Issue 156: The Fiction Issue

For this special Fiction Issue of frieze, nine writers and artists consider how narrative will change as technology advances. Featuring: Fatima Al Qadiri, James Bridle, Ian ChengOrit Gat, Lev Manovich, Christiane Paul, Alexander ProvanTimotheus Vermeulen and Holly Willis. 

Plus, Katie Kitamura looks at how art can visualize political realities through the artifice of fiction; Laura Pawson asks whether it’s an artist’s duty to bear witness to suffering; and Ben Lerner reflects on whether objects are more real than words.

More highlights include: Dan Fox talks to artist David Levine; Questionnaire with Dayanita Singh;Rajeev Balasubramanyam on national identity and ‘global fiction’; film director Pablo Larraindiscusses the merging of fact and fiction with Rob White; and an extract from Lynne Tillman’s novel-in progress ‘Men and Apparitions’.

In our regular columns: Tom Morton considers the changing face of graduate exhibitions; Kaelen Wilson-Goldie looks at prisoners of conscious and creative acts; and Jason Farago signs up to De Appel’s new course in art dealing.

Also: 37 reviews from 29 cities in 17 countries, including: ‘Umhlaba 1913-2013’, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; and ‘Sharjah Biennial 11’, various venues, UAE.

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Write for The Artifice

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You could say that The Artifice has synthesized aspects of Wikis, Blogs and Forums in an original way. Hopefully, you will see for yourself when you participate and experience it!

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Have a look at…


STYLE WARS Hip Hop Documentary 1 of 5 graffiti movie


STYLE WARS Hip Hop Documentary 2 of 5 graffiti movie


STYLE WARS Hip Hop Documentary 3 of 5 graffiti movie


STYLE WARS Hip Hop Documentary 4 of 5 graffiti movie


STYLE WARS Hip Hop Documentary 5 of 5 graffiti movie



Directed by Tony Silver and produced by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, it was awarded the Grand Prize for Documentaries at the 1983 Sundance Film Festival. STYLE WARS is regarded as the indispensable document of New York Street culture of the early ’80s, the filmic record of a golden age of youthful creativity that exploded into the world from a city in crisis.

STYLE WARS captured the look and feel of New York’s ramshackle subway system as graffiti writers’ public playground, battleground and spectacular artistic canvas. Opposing them by every means possible were Mayor Edward Koch, the police, and the New York Transit Authority. Meanwhile MCs, DJs and B-boys rocked the city with new sounds and new moves and street corner breakdance battles evolved into performance art.

New York’s legendary kings of graffiti and b-boys own a special place in the hip hop pantheon. STYLE WARS has become an emblem of the original, embracing spirit of hip hop as it reached out across the world from underground tunnels, uptown streets, clubs and playgrounds.


AND read

Michael Bierut’s

Style: An Inventory


Vault doors manufactured by Remington & Sterling Company (detail), c. 1912. Photograph by Niko Skourtis

Style as learning. It is your first big assignment in design school. You know, or think you know, about problem solving. You know, or think you know, about communication. You know about composition, about white space, about kerning. But this is not enough. With all those issues addressed, there are still decisions to be made, decisions that seem perfectly, maddeningly arbitrary. What typeface? What color? Not what does it say, or how does it work, but what does it look like? These decisions, arbitrary though they are, have an oversized impact. How do you decide? Do you copy something you like? (Is thatplagiarism?) Do you do something that no one else has ever done? (Is that even possible?) The blank piece of paper is overwhelming. You make your choices, and you look at the results. This is your first lesson in the power of style.

Style as destiny. Style was never discussed when I was a student. There was a vague sense that genuine style emerged unconsciously in its own time, like breasts or facial hair. Trying too hard would derail the process and result in something less than authentic. What a wonderful promise: within each of us is a unique voice that will reveal itself, but only through patience and practice. Use the force, Luke. Do or do not, there is no try.

Style as compulsion. Where does style come from? Put more broadly, why do people do what they do? Nature or nurture? Free will or intention? How much of our particular version of the design process is hardwired directly into our basic brain functions? The designer can’t help it.

