The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … The Halloween Show *

* (Halloween countdown post #6)


Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe & Jennifer Herrema
Sarah Sitkin
Peter Caine
Dora Budor
Anna Orlikowska
Tracey Snelling
Sarah Best
Sun Yuan And Peng Yu
Alex Da Corte
Chloe Piene
Cameron Jamie
Gabríela Friðriksdóttir
Gary Hill
Marianna Simnett
Francesco Albano
Ben Goossens
Monica Cook
Thackery Medical Museum
Wang Qingsong
Agnieszka Polska


Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook The Class, Death Seminar (2005)
In “The Class, Death Seminar”, lifeless bodies obtained from a morgue are the students. The teacher is artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook who stands in front of a blackboard, at times lecturing on the topic of death, and at times engaging a conversation with these students. Together teacher and students re-examine attitudes towards death andpuzzle over the life-after-death conundrum.


Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe & Jennifer Herrema Scenario in the Shade (2015)
It could be said that Freeman and Lowe kind of pioneered the current wave of creepy immersive installations with their very disturbing 2008 project “Hello Meth Lab in the Sun.” Their latest effort, “Scenario in the Shade” imagines a massive, slightly dystopian arts festival stretching between San Francisco and San Diego, and is infused throughout with paranoia and fear.


Sarah Sitkin Bodysuits (2018)
Through this collection -which accurately reproduces histories of anonymous lives, with their scars and the passage of time- the Los Angeles-based sculptress seeks to create the opportunity to inhabit other bodies to reflect on their real importance. A way of understanding the material that makes us an “habit” – the clothes that you can never take off, but you can learn to see beyond-.


Peter Caine Overseer (2005)
Even a decade later, Caine’s twisted snowscape populated by animatronic yetis with evil glowing eyes is still more than capable of haunting our sleepless nights. Wandering into the hellish scene was a totally surreal experience reminiscent of the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special on acid.


Dora Budor Adaptation Of An Instrument (2016)
Steel, plywood, perforated aluminum, acrylic sheets, vinyl welding screen, vinyl- and urethane-coated laminate flooring, vinyl strip doors with mounting hardware, LEDs, motion-sensitive computer system, hardware, polyurethane foam inserts, hot-rolled steel panels with patina, protective wax, urethane resin, dye, amphibian props used in the film Magnolia (1999)


Anna Orlikowska Terminal Game (2007)
Anna Orlikowska brings mediaeval allegory into the 21st century, or rather a computer game. There is no death in virtual reality – players usually have several lives and even if they do die, they can always restart the game. Terminal Game bucks that trend, reminding us that transience can also be present in imaginary world. In her video, this multimedia artist uses a theme familiar from the series of 16th-century woodcuts by Hans Holbein. His Death character is an ambiguous figure who wears a variety of masks: he can be a jester or an intellectual; he can be dramatic, yet full of vigour; he pretends to be a friend, then turns into an enemy. Both representations are connected by the inevitability of our transience and our equality in the face of death.


Tracey Snelling Famous Horror Film Houses (2013)
Sculptor Tracey Snelling’s miniature horror world is, indeed, the antithesis of paradise. Featuring houses from The Birds (1963), Halloween (1978), The Amityville Horror (1979) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the Oakland native calls the art installation “a homage to the horror film.”


Sarah Best Various (2012 – 2014)
Looking at Sarah Best‘s sculpture makes me think about the 1978 Hustler cover where a woman is being put through a meat grinder, next to a Larry Flynt quote stating “we will no longer hang women up like pieces of meat,” or the Cattle Baron poster showing the “choice cuts” on a naked woman. That is what Sarah Best is doing, juxtaposing dismembered female limbs and butcher’s hooks, some in white plaster, others painted like the gruesome, hacked off body parts they are.


Sun Yuan and Peng Yu Can’t Help Myself (2016)
‘In this work, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu employ an industrial robot, visual-recognition sensors, and software systems. Placed behind clear acrylic walls, their robot has one specific duty, to contain a viscous, deep-red liquid within a predetermined area. When the sensors detect that the fluid has strayed too far, the arm frenetically shovels it back into place, leaving smudges on the ground and splashes on the surrounding walls.


