A Self-Evident Truth
“For milk to become yogurt, it needs culture.”
—Willem de Kooning
In Germany, under Hitler’s regime, artistic expression was banished as a form of Bolshevism. In Russia, under Stalin, it was denounced as “bourgeoius cosmopolitanism”. In mid-50s America, Abstract Expressionists met with aggressive censorship by members of the House Un-American Activities Committee. More recently, in October of 1999, Rudy Giuliani threatened to cut off city funding for the Brooklyn Museum because he deemed a painting in one of its shows to be “offensive.” And last month, Governor George Pataki issued highly publicized threats against the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center for their display of “anti-American art.”
History has not been kind to those who attack the creative spirit. Nor should it be. Freedom of expression is our birthright as Americans. And so we dedicate this issue to all our comrades in this genuinely patriotic “war for freedom.” All of us here at the Rail wish you a great summer!
Domenico Starnone’s The House on Via GemitoBy John Domini
JUNE 2023 | Books
In his homeland, Domenico Starnone⎯born and raised in Naples⎯may have enjoyed his greatest success with The House on Via Gemito. Hes formidably productive, also a journalist and screenwriter, but this 2001 novel took home the Strega, Italys highest honor. Now its at last out in English, and if you ask me, the book deserves more of the same.
Forecast FormBy Gervais Marsh
MARCH 2023 | ArtSeen
Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora 1990s to Today weaves a far richer conversation that explores a multitude of distinct voices.
Embracing Mist: The Questions, Not Answers, Grey House ProposesBy Billy McEntee
MAY 2023 | Theater
Grey is an apt qualifier for the house in Levi Holloways play. For one, like Holloways ghost story, the color is eerie; the hue is associated with fog, drear, and mystery. But grey also suggests a vague middle ground, neither black nor white. En route to her fathers home, Max (Tatiana Maslany) and her husband Henry (Paul Sparks) are driving between two placeswherever they came from and wherever they are heading, locations that are never fully defined. The house they stumble into is an in-between.
Tall HouseBy Sabo Kpade
NOV 2022 | Critics Page
From the grounds of Kennington Park, Jebo could see the top eight floors of Shellington House cast against the late afternoon sun. It would take careful looking to pick out his room on the twelfth floor. He stared hard but with no luck. Except for the pair of balconies on either side of each floor, there were no clear demarcations between the flats. To stare was a task. Squinting didnt help. He recalled Richard Serras phrase with unusual clarity: The act of seeing, and the concentration of seeing, takes effort.