Style as ideology. It is unnerving to some that certain design decisions, particularly those related to style, are motivated subconsciously. “I don’t know, I just like it that way,” doesn’t always work for teachers, bosses, clients and judges of design competitions. Thus we have the post-rationalizations of the style deniers. Ideology is the superego to style’s id.

Style as habit. At the outset of his political career, Barack Obama decided to wear nothing but dull blue, black and gray suits so he could focus his attention on more important things. Here is William James in 1877: “The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.”

Style as uniform. Charles Baudelaire: “Dress like a bourgeoisie, think like a revolutionary.”

Style as epithet. Stefan Sagmeister originated the easy-to-remember equation “Style = Fart.” He later said he no longer believed this, acknowledging that appropriate use of style could aid communication.Style as crutch. Every great designer has a default mode that provides a solution when original thinking, for whatever reason, is impossible. This default mode, deployed with regularity, becomes associated with that designer’s unique personal style. Do not fear your default mode, but nor should you seek it. Simply know that there’s a safety net if you need it. Knowing that makes you less likely to need it.

Style as assimilation. We are taught to value originality, to assume that the first goal of every design solution is differentiation. If you think that standing out in a crowd is a universal goal, take a look around. You will see few people sporting hula skirts or top hats. Instead, everyone is trying to fit in. Some design challenges have the same requirement. If you’re creating packaging for spaghetti sauce, you can make it jump out from the shelf by making it look like a bottle of shampoo. But people in the pasta aisle aren’t looking for shampoo. They’re looking for spaghetti sauce. And what makes spaghetti sauce look like spaghetti sauce is the aggregation of a hundred small stylistic cues that need to be understood and mastered. Once you know how to fit in, you can decide what it will take to break out.

Style as nemesis. Paul Rand almost never talked about or even acknowledged living graphic designers: his heroes tended to be European, usually obscure, and preferably dead. But in “Design, Form and Chaos,” he described the styles of some of his contemporaries, and one can almost imagining him spitting out the adjectives between clenched teeth: “squiggles, pixels, doodles; corny woodcuts on moody browns and russets; indecipherable, zany typography; peach, pea green, and lavender; tiny color photos surrounded by acres of white space.” On the other hand, I remember being introduced to Rand’s work as a first year design student in 1975 and thinking it looked naïve and old fashioned.

Style as straightjacket. Philip Glass: “I know you’re all worried about finding your voice. Actually you’re going to find your voice. By the time you’re 30, you’ll find it. But that’s not the problem. The problem is getting rid of it.”

Style as rebellion. How to break out. If you’re right handed, draw with your left hand. Determine the most sensible, practical thing to do, and then do the exact opposite. Pick a color at random. Force yourself to use the typeface you hate the most. Take on a problem that you’ve never faced before. Overturn the game board and make up new rules based on where the pieces fall.

Style as substance. Oscar Wilde: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

Style as groupthink. Everyone’s doing it, why can’t I? It’s difficult to resist the zeitgeist, particularly if it doesn’t even feel like the zeitgeist, but simply the way things are supposed to look these days. And then…Style as timestamp. [Year] called, they want their [dated graphic trope] back. Oh, snap!

Style as denial. I don’t like to think I have an identifiable style, says the designer with the identifiable style. A way of working can become so comfortable that small differences can seem exaggerated. With surprising regularity, a designer is blind to the fact that it all looks alike, that the same patterns are being repeated over and over. The entire field of psychiatry exists to address this problem in daily life. At what point do you need professional help?

Style as trademark. You can identify an Emily Dickenson poem by the punctuation alone. There is an entire profession called “forensic linguistics;” its specialists can authenticate a Shakespeare sonnet or derive a criminal profile from a ransom note. What evidence are you leaving behind?

Style as narcissism. Or, falling in love with your own handwriting.