Alex Da Corte Die Hexe (2015)
This site-specific installation, titled Die Hexe, which literally means “the witch,” transformed Luxembourg and Dayan’s Upper East Side townhouse into a ghostly dollhouse, each room featuring wildly different decor, from gothic velvet-coverings to mod mirrored walls. One particularly unsettling section featured a morgue, replete with cadaver drawers.


Chloe Piene Blackmouth (2004)
Chloe Piene is a fine artist known for her skeletal and morbid imagery.


AES+F Last Riot (2005 – 2007)
The virtual world generated by the real world of the twentieth century is growing exponentially, like an organism in a Petri dish. Crossing its own borders in to new zones, it absorbs its founders and mutates in to something absolutely new. In this new world real wars look like a game on Prison torture appears more like the sadistic exercises of modern-day valkyries. Technologies and materials transform the artificial environment in to a fantasy landscape of a new epoch. This paradise is a mutated world where time is frozen and the past is neighbor to the future. Its inhabitants are devoid of gender, becoming more like angels. This is a world where the severe, the vague or the erotic imagination appears natural in the artificial unsteadiness of 3D perspective. The heroes of the new epoch have only one identity, that of participants in the last riot. Each fights both self and the other, there’s no longer any difference between victim and aggressor, male and female. This world celebrates the end of ideology, history and ethics.



Cameron Jamie Masks (2019)


Gabríela Fridriksdóttir Tetralogia North (2005)
Gabríela focuses, like the surrealists, on the spontaneous, but with the proviso that the spontaneity grows from the seed of the forefathers. She takes arms against rationalism, and bends the rules to her will. She seeks answers in what happens between waking and sleeping, the objective and subjective, or in the tension between the mind and the material world. She entangles the observer in her web of symbols, thus activating the web.



Gary Hill Tall Ships (1992)
Gary Hill created “Tall Ships” in 1992 in which he projected grayscale images of people on to the wall of a dark corridor. The feeling of the piece is one part “Twilight Zone” and one part “Strangers in a Dark Alley”. The people in the images move and appear to try to interact with the viewers. A girl runs forward towards the viewer, an old man glares at the viewer. The overall feeling is that the viewer is looking into the spirit world, and likewise the spirits are looking back.


Marianna Simnett The Needle & The Larynx (2018)
In The Needle & The Larynx, artist Marianna Simnett is in the hands of a surgeon who injects her larynx with Botox, a procedure usually undergone by young men wishing their voices to be lower. Shot in excruciating slow motion, the surgeon’s needle enters, probes, then withdraws from her throat. A hypnotic soundtrack whirls through a surgical description of the procedure, a pop song about Botox, and a confession of the artist, spoken in her newly deepened voice.


Francesco Albano Various (2017)
The Turkish sculptor Francesco Albano has dedicated his creative energy to really grotesque and marvelous realistic sculptures of human bodies melting, hanging, dripping down or being distorted in wicked and horrific ways. In his most recent solo exhibition, called “On The Eve,” the artist presented his new sculptures. They seem like creatures, not necessarily of human descent, had shed their skin and run away. The draped boneless skin bags, without faces or any other signs of identity, create a truly unsettling view.


Ben Goossens Lucid Liquid (2014)
video with 8-channel sound installation. Duration 25:00



Monica Cook Volley (2012)
The animation video is projected in the back room of the gallery separating itself from its stars. Its content is a connected series of narratives meandering at times softly and at time psychedelically through the gooey seduction, birth and death of the creatures. The soundtrack is proof of the emotive power of music in film, as it wraps these sappy, gushy and simultaneously disturbing and disguising images in unconditional love. It truly is “hard to watch and at the same time impossible to stop watching,” as the press release notes.



Thackery Medical Museum 1842 Street (?)
Travel back in time to the dirty streets of Victorian Leeds to explore life among the grime and the bedbugs. Walk through the streets of 1842 and be surrounded by the smells and sounds of Victorian life. Meet the characters who live there and discover what was making them ill. Enter the frightening world of surgery before the discovery of pain relief and anaesthetics and explore the tools of the Victorian surgeon.


