The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Darja Bajagić Mollys (2016)
UV printed aluminum-brushed Dibond with motion activated liquid mechanism and shaped MDF frame container / acrylic paint, canvas


Lu Pingyuan Ghost (2016)
‘A pub’s owner is requesting the return of a ghost, after its famous specter was captured by a Chinese artist. Lu Pingyuan claims to have captured the ghost of James Stanley, the seventh Earl of Derby, who is said to haunt the Ye Olde Man and Scythe, in Churchgate, Bolton, Greater Manchester. A sealed metal canister supposedly containing the spirit went on display this month at the Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, unbeknown to the pub’s owner, Richard Greenwood, after the artist became captivated by the story and traveled from Shanghai to Bolton to catch the ghost.

‘And after discovering that the town’s oldest pub is now missing its favorite phantom, Mr Greenwood is determined to have it returned to its rightful home. In a letter to Mr Lu, he said: “I would have liked to have been privy to your actions and indeed to the exhibition before the ghost of James Stanley was taken out of Bolton, his ties to the town and to Ye Olde Man and Scythe run very deeply. “I feel very strongly that James Stanley’s ghost should remain in Bolton and at Ye Olde Man and Scythe to preserve the natural order of things. That said I do believe that your exhibition should travel and be seen by many people around the world and I would like to contribute to this as long as at the end of your exhibition it returns home.”’


Korakrit Arunanondchai GHOST:2561 (2019)
‘“The starting idea for ‘Ghost:2561’ came from my feeling of always wanted to start some kind of platform to do research in Thailand, where I’m from,” Arunanondchai told me. “I wanted to work with this idea of ghost-host and possession, a kind of animistic framework that is very present throughout different layers of social fabric there.”’


WOH & CO Ghost of a Chair (2010)
‘The Ghost of a Chair is handmade from a single 4mm transparent polyester sheet. Each sculptural free-form chair is unique and created using a combination of high- end technology and craft. Each piece is a one-off. The unique translucent effect creates the illusion of the chair disappearing beneath a hidden sheet.’


Natasha Tontey The Cautionary Tales (2015)
The Cautionary Tales is a performance by non-actor and actor located in public area of Sie Kee Gie Junction on 6th and 7th June 2015.’


Christophe Berdaguer and Marie Péjus Gue(ho)st House (2017)
‘The artists transformed an existing building that was once a prison, then a school and then a funeral home into a “ghost house” using a cloak of polystyrene and paint.’


Ryan Gander Tell my mother not to worry (ii) (2012)
‘As an absolute muse, Gander’s daughter – who inspired Tell My Mother not to Worry (ii) – becomes the leading actress of a game, frozen and replicated in marble thanks to the medium of sculpture. Not just a phantom of blindless actions, the little girl is an unrevealed subject to whom Gander entrusts all the ghosts in his wardrobe.’



Angela Singer Ghost Birds (2007)


Gary Hill Viewer (1996)
‘In the multiple-channel video projection «Viewer,» blatant watching becomes the sole activity. The installation is neither interactively conceived, which would allows us learn more about the performers through their actions, nor does it allow the presentation mode to refer to either a context or story. The juxtaposition of those watching and those being watched—just as easily understood in the reverse—refers to a zero point unable to be bridged with any narrative content.’


Adam Fuss My Ghost (2001 – 2007)
‘« My Ghost » is the title of a series of photographs Adam Fuss began 8 years ago. All of them express a feeling of silent grief and loss. Rising smoke suggests the trace of a beloved person, who is not part of our life anymore; whose body has been retrieved from the earth but still remains present on an emotional and spiritual level. The intention of the artist is personal and references to his own past.’


