Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004: The Joy of Cooking

Tan Lin, Author . Wesleyan Univ. $50 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8195-6928-8

Lin writes provocative prose poems, fragments of arguments designed to persuade readers (or designed not to persuade them) that art should be relaxingly meaningless, that “literature should function as a pattern with a label on it, like the lines in a parking lot at the local A&P,” that writing should be like “a waiting area, time slot, universal market/ currency.” Lin also writes fragments of memoirs, as when he remembers his first adult years in New York. He takes seriously our postmodern condition, accepting and even celebrating the idea that we ourselves are manufactured, synthetic, interchangeable, or else that we would like to be that way. Always conscious of the physical form of a book, Lin interrupts his texts not only with photographs, nearly blank pages and diagrams, but with the front and back matter of “normal” books (acknowledgments, permissions page). Lin is also a gallery artist with a heady record of site-specific and video works, and this new volume owes much to gallery art; its high-concept fun and its serious provocations should get much attention from the proponents of conceptualism and the wider audience for pranks, provocations, and challenges of any artful sort. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-8195-6929-5
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8195-6988-2
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