Wang Qingsong Iron Man (2008)
In Iron Man (2009), Wang Qingsong created a hero in his own image affectionately referred to as Iron Man. This term Iron Man refers to an oil worker hero (Qingsong worked in the oil-fields for over eight years) who dedicated his life to developing Chinese oil industry in the early 1960s. In this video this strong-minded hero has been beaten up by a lot of fists but always straightens up his head facing sideways as if Taking Death As Merely Going Back Home. He avoids the fist by playing Chinese Tai Chi (a Chinese body-exercise system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation, balance and health). Finally, though losing hair and teeth in the course of the beating, he still smiles at his opponents.


Agnieszka Polska The Demon’s Brain (2018)
In The Demon’s Brain, a multichannel video installation created expressly for the exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, Agnieszka Polska grapples with the ethical question of how individuals can assume social responsibility amid the overwhelming demands of the present moment. The point of departure for the work is a collection of fifteenth-century letters addressed to Mikołaj Serafin, the custodian of Poland’s salt mines. In her videos, Polska melds live action with animation to tell the fictional story of a young messenger tasked with delivering these letters on horseback. Along the way, the boy loses his horse and he gets lost in the forest. There he has an unexpected encounter with a demon, whose monologue fuses Christian theological ideas with today’s developments concerning resource consumption, environmental destruction, data capital, and artificial intelligence.





