Part of our new series Print Screen, this reading, screening, and discussion launches The Argonauts, the latest work by Maggie Nelson (Bluets, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning). Part intimate memoir, part bracingly intelligent essay, the book looks through and beyond the language we use to speak about gender, sexuality, difference, and queer family-making. Nelson will read from her new book and introduce a screening of three recent works of performative video art: You Will Never Be a Woman. You Must Live The Rest of your Days Entirely As a Man and You Will Only Grow More Masculine With Every Passing Year. There is No Way Out by A.L. Steiner and Zackary Drucker, with Van Barnes and Mariah Garnett (2008), Untitled (Agua Viva) by Dylan Mira (2013), and The Time-Eaters by Harry Dodge (2014). Following the screening, Nelson will join her partner Harry Dodge––who helped to curate this event––onstage for a discussion, with a book signing to follow. Presented in collaboration with McNally Jackson Books.
“I’ve chosen these three pieces because each focuses on language—be it that of self-preserving, sexual insult as exchanged by two trans-identified people (You Will Never Be a Woman); that of literature, here placed into funny, fraught circulation amongst father, mother, and daughter (Untitled (Agua Viva)); or that of scripted, comedic monologue, here delivered by an ambiguously gendered guide to a newly minted human (The Time-Eaters). In each case, the flow of language is inextricable from the spectacle (or the predicament, or the excitement) of the bodies who speak it, whether it’s the naked, intertwined bodies of You Will Never Be a Woman, the ailing, bedridden body of the father in Untitled (Agua Viva), or the itinerant, ‘buddy’ bodies of The Time-Eaters. I might also add that, in distinct ways, each movie ends up being about love.” —Maggie Nelson
“In The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson turns ‘making the personal public’ into a romantic, intellectual wet dream. A gorgeous book, inventive, fearless, and full of heart.” —Kim Gordon
“Maggie Nelson cuts through our culture’s prefabricated structures of thought and feeling with an intelligence whose ferocity is ultimately in the service of love. No piety is safe, no orthodoxy, no easy irony. The scare quotes burn off like fog.” —Ben Lerner
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, scholar, and nonfiction writer. She is the author of five books of nonfiction, including the forthcoming The Argonauts; The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011), which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Bluets (Wave Books, 2009), named by Bookforum as one of the best books of the past two decades; The Red Parts (Free Press, 2007); and a critical study of painting and poetry titled Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions. Her books of poetry include Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull Press, 2005). She received a 2012 Creative Capital Literature Fellowship, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and an Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant. She currently teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts and lives in Los Angeles.
You Will Never Be a Woman. You Must Live The Rest of your Days Entirely As a Man and You Will Only Grow More Masculine With Every Passing Year. There is No Way Out.
A.L. Steiner and Zackary Drucker, with Van Barnes and Mariah Garnett, USA, 2008, digital projection, 9m
Untitled (Agua Viva)
Dylan Mira, USA, 2013, digital projection, 13m
Harry Dodge, USA, 2013, digital projection, 41m