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This Week’s Triptych Artist: Hung Viet Nguyen

Artist Hung Viet Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1957. He studied Biology at Science University in Saigon, Vietnam, then transitioned to working as an illustrator, graphic artist and designer since settlement in the U.S. in 1982. He developed his artistry skills independently, studying many traditional Eastern and Western forms, media and techniques. Nguyen’s complex, labor intensive investigations of oil paint reveal a methodical mastery of texture. While portions of Nguyen’s work suggest the influence of many traditional art forms including woodblock prints, Oriental scroll paintings, ceramic art, mosaic, and stained glass, his ultimate expression asserts a contemporary pedigree.

LAUNCH LA is currently exhibiting Hung Viet Nguyen’s work from December 13 to January 17, 2015. The following is from their press release: “LAUNCH LA is proud to present Sacred Landscape by Hung Viet Nguyen. Sacred Landscape is a collection of landscapes of almost mystical serenity, fusing Nguyen’s schooling in the Eastern and Western painterly arts. Water swirls from heights, turns and levitates, the earth and rocks curve and twist into sinuous shapes: opposing landscapes threaten to collide and merge, or perhaps are frozen in separation like cells in mitosis.”

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larb blog dinah

The LARB End-of-Year Editor Interviews: Dinah Lenney

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. They’re an eclectic bunch, each with their own projects and day jobs. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, they rely on the donations of our readership, and we hope you’ll consider giving this month. This one is with Dinah Lenney, our Senior Creative Nonfiction Editor. 

Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?

So let’s see — it was over a year ago now. I was in the middle of writing a piece for LARB, working with Tom’s notes and having a blast with the revision — as I recall we were on the phone, fussing and tweaking, when he asked if I’d consider editing some nonfiction. I wasn’t sure at first, but Tom is very convincing, isn’t he? He made it sound like it would be fun — and so it is. Fun and fascinating and addictive in its way. And what do I do? Well, I assign and edit under the “creative nonfiction” umbrella — not the best term, I don’t suppose, but the one most people sort of understand, right? And I should say, too, there’s so much of it out there — memoir, long and short form essay, hybrid forms — just no way to cover it all — no way to know about it all. Continue reading

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The East (Side) is Red

By James Carter

The Grolier Club, sitting today in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States, just around the corner from Park Avenue in Manhattan, was established in 1884 “to foster the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper.” One of the club’s tenets is that it embraces the power of the book, and rejects the notion that the future of the printed page is jeopardized by new technology or social convention. In keeping with that spirit, the current show celebrates one of the most powerful uses of the printed page in recent history, Mao’s “Little Red Book,” a work officially titled Quotations From Chairman Mao (毛主席语). This is the book that launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and took Mao’s cult of personality to unprecedented heights. The Grolier Club exhibit devoted to it — “Quotations From Chairman Mao: 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 1964-2014. From the Collection of Justin G. Schiller” — runs until January 10, 2015. Continue reading

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This Week’s Triptych Artist: Charles Irvin

Charles Irvin received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, White Columns in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg. Upcoming shows include a solo show at Truth and Consequences in Geneva and a group show at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. See more at charlesirvin.com.

red totem, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 62x42 in.

red totem, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 62×42 in.

Green Genie, 2014, Medium Oil on canvas, Dimensions 36 x 30 inches

Green Genie, 2014, Medium Oil on canvas, Dimensions 36 x 30 inches

Mini Green totem, 2014, acrylic on paper, 15x11in.

Mini Green totem, 2014, acrylic on paper, 15x11in.

All photos by Lee Thompson.

larb blog arne

The LARB Editor End-of-Year Interviews: Arne de Boever

Editor’s Note: This is the third interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. They’re an eclectic bunch, each with their own projects and day jobs. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, they rely on the donations of our readership, and we hope you’ll consider giving this month. This one is with Arne de Boever, our Philosophy/Critical Theory Editor. 

Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?