p.s. Hey.  On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be in Oslo showing ‘Permanent Green Light’. So you’ll get a restored post tomorrow and the escorts post on Tuesday sans, and then I (aka my half of the p.s.) will be back on Wednesday to catch up all the comments you leave between now and then. ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane. I’ll see if I can see that late-period shit gem, thanks. ** David Ehrenstein, Rene was a hell of a poet, and not a bad writer on art when he cared. Thanks for all the behind the spotlight poop on Hopper. We’ll just have to vastly disagree about ‘The Image Book’. The event: Godard wasn’t there in person, of course. It was in a large live performing arts theater, Nanterre Amandiers, on the outskirts of Paris. They created this special space to watch ‘TIB’ with the precise sound design Godard wanted. In the main theater, they screened an array of Godard films from the last 15, 20 years. There was a labyrinthian walk-through installation that used the backstage areas, prop department, dressing rooms, and even the backstage bathrooms where short films or videos or sound-works or projections/photos by Godard or his cinematographer or his wife were displayed, some of them never before seen. And talks/discussions/etc. It was really great, and what was thrilling was it was packed at 2 pm on a Friday — the event runs for two weeks — and the crowd was quite young, in their teens, 20s, and 30s mostly — the kind of crowd you almost never see at serious/experimental film events — so that was very exciting and inspiring. ** Dominik, Hi, Dominik! My pleasure, and yes indeed! I’m good. Yes, our producer is reading the script now, and we’ll meet with him on Wednesday. So hopefully we’ll begin to know what the budget will be and how to proceed with the fundraising then. The Godard film was completely thrilling, the most exciting film for me in ages. Yes, the ‘not alone’ is the most important part probably. Like when I read Sade at 15, that was the biggest impact, like, ‘Wow, you can write serious literature about this stuff that haunts me and freaks me out?’ No, I haven’t been in contact with Poppy in decades. It would be interesting to be. Maybe I’ll track him down and send a ‘hi’ email. Yes, I’m off to Oslo to show ‘PGL’ on Monday. Very excited! Have a great and very outer weekend and beyond with Anita! I’m sure you will. See you very soon, and lots of love. ** Nick Toti, Hi there, Nick. Good to see you, bud! Ah, Let me … Everyone, Here’s mighty filmmaker Nick Toti with a yesterday-related treat. Take it away, Nick: ‘My humble contribution to Dennis Hopper day is that I helped record this video of Richard Linklater telling the story of Dennis Hopper blowing himself up at a rodeo in the 80s. That clip is excerpted from a longer introduction/post-screening discussion of Hopper’s “Out of the Blue,” which Linklater screened as part of a series he was guest-programming in Austin when I lived there. The full video can be seen here, if anyone’s interested.’ ** NLK, Hey! It has been a while. I’ve been wondering how you are. Great to see you! I laid out the basics of the Godard event to Mr. Ehrenstein up above. Ha ha, that does sound like the trigger point in a controversial (or maybe not) thriller. Oh, god, about the hubbub caused by that screening. But, yeah, you certainly hear of that happening frequently in these wussy days. Sorry you had to face that. Yes, I’ve seen ‘The Wayward Cloud’, and like it very much, of course, and am bewildered or maybe just sad that it would raise such a boring form of hell. Great, I’ll go read what you wrote about the film when I’m finished here. Happy Halloween build-up to you! Thanks for spending the season with the Cycle. I like that fit, obviously, and how strange and peaky to imagine making Harry Styles vomit into a pool. Take care. I look forward to hopefully seeing you again soon. ** Keatonablos, Snackables. The French like to think of themselves as decadent too, but, psst, not so much. The Loire is terrific. If I was a different and more boring kind of person, I would retire there. Autograph, yes. I used to have an autograph book I carried everywhere when I was a kid because you used to run into celebrities on the street and stuff in LA back then before paparazzi and before stalkers had a name. I hope that book still exists somewhere. I got a lot. Um, who can I remember … Mickey Dolenz, Lucille Ball, the actor who played the second fiddle character on ‘Wild Wild West’, all three of The Three Stooges, the actress who played Granny on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’, and etc.  ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Ooh, I’ll check that out. Everyone, Here’s _Black_Acrylic with a gift: ‘The other week I was pleased to see that the Scottish comedian Limmy has had a series of his “Homemade Show” commissioned by the BBC. There’s only one episode of this been made last year, and you may remember me raving about it as the greatest, most avant-garde piece of comedy I’ve seen in a long time. That first one is now on Youtube and is very highly recommended obvs.’ ** Steve Erickson, I lucked into seeing an advance screening of ‘Out the Blue’ back in the day with Hopper and Linda Manz there. Pretty cool. I should do a Linda Manz Day even though I guess it would be pretty small. Ha ha, sadly I do think that reference would be highly selective, but what in the world is wrong with that, right? ** KK, Hi, Kyle. Oh … you know, I have a lot of stories, but they would take a lot of backgrounding and explaining, so, for now, I’ll just say that I knew him and hung around with him sometimes in the early 80s, and he was a completely amoral, sadistic, mean, backstabbing, manipulative mindfucker who could be very charming, witty, and so on but who you couldn’t trust for a millisecond. 40 degrees in Austin, wow. Can’t imagine that lasting, but hey, nice going. No, never heard of ‘The Mountain’ before. I see it has Jeff Goldblum in it, and I’m of the opinion that anything with him in it is worth testing at the very least. Let me know the scoop. I like the Uniform/The Body album too. I just listened to it not four days ago, coincidentally. Great track, that one, yeah. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. It’s so, so, so rare that theater involving puppets is not insufferable, I think, and, via Gisele’s accompaniment, I’ve seen my fair share. You should definitely dust that idea off. Good weekend, I hope? ** Right. Here’s a Halloween themed art show for you. Lots of goodies in there. Don’t neglect it, please. The blog will see you on Monday, and I personally will see you on Wednesday. Have fun until then.


  1. JM

    Hey, Dennis, I just missed you yesterday so I’ve copy-pasted below!

    I absolutely adore that Sarah Best piece above, very reminiscent of the best moments of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

    Dennis Hopper was a real one. I saw Apocalypse Now: Final Cut in theaters a few weeks ago and it absolutely revolutionized the way I thought about an already-wonderful film. I remember watching Easy Rider in a 2016 college cinema course and being unable to love it because of the uncomfortable seating but being drawn to watch it over and over again. I’m a big fan of Monte Hellman’s similar Two Lane Blacktop as well but could never stand similar feelings filtered through Spielberg’s lens in Duel.