Valerie Hegarty Ghosts of History (2017)
‘ Valerie Hegarty builds to destroy. Her process involves copying recognized paintings and then attacking them, forging ruins; As if the canvas, eaten away, ragged, had been abandoned, over the year…’


Hans Richter Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928)


Alice Könitz Ghost (2008)
Polycarbonate panel and plaster


Tom Palmer Ghost Mirror (2018)


Apichatpong Weerasethakul Fireworks (Archives) (2014)
‘In Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Fireworks (Archives), we see sculptures of mythical creatures from the Buddhist and Hindu cosmology in a garden in northeastern Thailand—a location believed to have been a communist hideout—illuminated by pyrotechnics and strobe lights, inducing a vision that violently teeters between impermeable darkness and blinding flashes. Projected onto a panel of glass, this vision seeps and oozes, with moving images leaking and refracting across the room’s seats and floor. By provoking the viewer’s senses, Apichatpong establishes a correspondence between technological media and the spiritual world, inducing visions that are disembodied or even menacing.’


Ángela Jiménez Durán Sleeping bag ghost (2019)
‘I find it very beautiful to be able to approach something that is different and scary with a welcoming gesture. How would you talk to a ghost? In the end, the question becomes how do you meet someone or something that is not like you?’


Duncan Mountford Ghost Library (2018)
‘At the rear of the gallery, on the top of a wall 260cm in height, is the Ghost Library. An empty library that speaks of the loss of knowledge, or the unreachable nature of arcane information. Lit only by the light from an exit sign, and the occasional momentary illumination of a window in one of the three doors, the library is barely visible, fading like a ghost seen by only a few.’


Bernhard Willhelm Women (2004)


Vincent Ceraudo Paris City Ghost (2015)
‘After I discovered by pure coincidence in the suburbs of Hangzhou a replica of Paris as a utopian post-modernism architectural project, I decided to live for a week in this urban simulacrum, located more than 11,000km away from the French capital. Using the drone camera technology that reminds the typical surveillance and control systems, I experienced the physical and psychological architectural limits of the place. The video documents the exploration of this ghost city, as if I was going through a double existence, in an deserted future of my own life.’


Tianzhuo Chen G.H.O.S.T. (2018)
‘G.H.O.S.T is a new video work filmed in December 2016 in the streets of Varanasi, India, immediately adjacent the sacred Hindu spot where every year, millions of bodies are cremated and their ashes delivered to river Ganges.’


Abbas Akhavan Variations on Ghost (2017/2018)
‘A monumental sculpture by Abbas Akhavan fills the Vide gallery at Bluecoat. Variations on Ghost makes reference to artworks destroyed by ISIS over the last decade, in particular the ancient sculptures depicting the Assyrian protective deities called Lamassu – half man, half lion. Using a technique called ‘dirt ramming’ Akhavan has recreated the claws of the hybrid deity with soil and water. Over the exhibition period, the physical appearance and smell of the sculpture will change, its surface appearing more stone-like as a grey crust develops.’


Philippe Parreno & Pierre Huyghe No Ghost Just a Shell (2000 – 2002)
‘»No Ghost Just a Shell« was initiated by Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe in 1999. They acquired the copyright for a figure called ‘Annlee’ and her original image from the Japanese agency »Kworks«, which develops figures (almost actors) for cartoons, comic strips, advertising and video games of the booming Japanese Manga industry. ‘Annlee’ was a cheap model: the price of a Manga figure relates to the complexity of its character traits and thus its ability to adapt to a story-line and ‘survive’ several episodes. ‘Annlee’ had no particular qualities, and so she would have disappeared from the scene very quickly. “True heroes are rare and extremely expensive …” (Parreno) Buying ‘Annlee’ rescued her from an industry that had condemned her to death.’


Kunlin He Ghost face cun (2017)
‘This video work come from I climbed mountains with my friend and family in my childhood memory. In China, There have a lot of strange stone and tree named by people in many famous national parks. Most of there names are associate with local history, myth and, fairy tale. When I came to the Bay Area, I traveled to the city and landscape to evoke my childhood memories of mountaineering and topophilia. I was searching for stone and tree that shape resembled like human figure, organs, and animals in the period of three months, shooting and naming them, recording my movement by GPS and editing them for a video.’


Olaf Breuning Ghosts (2003)


Dorothy Cross Ghost Ship (1999)
‘Cross painted a retired light ship with many layers of phosphorescent paint and moored it out at sea within sight of the esplanade of Dublin Bay. Every evening just before dusk the boat’s sides were flooded with strong ultraviolet light.

