1. Acker01 Realism for the Cause of Future Revolution by Kathy Acker
2. Kraus_reading Video Green by Chris Kraus
With enervating experimentation but touching directness, postmodern novelist Acker (“Portrait of an Eve,” 1992; “My Mother: Demonology,” 1993; etc.) explores art, politics, and being in her first essay collection. Subjects are various, ranging from William Burroughs to Goya to San Francisco; many of the pieces have been published previously (prefaces to books, articles in “Marxism Today, the Critical Quarterly,” etc.). Despite the variety of subjects and sources, the collection is neatly structured: Essays are grouped agreeably by subject-‘On Art and Artists, ‘ ‘The City, ‘ ‘Bodies of Work.’ Though Acker says she aims to ‘destroy’ the essay form, she does more of what the form openly invites–to tinker and confess. For example, she interweaves stories into a piece on artist Nayland Blake and applies Wittgenstein’s ‘language games’ to bodybuilding: ‘In a gym, verbal language or language whose purpose is meaning occurs, if at all, only at the edge of becoming lost.’
Chris Kraus is a filmmaker and the author of I Love Dick and Aliens & Anorexia, and coeditor of Hatred of Capitalism: A Semiotext(e) Reader. Index called her “one of the most subversive voices in American fiction.” Her work has been praised for its damning intelligence, vulnerability and dazzling speed.