    Thanks for the haunted house NZ links! I’m very well. I’ve started work on what I think is likely to be my next major project, well, I hope it will be, anyway. I say this frequently, I’ve collated about 300 pages of half-finished projects so far this year! But I’ve found something somewhat unifying now and suspect this may turn into something whole. I hope. On a personal level, me and some actor buddies have just been offered pretty much our dream home. It’s a bit pricier than we were looking to pay by about $20 a week but it seems a small price to pay for somewhere that we’ll happily reside in and get everywhere we need to go. I should apply for a job as a scare attraction actor, I think I’d be good at it. I saw the news a few weeks ago about the completion of your latest novel, by the way – congratulations and very exciting news. I’ve been dipping in and out of segments of your work over the last few weeks and my spine rumbles a little bit every time I re-realise how good you are. Their jeans sparkled, cut off / way above the knee…. so magical. Flicked through the new Houllebecq release in a bookstore today, nearly made the purchase but it seemed a little facile to me – I’ll have to read Platform, which I already own, before making any decisions. Have you read it?

    my brain is a bit exhausted from all of the administrative tasks piling up at the moment, so i’ll disappear for now to sleep. hope all is well


  2. David Ehrenstein

    “Last Riot” is Super Cool

    The Godard installations sound nice. The sound is the best ting about “Image Book” IMO. That he didn’t turn up is not really surprising. He frequently opts out of things — like saying he’ll meet with Agnes Varda and be in “Places/Face” then not showing up.

    I don’t believe he was ever actually married to Anne-Marie Mieville. They broke up a little over a year ago.

    Robert Fprster R.I.P. He was 78. Great actor and very nice man.

  3. Sypha

    Would have liked to have commented on yesterday’s post (as it was an actor I was familiar with for a change), but two days ago my parents had to upgrade our Cox account and had to get a new modem, so I was offline for most of Thursday and all of yesterday. Luckily the modem arrived in the mail today so we’re back in business.

    I did end up going to the movies on Thursday (3rd time this year!) and I watched that new Judy Garland biopic. Um, I don’t think you would have cared for it Dennis, ha ha. When it stuck to the facts it was okay, bit there was kind of a lot of pure Hollywood cheesiness. Like one scene after a show Judy encounters this middle-aged gay couple who are ultra-huge fans of hers, which seemed probable. Then she asked them if they wanted to have dinner with her, which to me didn’t seem likely, but who knows, maybe it happened (I researched it later and found out that these fans were 100% fictional). But they can’t find anyplace at London open that hour so they invite her to their home (by now I’m aware the film is descending into pure fan fiction). At home they make her an omelette, play cards, then one of them gives Judy a sob story about how they couldn’t attend her shows in ’64 because one of them was in jail at the time because of the then-active laws against sexual deviancy or whatever, and Judy mentions something about how the world hates people that are different, blah blah blah. Wait, it gets better. Then one of the gay guys starts playing the piano and she’s singing “Get Happy” and he bursts into tears and she has to hug and console him and… I don’t know, it was too much! Then at the end of the film she’s singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” but can’t bring herself to finish the song and so, in the silence of the theater, the gay guy she consoled earlier stands up and starts singing the song, and then everyone else joins in, ending the film on a “beautiful” and “triumphant” note… I was giggling during all this… maybe I’m just a horrible person!

    But enough about that. Yesterday I spent most of the day watching movies at home due to not having internet access. One of the films I saw was “Slacker,” which I had never seen… my surface impression of it was that Austin sure did have a lot of crazy people obsessed with conspiracy theories living in it back then!

  4. Keatles

    What does Dennis snack on other than nachos? Any guilty pleasures? Cigarettes don’t count. I need to retire and somewhere, haha. The weather in Florida is excellent, the rest of the shit is shit. 20% mean old people, the colleges are community or filled with locals, the sun makes everything winded. Time to move soon. I think the most loveliest boy I’ve met in Paris was Italian, so I get what you’re saying. Hope to be in Paris and Rome soonish. A ghost autograph for you then. Haha, I think I rubbed with one the other night. My phone buzzed but didn’t, so I checked it and realized I was in a place that creeps me out. And the time was the same as the date. Great show, the first one reminds me of something that seems common with Stoker, proneness. I hate corpses, I’ve seen too many of them. I hate most reproductions of the human body as well. It’s funny what the ghost trope has allowed writers to get away with. Even more so the fear of the morbid or death. Dreamed I was in the French bicycle race last night and I had some truck nuts, haha. Happy weekend

  5. Bill

    Dennis, this is a gorgeous gallery! Thank you so much.