‘As the sun faded the lights were turned off. The boat remained visible as a luminous, ghostly presence between the shore and the horizon. The original purpose of the light ship as a marker of reefs and dangerous waters brings to mind the many ships that foundered in spite of every precaution. Each evening crowds of sightseers would come to the cold waterside to watch this mystery unfold and speculate about the history of the sea and of this boat in particular.

‘Cross braved the windswept channel in a dinghy one night to make a video of the glowing boat from the sea. A projection of this video was screened at dusk each night along the edge of the Mersey in Liverpool, where boats from Dublin used to moor.’


Asta Gröting Ghost (2015)
‘This series comprises life-size casts of the artist‘s immediate family members since 2010. The ensemble of figures morph and change with the passing of time, some growing larger while others disappear altogether.’


Miguel Angel Rios The Ghost of Modernity (2012)
‘The video Untitled (the ghost of modernity) by Miguel Angel Rios filmed on a deserted plateau high above a distant town in Saachila Oaxaca Mexico, features a set of outlined cube structures built on the site and a transparent cube that floats through the landscape with a will of its own, as if magically suspended. The moving camera establishes a dialogue with the floating and rotating cube choreographed to music composed by John Cage in 1947 for the feature of Marcel Duchamp’s roto-reliefs in the surrealist film by Hans Richter “Dreams that money can buy”.’


Letha Wilson Ghost of a Tree (2012)


Thomas Schütte Grosse Geister [Big Ghosts] (1996)
‘With his characteristically critical reassessment of the figurative traditions in art, Schütte here transforms the mythological hero associated with the grand sculptural tradition into a more complex character by evoking a range of figures from popular culture. As Quinn Latimer has observed of this series, “Melty, molten…figures evince both menace and levity: part Darth Vader, part Pillsbury Doughboy. Outsized, they put the viewer at a disadvantage.’


Antony Gormley Blind Light (2007)


Rachel Whiteread Three Ghosts (2008)
‘Three casts of a doll’s house made out of glass, ghostly and gleaming, like a miniature palaces of ice. And as if fulfilling some childhood fantasy, you can see right through the walls into every room, even when the doors are closed – looking down translucent corridors into all these shining chambers of the mind.’


Ed Atkins Death Mask 3 (2011)


Marike Schreiber Setup with ghost (2013)
lab stand, two high accuracy laser devices, blanket, pedestal, photo background


Wendell Castle Ghost Clock (1985)
‘At first glance Ghost Clock appears to be a grandfather clock hidden under a white sheet. However, a closer look reveals a masterful deception: this entire sculpture was hand-carved from a single block of laminated mahogany. With its meticulous detail, Castle re-created in wood the contours of soft, supple cloth, then completed the illusion by bleaching the “drapery” white and staining the base of the “clock” a walnut brown. This work is the last in a series of thirteen clocks the artist created in the 1980s; like the others, it has an inner mechanism.’


Biangle Studio Ghost Ship (2019)
‘The illusion is created with the help of mist fountains anchored beneath the surface of the water. The hazy sails are brought to life using lighting projected from a nearby platform.’


Chulayarnnon Siriphol Ghost Orb (2007)
‘It is believed that when humans or animals pass away, they are turned into spirits lingering and drifting in the human world unseen to the human eye. However photography has been a mysterious medium that could capture more than we see. Photographs sometimes display traces of orbs on them, ranging in many shades of colors from white, red, blue, purple to green where many believe that these orbs are traces of the spirit’s entity and would often have a relationship or a special bond to the subjects in the photographs. This phenomenon is known as Ghost Orb.’


