johnny Depp’s daughter. They met on the King Henry set. Soooooo boring, that. Ugh. Don’t be normal, Timmy!

    I”m reading The Crying of Lot 49 right now. So far, so good.

    And the novel’s coming along.

    I enjoyed the rather minor fountains in Hyde Park my last day in London. Saw a swan and a crane and little Asian boy running around. It was really cool and breezy but the breeze wasn’t chilly, just made the coolness cooler and in the good way.

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