Lunar Follies

Lunar Follies

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by Gilbert Sorrentino

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A richly entertaining journey through the vagaries of the art world, narrated by an acutely insightful raconteur.See more details below


A richly entertaining journey through the vagaries of the art world, narrated by an acutely insightful raconteur.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers skeptical of (but intrigued by) conceptual and installation art will enjoy this clever parodic take on the contemporary art world. In fake reviews, lists of found objects, profiles, photo captions and catalogue copy-each named for moon landmarks ("Sea of Rains," "Straight Wall," "Lake of Dreams," etc.)-Sorrentino (Little Casino) satirizes the esoteric works found on the cultural cutting edge. He skewers highfalutin academic language ("These familiar geometrical shapes function as footnotes or marginalia, of course"), targets fashion magazines featuring models in $900 "food-encrusted" sweaters from stores with names like "Suck-Egg Mule" and pokes fun at galleries by listing works they've inexplicably rejected, then displayed, including "Myrna Felt Like Undressing for the Conductor" by Yolanda Philippo and "Bottle of Worcestershire Sauce" by Raoul. But like the neon sculptures he playfully derides, Sorrentino belongs to the avant-garde: there's no narrative here, nor are there central characters. Instead, there's a dead-on appropriation of the pretentious critic's voice, which analyzes "qualities that insist on the absence that is within the implied absence of the brick pile itself" and an exquisite attention to detail within the fakery. This proves an intimate knowledge of the subject being mocked; beneath his loving, blustery banter, Sorrentino clearly values the rights of artists to push the limits of audience expectation-and patience. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Sorrentino has long occupied a unique position between modernism and postmodernism, writing brilliant avant-garde poetry and prose while lampooning avant-garde cultural excesses. His latest novel (after Splendide Hatel) is a satirical pastiche of 53 "reviews" of the Manhattan art scene named after geographical features of the moon. The reviews range from faux exhibition catalog texts and press releases to litanies, prose poems, and flash fiction. In Sorrentino's own words, this work might be described as "a somewhat banjaxed and vafuncled series of halfhearted alarums the shifting, flexible, endlessly variegated piece." Some "characters" alluded to are real artists and writers, some are entirely fictitious, and others are thinly veiled parodies. Can a two-page list of paintings and artists rejected by a gallery, for instance, really be considered literary fiction? Yes, hilariously so. Some pieces, e.g., "Eastern Sea," "Sea of Clouds," and "Moscow Sea," look like multiple-page run-on sentences, but if you use the semicolons as line breaks and read them aloud they are lyrical found poems. Savor this book, which is highly recommended for medium to large academic and public libraries.-Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Coffee House Press
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