Arne:  I became involved with LARB in the early days of the review, when Executive Editor Jonathan Hahn asked me to write something for the review’s old website. I’d just moved from New York to Los Angeles to take up a teaching position in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. Shortly after that, I sat down with Tom Lutz to discuss the possibility of a philosophy/critical theory section in LARB. He didn’t need much convincing. He asked me why LARB should have such a section. I made my pitch (I think it may have involved Adorno and Hollywood). He simply told me to go set it up. That part of the conversation probably took less than five minutes. Continue reading

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A Letter from LARB Board Member Reza Aslan

There is nothing quite like the Los Angeles Review of Books. It is as lively, creative, innovative, and full of new ideas as the city itself. Like the city, it has become a home for contributors that span the globe, from right here in Los Angeles to New York, Beijing, Gaza, Mumbai, Myanmar, Cairo, Madrid, Paris, the list goes on. In the past month alone, LARB has covered writers from all over the world, including English novelist Martin Amis, Mexican-American poet Denise Chavez, Italian artist Matteo Pericoli, and Australian former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as well as Scottish wordsmith Ali Smith right back to hometown Los Angeles resident Janet Fitch. LARB is read in all 50 states and in more than 150 countries, making it a truly global forum.

But where the Los Angeles Review of Books triumphs most is in its diversity of opinion. You may not always agree with the pieces you read, but they will always be worth your time. They will be thought-provoking, stirring, and sometimes just plain fun.

I joined the board of the Los Angeles Review of Books because I believe in its mission – because I wanted to show my support for independent publishing at a time when it couldn’t be more important to do so.

LARB is reader-supported: it only exists thanks to the generosity of everyday readers like us. That’s why this is such an important time to show your support. The Goldhirsh Foundation and an anonymous donor have generously offered $75,000 in matching grants to help keep LARB strong in the new year. To receive the $75,000, we need to raise $75,000, and we only have until January 1 to do it. So, today, I appeal to you, donate what you can. We have a collective responsibility to keep this organization strong for the sake of independent journalism, and for the exchange of ideas. Theirs is our fight, too.

Sincerely,
Reza Aslan

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The LARB End-of-Year Editor Interviews: Lisa Levy

Editor’s Note: This is the second interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. They’re an eclectic bunch, each with their own projects and day jobs. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, they rely on the donations of our readership, and we hope you’ll consider giving this month. This one is with Lisa Levy, our Mystery and Noir Editor.

Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?

I have been writing for LARB for a couple of years. I just liked what LARB was doing, and cold pitched Arne (our Philosophy and Critical Theory Editor) and that was that. My first piece was for Arne and Evan on Susan Sontag’s journals, and I enjoyed working with them so much I wrote two or three more pieces for them. After my piece on Alain de Botton, which got some attention, Tom emailed me a very gracious note and basically said I could write whatever I wanted for LARB, which was a really lovely gesture. Continue reading

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Need to Brush Up On Your Typing Skills? Tom Hanks Is Here to Help

Tom Hanks is a long time supporter of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

A typewriter enthusiast, he’s casting his vote for LARB during our matching grant fund drive by offering this beautiful Olivetti-Underwood (Serial# 627192) to a lucky recipient who gives $250 or more to help us meet our fund drive goal.

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Donate $250 before Friday at 5:00 PM pacific. We’ll randomly select one lucky recipient after the deadline passes!

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Finding the Monkey King in Mong Kok

By Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Note: All photos were taken in Mong Kok on the morning of November 8. The drawing in the center shows Hong Kong’s widely disliked Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, derided by critics as “The Wolf,” threatening protesters, represented by the movement’s iconic yellow umbrellas, and has a caption reading: “We need a democratic government NOT a violent one.”

There are many obvious differences between the headline-making events associated with Hong Kong and Ferguson. Let’s begin with a basic fact: there have been injuries but no deaths linked to the Umbrella Movement. In addition, while protests have erupted both on Hong Kong Island itself and across the harbor in Kowloon, there have been no actions in even the nearest mainland cities, such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. This contrasts sharply with the situation in the United States, where demonstrations broke out from Los Angeles to New York City to express outrage over the Grand Jury’s verdict not to put the Ferguson police officer responsible for Michael Brown’s death on trial.   Continue reading

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The LARB End-of-Year Editor Interviews: Anne Elizabeth Moore

Editor’s Note: This is the first interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. They’re an eclectic bunch, each with their own projects and day jobs. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, they rely on the donations of our readership, and we hope you’ll consider giving this month. This first one is with Anne Elizabeth Moore, our Comics editor.

Jacob: Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?

I founded the Best American Comics series for Houghton Mifflin and used to edit The Comics Journal and Punk Planet, at which I focused on comics fairly substantially, and since there aren’t a ton of other people in the world who’ve edited comics and comics criticism for a wide literary audience, I called Tom up when the former editor left. As I recall he said, “Who else could do it?” I took it as an endorsement, and not an act of desperation.  Continue reading