Style as disguise. Planner Andres Duany has said that the comforting style of New Urbanism — front porches, picket fences — is nothing more than the nostalgia-imbuedTrojan Horse in which the radical planning ideas — no cars, tiny yards — are delivered.Mary Poppins: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Style as professionalism. Eero Saarinen’s motto was “The style for the job.” His design for the TWA Terminal was as different from his General Motors Technical Center was as different from his U.S. Embassy in London as air travel is from automotive engineering is from international diplomacy. Purists viewed him with suspicion, but he was enormously successful and made the cover of Time magazine. After his early death, his work seemed to date badly. Today, everyone loves the TWA Terminal.

Style as prostitution. The oldest profession(alism). Who would the client like me to be today? “I’m a whore,” Philip Johnson liked to admit, preempting any criticism.

Style as homage. The gala invitation done in the mode of the event’s honoree. At a party for architecture dean Jay Chatterjee, famously fond of bow ties, attendees were asked to wear bow ties.

Style as impersonation. It can be surprisingly satisfying to attempt to channel the voice of John Baskerville, or William Morris, or Alvin Lustig, or Robert Brownjohn. Satisfying and, to some, dangerously addictive. Like a painting student copying an old master at the Musee de Beaux Arts, Hunter S. Thompson once typed out the entire text of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said he wanted to find out what it felt like to write a masterpiece.

Style as indulgence. Even at its emptiest, style can be a source of great pleasure. I work in a building that was constructed 100 years ago as a bank. In the basement, side by side, are two vaults. Each vault has a massive door manufactured by the Remington & Sterling Company, made of brass and steel, with a gleaming mechanism visible behind glass. Each door is covered with elaborate, hand-engraved filigree, graceful and exuberant, purely decorative, and destined to be — literally — locked away from public view, for the decoration is all on the inside. But that’s not the amazing thing. The amazing thing is that the doors have slightly different patterns. One is based on oak leaves. The other is based on maple leaves. It’s as if some craftsperson said back in 1912: these two doors for the job at 204 Fifth Avenue, are they right next to each other? I’d better make sure they’re different. The vault doors would work just fine without any decoration at all, of course. That makes the gift ever more special.

Style as style.

This essay was commissioned by Julia Hoffmann and Joe Marianek for the 2013 School of Visual Arts Senior Library, a book celebrating the best work of that year’s graduating class


All Eyes on View
Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 01:55 am › Steven Heller


You may have seen View magazine before. It is not one of the forgotten ones. It is a legendary one that is always interesting to revisit. It was edited by John Henri Ford, a surrealist poet from Mississippi. View included writing and art by Paul Bowles, Philip Lamantia, Harold Rosenberg, Aaron Copland, and Marcel Duchamp, among others. The issue below with Duchamp’s cover is devoted to the artist who designed the collage pages inside. The Morris Hirshfield primitive covers an issue on “The Macabre.” And look at the advertisement below for The New School art classes—some great teachers made the grade.

The following text is excerpted from my book Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century:

View: Through the Eyes of Poet’s New York’s first Surrealist journal appeared in September 1940 as a six-page tabloid. Edited by poet Charles Henri Ford, the former American editor for the London Bulletin, the British surrealist revue published by the London Gallery between 1938 and 1940, View’s mission for its seven year duration (36 numbers in 32 issues) was to fill the void of European avant garde periodicals that ceased with the war. Ford positioned his publication between the “little magazine” transition (the vanguard journal edited in Paris by Eugene Jolas and Elliot Paul between 1927 and 1938) and Minotaure. After View’s 1941 “Surrealist issue” edited by Nicolas Calas it became the most important American surrealist publication, featuring text and visual contributions from all the principles in the circle.



By 1943 View shifted from the tabloid to a more standard magazine format printed on slick paper with full color covers and the occasional gatefold. This increased the financial burden of production that the maximum 3000 paid circulation did not cover, so to maintain a regular quarterly publishing schedule Ford accepted relatively expensive advertisements for fashions and perfumes, among those already for books, periodicals, and other cultural events. Associate editor, Parker Tyler was in charge of View’s typography and graphic design and produced a highly sophisticated graphic persona on a par with Minotaure and yet unique to View. The covers created by Surrealist standard bearers, Andre Masson, Man Ray, Kurt Seligmann, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as other modern artists, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, and Georgia O’Keeffe, were the most adventuresome of any American magazine. Moreover, these were not paintings arbitrarily placed on the covers but images designed especially for this venue. Occasionally, the common View masthead (set in a Bodoni typeface) was designed by the cover artist: Isamu Noguchi’s 1946 cover is a superb example of this transformation: Here the letters of View are sculptural elements reading diagonally down the page and bracketing the sculpture is the centerpiece of the cover.

