Occasional Literary Magazine Reviews: Frieze


Title: frieze contemporary art & culture

No. 156

June, July, August 2013

Theme: The Fiction Issue

Featured Names on the Cover: Gregory Sholette & Christopher Darling; Ben Lerner, Katie Kitamura, Omer Fast, Lynne Tillman

What: This is an art magazine. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this magazine. I picked up because of the graphic novel cover and the words “The Fiction Issue.”

Someone somewhere once said that you can tell a magazine’s audience by its ads. In that case, this thing contains a lot of gallery ads across the world–not really your general interest fare.

Why (or Why Not To) Read It:

That’s a good question, because I don’t know if I would read this issue again. It doesn’t really speak to fiction writers; it’s more about how artists consider how they think about documentary-style presentation versus taking some liberty with facts.

The Ben Lerner essay roped me in and he speaks a lot about embracing the virtual reality of words versus the concrete material forms of painting.  Here’s a good quote from it: “I think of the novel as a fundamentally curatorial form, as a genre that assimilates and arranges and dramatizes encounters with other genres.”

Ben Lerner is smart.

There is a Lynne Tillman excerpt from an upcoming novel, but I’ve never read her before and the excerpt was pretty expository–(blending of fact & fiction!?!)–but really didn’t make a lot of sense by itself. The best thing was this small pull-out chapbook(?) by Omer Fast. He takes some Donald Rumsfeld quotes from the famous “known knowns” and “known unknowns” speech and does a fan-fic biography with short essays and image macros. Pretty nice. Just take that out if you see this mag around.

The regular features include gallery and art show reviews.

Other Stuff: It smells like wood glue. I like that. It’s well designed with high quality paper. I like that, too.

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