From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      Richard Billingham
      Untitled #12, from the series Black Country
      2003
      Color lightjet print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper mounted on aluminum, framed
      44 x 54 inches
      Courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London
      © Richard Billingham

      A fascinating group of features in this issue cluster loosely around the concept of “damaged romanticism,” as Blaffer Gallery puts it in the title of its current exhibition. In her review of Damaged Romanticism at the Blaffer, Allison Myers suggests that the concept revolves around a “mix of emotionality and disillusionment—a mix that bridges the gap between the romantic and the realistic.” After reading Allison’s review, I began to see much of the other work discussed in this issue in light of this marriage of brokenness and beauty.

      Kate Watson’s piece on The Marfa Sessions at the Ballroom—and on Marfa more broadly—captured, for me, a subtle disquiet lurking behind the romantic art world destination and expressed through the static and distortion she encountered in so many of the sound works installed there now. When an art boom brings a dying town back to life, when swank galleries and restaurants begin to populate a low income neighborhood, could it be that damaged romanticism captures the enchantment, but also the pain, of these processes? I haven’t seen it yet, but I imagine that Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s Grand Paris Texas, which they discuss in an interview in this issue, might speak to such a damaged romanticism.

      Other reviews in this issue also sparked connections in my mind to damaged romanticism, though somewhat more tangentially: Katie Anania’s discussion of the iconic conceptual artwork as a relic and the viewer as a pilgrim, Alvero Ibarra’s description of Lupita Murillo Tinnen’s work, and Wendy Atwell’s investigation of chocolate’s seduction.

      Our next issue will follow felicitously on the heels of damaged romanticism: politics. Coming out on October 31st, a matter of days before the election, the issue will include reviews of a variety of artist’s web projects and current exhibitions having to do with artists’ activism and the big themes of this year’s American presidential campaigns: the economy, labor, race and the war, among others.

      Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

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