    I love the Sarah Sitkin bodysuits, of course. I see fabric patterns and messages on the underside. Probably more to the pieces, will try to find interviews etc. And the Sarah Best and Francesco Albano pieces are beautiful.

    The mini Houses of Horror are hilarious, so simple and effective. And AES+F is just packed with guilty pleasures, of course.

    Would love to see Lucid Liquid. Kind of hard to tell what actually happens from the video, hmm.

    I was hoping for a horror movie marathon this weekend, but already messed up and missed Dead Center (I know it’s getting mixed reviews, but I have to jump at the Shane Carruth crumb). The rest can only go more smoothly from here. Enjoy Oslo.


  6. h

    Dennis, just saying hello! So busy here! Congratulations on your novel completion!!!! Can’t wait to read it. How is everything else? How have you been? yours, h

  7. Scunnard

    Hi Dennis, oh you are out of town in Oslo so probably not the best day to contact… but I am a new convert to the novels of Zak Ferguson that I discovered indirectly from here. I have been putting together a day for here about his work if you are interested? I hope all is well and oh! The body suits of Sarah Sitkin are new to me and creepy as well!

    • Scunnard

      Also I think I saw the Gary Hill piece years ago at the Henry in Seattle!

  8. Misanthrope

    Dennis! We’re back in the States. Kayla and LPS had a grand time. I think they think they live in London now and are just visiting the States. 😀

    Got to meet with Shane Levene Friday, and we had a good visit and convo.

    It was a blast. A lot of fun. Oh, also got to meet Paul Knowles in person finally. He and Rigby have been friends for 22 years. I’ve know him online for a few years. Really ace guy. He works at a department store during the day and creates/produces noise music at all other times. Really interesting fellow. You’d really like him.

    I’d say it was a 50.00001% chance that we’d all like CROWD. Hahaha. I mean, we’re all so different in so many ways, but at the same time, we kind of have the same views/aesthetic when it comes to Art. Kayla and LPS were talking about it the rest of the week, as were the rest of us. Really good show. I gave it 5 stars in the survey I completed for the theater.

    Oh, and here’s an interesting story. Tuesday, we go to Retro Bar off the Strand for this pop-up quiz thing. I end up meeting this guy from AZ who now lives in London. Really cute, bright, funny, 29 years old. We get on really well. He takes my phone and puts his name and number in it and tells me to hit him up before I leave. I messaged him the next day and…nothing. No reply at all, though he saw my message. I then decided to do a little research. Dude’s been married for 2 years. Hahaha. Fucker. Still a nice guy, though. And an interesting little side adventure.

  9. KK

    Hey Dennis,

    I loved the Chloe Piene and the Wang Quinsong videos. They feel connected. And that Da Corte installation looks fucking amazing. Would love to walk through that. He likens it to the experience of a film, but I see it more as a video game. Either way incredible.

    I saw a couple things yesterday: ‘The Mountain’ was great. Slow, beautiful, and not interested in answering questions. I saw Alverson’s movie ‘Entertainment’ at sxsw. People seem really divisive on it, but it hit me hard. Everyone generally seems to be landing on the love it/fuck it side for ‘Mountain’. I also got to see ‘Parasite’. Yeah I can understand that winning top prize at Cannes, Very good. Big fuck you establishment film.

    The one I want to see most though is Anderrson’s ‘About Endlessness’. It looks so good and I’ve seen just about all his films, except for a few shorts. You might of noticed I took the title from his 2000 film as the title for my manu. It fits too perfectly that I couldn’t help myself. If the collection goes anywhere I might send him a letter asking if it’s okay.

    How’s it going with you?

  10. _Black_Acrylic

    I love the idea of Freeman, Lowe & Herrema’s “slightly dystopian arts festival infused throughout with paranoia and fear”, I’ve been to a few of those in Scotland over the years.

    Spent this weekend putting together the website for The Call Issue #3 and it’s all taking shape surprisingly quickly. I’ll drop you a line over the next few days whenever it’s ready.

  11. David Ehrenstein

    Pierre Clementi

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