Tom Friedman Ghosts and UFOs: Projections for Well-Lit Spaces​ (2017)
‘Usually, the minimum condition for projecting a video is that the room is dark or at least in semidarkness. Not in Tom Friedman’s case. The videos in this exhibition—the American artist’s first works in the medium—are conceived to be displayed in fully illuminated spaces. The projected images are mostly simple outlines of light in motion, white on white walls: an ovoid that slowly rotates on an axis (One Minute Egg, 2017); the silhouette of a man—the artist—walking (Guardian, 2017); a simulated blazing sun (Sun, 2017). Friedman contrived the unusual approach after he witnessed squares of sunshine refracted by a window onto a wall in his home. One of the most alluring works in the show, Shaky Window, 2017, reproduces precisely this phenomenon, to unsettling effect. Observing what appears to be slanted daylight, one’s first impulse is to look around in search of a window that isn’t there.’




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Happy weekend to you, David! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Thank you for digging in. ** Steve Erickson, Hello. Everyone, Head over here at your convenience to read Steve Erickson’s take on von Trier’s DANCER IN THE DARK aka LvT’s tipping point into awfulness, if you ask me, on the something-th anniversary of its birth, and then veer over here when you see fit to read his take on the film SPACESHIP EARTH, which will start streaming next Friday. Nice seeming and timely bandcamp score. Everyone, Oh, wait, there’s more Erickson still. He, in his words, ‘commemorated surviving this dreadful month by making a Spotify playlist of the best new music [he] heard in April here‘. Bon weekend! ** Bill, Hi. Another bandcamp raider. I somehow spaced on the special occasion there, damn, and now it’s tomorrow. My day was even more of a big fat almost nothing, man, so no sweat. But, yeah, I’ll try to be interesting ‘again’ by Monday as well. ** Misanthrope, Hey. It might be interesting to make being worshipped a real challenge-type thing and act as stupid and horrible and jackass-like as possible and watch your worshipper struggle to see your silver lining. But that does sound like a lot of work as well as the synopsis of a really low brow comedy movie. Ouch, stay off that rebellious ankle, obvs. I am going to endeavor to find things that are out of the ordinary to experience and possibly remark upon on the next two scrunched days, yes. You as well. Happy you’re liking the Sebald, natch. You are a jack-in-the-box of the unexpected, yes! ** Nick Toti, Well, thank you and only you. I hope the comments materialise. Have a fine coupla days. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. Already? Ha ha, I had the idea for my new novel eight years ago or something, so a possibly doable new fiction idea is quite the long awaited sort of thing. I’m all about/into germination post-idea and pre-enactment. Totally natural and excessively (even) important. If Mozart is classical music’s Beatles, who would be classical music’s Elvis and Rolling Stones and, uh, Jefferson Airplane? Good to read that your dad’s spirits and wit are functioning properly. As always, all good wishes possible to him and you and you guys. ** Okay. Boo! See you on Monday.


  1. Milk

    Hope you are doing well. Do you own a dog? Have a cat? (Can’t own a cat).
    Most of the people around me say it is a life saver in these days.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    One the “Travel Channel” on US cable there are “Ghost” shows in which “teams” of crackpot”investigators” go into old houses with “special equipment” and swear eer creak they hear in the pitch dark is some spirit or other trying to contact them. Phony Beyond Belief.

    I had an encounter with what thy would call a “Poltergeist” years ago in an apartment in the Alphabets in NYC I was staying in over night. Foosteps in a hallway and a rocking chair movied — but it was most likely nothing.

    One of Jack Smith’s most famous live performances was “The Secret of Rented Island” — hos own adaptation of Ibsen’s “Ghosts’ which he enacted with a supporting cst of stuffed anials and hand puppets.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    My Favorite Ghost movies are Topper



  4. _Black_Acrylic

    Ah, Bernhard Willhelm. I used to be way more conversant with fashion and had a few BW items that I’d sourced via eBay. His designs were always fun and often spooky. Those days were maybe 10 or 15 years ago, but all of that feels like another lifetime. I hear eBay is no longer such a happy hunting ground for fashion buyers. Used to be that I would check that site like ten times a day.

  5. Bill

    I’d totally sit in a ghost chair. The Valerie Hegarty paintings are very nice, but I think I like Alex Rose’s distressed images more. And the ghost ship is very pretty, would love to see it in real life/unlife.

