WINDY CITY TIMES
||BOOK REVIEW Stone's Throw
by Liz Baudler
This article shared 834 times since Wed Jun 1, 2016
By David Deitcher. $28.99, Secretary Press; 158 pages
As an art critic in the 1980s, David Deitcher had firsthand experiences with gay artists confronting the AIDS crisis and the general mortality of their peers and themselves. Stone's Throw grew out of a lecture about the art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and eventually expanded into its current state. Now in lush book form, Deitcher dissects Gonzales-Torres's works, and their themes. Deitcher also recollects his friendship with the artist and curator Bill Olander, influential in promoting LGBTQ artists and also an AIDS victim.
Much of what gay artists created in this period memorialized the fallen, and common themes appear to be collapse and dispersal, though Deitcher points out that Gonzalez-Torres was unique in choosing everyday objects to bear the weight of his symbolic meanings. In "Untitled ( Perfect Lovers ) Torres paired two clocks supposed to run in synchronicity, but whose batteries were eventually destined to fail. His piece "Untitled ( Placebo )" where viewers were invited to take a piece of candy from a pile strewn all over the floor, seems especially mutable, and was a tribute to his lover, Ross Laycock, who died of AIDS.
Deitcher writes of finding a piece of candy from one of Gonzalez-Torres's works in a drawer years later, and how discarded wrappers would lay on gallery floors as if to further reinforce the carnage. Gonzalez-Torres's trope was the endless piece, whether it be stacks of paper or piles of candies, which further invokes a theme of regeneration, at weirdly joyful odds with the bleakness at hand. The artist left it up to the piece's curators about whether to replenish his work, leading to meditations on existence and authenticity. While this is absolutely the work's character, it's heady dialogue for Deitcher to begin with, and at times it feels discomfiting without more grounding in why he's choosing to address his subject.
There may have been some logistical reasons why Stone's Throw wasn't a more gripping read for me. For starters, my review copy was a PDFnot the best format for a book that is equal parts art and narrative. The layout, with footnotes on the left side of the page, seemed appropriate for the sheer amount of footnotes but interrupted the natural flow of reading. In addition, the artworks and articles Deitcher references were front-loaded, and one had to mentally recall the piece, or perhaps flip ( in my case, scroll ) back to it. When writing about art, it seems logical to keep the images close at hand. Adding works by artists other than Gonzalez-Torres also confused me: they are treated as a counterpoint to the book's subject but not embraced fully. Nothing wrong with that, but upon encountering image of works without any textual context, one might reasonably expect them to have more stage time rather than mere inclusion as antitheses.
Deitcher is easier to follow when he writes experientially rather than analytically. If Stone's Throw has a narrative, it is focused on Deitcher watching Gonzalez-Torres and Olander succumbing to AIDS. It's hard to pinpoint Deitcher's exact role at the time: He appears to been intimate friends with both Torres and Olander, present as both of them began wasting away. In 1987, he visited the AIDS quilt with a sick Olander, and ends Stone's Throw with the image of his friend's name on the quilt, taken on a return journey in 1996. Including these recollections earlier might have provided more justification for Deitcher viewing the artwork the way: As such, it's an uneasy marriage between two halves of related subject matter.
In its own way, the book is quietly moving, a testament to the bonds art can form and the power of the simple and subtle creation. However, it feels less accessible than it could be. Deitcher's thoughts are valuable, but this is a book for the collector, not the curious.
This article shared 834 times since Wed Jun 1, 2016
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|Women & Children First hosting virtual event with Anita Hill on Sept. 29 2021-09-11|
- Anita Hillthe University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University who played a major role in the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomaswill be part ...
|Chicago Literary Hall of Fame announces 2021 class of new inductees 2021-08-18|
--From a press release - Chicago, August 17, 2021 — The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (CLHOF) announced that its 2021 Class of Inductees will include Frank London Brown, Jeanette Howard Foster, Carlos Cortez, and Gene Wolfe. The inductees will be ...
|Chicago-area author releases book about gay, autistic African-American 2021-08-18|
- PenPower Book Marketing Services and Chicago-area author Jaire Sims have released his debut young adult novel, Getting By, which was named a finalist in the African American (Fiction) category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book ...
|Printers Row Lit Fest returns to Chicago Sept. 11-12 2021-08-12|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (August 12, 2021) Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, returns for its 36th year with 100% free programming for book lovers the weekend after Labor Day, Saturday, Sept. ...
|THEATER REVIEW Rent 2021-08-10|
- Playwright: book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson At: Possibilities Theatre Company at NorthCenter Town Square, 4100 N. Damen Ave. Tickets: suggested donation $20; https://www.eventcombo.com/e/rent-43212 or ...
|Equality Illinois' new deputy director talks goals, position and books 2021-08-01|
- On July 15, Mony Ruiz-Velasco officially started in the new position of Equality Illinois' deputy director. Ruiz-Velasco is an experienced attorney who has worked for immigrants rights for many years, and has even been the legal ...
|Gerber/Hart comedy benefit Sept. 18 2021-07-31|
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, 6500 N. Clark St.. will host a comedy benefit, "Stacks of Laughter," on Saturday, Sept. 18. At 6 p.m., there will be a VIP reception with local historian John D'Emilio. Also, a ...
|NATIONAL Amazon, condo collapse, T-shirt controversy, GLSEN 2021-07-18|
- At least two Amazon employees have resigned in recent weeks to protest the company's decision to continue to sell a book they say frames young people who identify as transgender as mentally ill, NBC News reported. ...
|BOOKS Author, activist Roy Wesley on his new book about his father 2021-07-12|
- Gay Chicago author, activist and Fermalogic, Inc. COO Roy Wesley has written a new book about his father—Invisible Vision: The hidden story of Dr. Newton K. Wesley, American contact-lens pioneer. Windy City Times: What made you ...
|SHOWBIZ 'Pray Away,' film contest, LGBTQ book, musicians, 'Star Trek' 2021-07-11|
- The new Netflix Original Documentary Pray Away, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, will make its global launch on the platform Aug. 3, a press release noted. In the film, former leaders of the ...
|SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes on TV, trans jazz musician, book award, 'Red Table Talk' 2021-06-27|
- Wanda Sykes has been tapped for a recurring role in the upcoming fifth season of Robert and Michelle King's legal drama The Good Fight, on Paramount+, Deadline noted. She will play Allegra Duradoa brilliant, strategic attorney ...
|BOOKS Grandma, Grace Jones are heroes in non-binary author's children's book
- Non-binary author, alternative hip hop artist, mother and activist Ris iRAWniQ Anderson has published the children's book in Charlie's Best Work Yet. Charlie's Best Work Yet tells the semi-autobiographical story of Charliea shy, artistic ...
|New book: Majority Leader Hoyer unsung hero of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal 2021-06-22|
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — In a new book, LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States, authored by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff, LGBTQ researcher and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Sydney and first lobbyist for Don't ...
|The Cost of Pride: Research goes inside LGBTQ movement's two decades of progress 2021-06-21|
--From a press release - Sydney, Australia — With LGBTQ Pride Month upon us, new University of Sydney research released today paints a vivid picture of how the LGBTQ community has achieved groundbreaking advancements over the past two decades. The study ...
|BOOKS Precious Brady-Davis has arrived 2021-06-18|
- Recently honored by Mayor Lightfoot and the LGBTQ Advisory Council as a community leader who has "helped build the foundation for a more welcoming, equitable and inclusive Chicago," Precious Brady-Davis wants to do it all. She ...