View covered the Dada experience and introduced the key surrealists to New York. Andre Breton’s first American interview was published here. An entire issue (1942) was devoted to Max Ernst with article on him by Breton; and a spectacular issue (1945) featured Duchamp, complete with layouts designed by the artist — this being the first monograph ever published of his work. An essay by Peter Lindamood describes the technical machinations involved in, and thereby demystifies, the creation of Duchamp’s View cover, a montage of a smoking wine bottle. He explained how this master of “art-plumbing expediency” rigged up a smoke pipe under the bottle and then manipulated the various halftone layers to achieve the desired effect. In this and other articles View gave Surrealist art a human context that was curiously absent in the pseudo-scientific and hyper analytic writing found in the earlier European journals.

Coverage of the European vanguard was only a part of the editorial menu. Ford felt a duty to bridge the transatlantic gap by bringing Americans into the Surrealist fold and in 1943 View was the first to publish Joseph Cornell’s earliest “found art” compositions (“The Crystal Cage: Portrait of Berenice”). It gave outlet to the emerging American vanguard writers and artist-writers, including Henry Miller, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Alexander Calder, and others. But Ford also published the naïve and self-taught Surrealists, notably the African-American artist Paul Childs. Morris Hirshfield, whose beguilingly detailed and folk paintings were discovered by Sidney Janis in the thirties, was also part of the View community. Hirshfield’s 1945 cover intricately rendered cover of a cleverly veiled nude was surrealism at its most slyly innocent.



View celebrated the artist as visionary and Surrealism as a wellspring of artistic eccentricity. In its role as avant garde seer the magazine overstepped the bounds of propriety, and therefore in 1944 was banned by the U.S. Postal Service presumably for publishing nudes by Picasso and Michelangelo. However, despite its confrontational stance and the debates about Marxism, Communism, and Trotskyism that were carried on in European Surrealist circles, View did not advocate ideological political activity, but rather supported the right of individual artistic freedom – and eclecticism. “View’s editors thought it delusional to believe that art could ever serve any cause other than its own,” wrote Catrina Neiman in View: Parade of the Avant-Garde (Thunder Mouth Press, New York, 1991), who further notes while certain poets of the day urged opposition to the inevitable world war, “View printed no editorials denouncing the war.” Though it did maintain a pacifist stance that supported conscientious objection.

View caused its share of acrimony among the skirmishing groups who sought dominance for their respective art forms. Surrealism was not universally admired, and The Partisan Review, a left-leaning intellectual journal, declared that Surrealism was both decadent and dead, endorsed abstract art as the new avant garde art. This was no mere preferential disagreement but a contest for what genre and which artists would dominate the museums, galleries, and private collections. View tried to preserve Surrealism’s importance and so ignored competing arts. Yet this advocacy was not so much militancy over an ideological cause, but a campaign for the hegemony of style.

View was a significant outlet for Surrealism it was also uncommitted to the movement as a “party,” and thus became an instrument for popularizing the avant garde. Surrealism as a style was, no pun intended, ready-made as an advertising trope. “Ford did not disdain commercial avenues of support,” states Catrina Neiman, “…on the contrary, he knew not only how to navigate capitalism but hoe to appreciate (appropriate) its imagery, namely through the lens of camp, a ‘view’ that converged with surrealism then and with Pop Art twenty years later.” Despite the paid advertising, however, View ceased publishing in 1949.

For more Steven Heller, check out The Education of an Art Director—one of the many Heller titles available at

Categories: Daily Heller, Steven Heller
Tags: Daily Heller, Steven Heller, View magazine

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