    I solved a small technical problem with an old video piece today, and started setting up stuff for a couple new little projects. So I can claim it’s been a productive weekend so far, haha.


  6. David Ehrenstein

    Dennis would it be possible to resurrect my “Dorothy Dean Day “?

  7. Scunnard

    Hi Dennis, boo to you as well!I always like these collections like this. How have you been? Ok, I just heard from Zak and very positive about the new book. So he is pushing it much faster than I expected with a planned release of potentially July/August. Would you be able to get me a blurb in that timeframe with everything you have going on? Obviously earliest would be best, but not sure how things are working for you and hope all well. Thanks again and let me know your thought.

  8. Steve Erickson

    I wrote two songs this weekend – “Scapegoat (American Virus)” : and “Noonday Demon”: I wrote about my intentions and sources for “Scapegoat” on its SoundCloud page. “Noonday Demon” was inspired by my struggles with depression and exhaustion during COVID lockdown.

    The cable TV ghost hunter shows used to be fun, but then too many copycats were produced. I always thought it was funny how their “proof” of the existence of ghosts usually amounted to “I stood in a corner of this haunted house, and I suddenly felt a chill {despite the fact that it was built hundreds of years ago and is probably drafty}.” One actor with whom I’ve worked used to host a radio show about the paranormal, really takes this stuff seriously and wanted to get involved with one of those TV shows, although it never panned out.

    Two strong film recommendations: Billy Woodberry’s BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS, which was written and shot by Charles Burnett and feels like part of his oeuvre, and François Reichenbach’s MEDICINE BALL CARAVAN. Warner Bros. funded the film, free concerts with B.B. King, Alice Cooper and Doug Kershaw and the hippie caravan itself in an obvious attempt to synthesize EASY RIDER & WOODSTOCK. It didn’t work. but the failure is revealing. The music performances are fun (I’d never heard of Kershaw, but his music is quite good, and Cooper does a trippy, PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN-inspired version of “Black Juju”), but the film winds up questioning its own hypocrisy and commodification of the counterculture in a half hour finale where the filmmakers and caravan members are confronted by student radicals at Antioch college. Faced with their serious tales of class, race and gender oppression, “let’s do a road trip from California to the Midwest to see how groovy the people there are” sounds pretty pathetic as a revolutionary claim.

  9. David Ehrenstein

    Francois Reichenbach was quite a character. he was a running buddy of George Platt Lynes and used to bring Lyns’ posse to France for boy parties. He was an heir to the Guerlain perfume fortune. He mad many serious documentary films but my favorite work of his was the footage he shot of art forger Elmyr de Hory that Orson Welles turned into “F For Fake.” When Reichenbach was in the hospital dying of AIDS he told his friend screenwriter Danielle Thompson that he wanted to be buried in the family plot in Limoges. Thompson was unnerved and tried to make a joke saying “Oh but Francois, Limoges is toofar, all your friend sare in Paris.” His reply: “Those who love me can take the train.”

  10. Corey Heiferman

    I very much enjoyed “G.H.O.S.T.”, “Ghost Ship,” and “The Ghost of Modernity”. I hope I get to see the ghost ship or something like it in person someday. I’d be all but eager for a ghost to show up in my apartment just for some companionship. A floating cube friend would be splendid. But gotta be careful what you wish for, I guess.

    I’ll add the Cerne Abbas Giant, which is apparently a big deal in England but I just found out about recently:

    Thanks for the music challenge. Reminds me of the kinds of nerdy conversations I had in college.

    Elvis=Wagner because they both released an entire civilisation’s pent-up sexuality and inspired a cult of personality that continues to inspire obsessives to this day. I of course don’t intend the comparison to include their social views.

    Rolling Stones=Brahms because of extreme competence but relative lack of distinctiveness and innovation making them a lot of folks’ second or third favorite.

    Jefferson Airplane=Berlioz because they’re super angsty even by hippie/Romantic standards, are excellent at layering instruments, and are regarded as one-hit wonders.

    How was your weekend?

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