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In praise of artistic anonymity

The death of Lou Reed has been felt most sharply across popular music, but his absence resonates in the art world, which he inhabited as an accomplished photographer and as an earlier product and documentarian of Andy Warhol. This week an aspiring boundary-breaker in the mold of Reed, Lady Gaga, released her latest album, with the intention of…

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First impressions of Gunland

On a wall a few blocks from my new apartment in Brooklyn there is a portrait of a half-smiling young man, with his name, Ben, written in large, gleaming typeface above a scene of the nearby Fort Greene Park and the housing projects opposite. An inscription below: “A Cut Above the Rest, Benjamin C. O’Garro,…

Fast food economy

Labo(u)r pains

**This piece was written some time ago, for Labor Day in the US. Alas, not much has changed on any of the points covered herein.** There is a famous disconnection between the intended purposes of the vast majority of public holidays and how they are actually commemorated. We are supposed to use a fortunate day…