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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for the 'Alexander' Category

Christ the King National Park

April 1st, 2013

BY OWEN ALEXANDER

It’s no surprise, the way things are these days, that the legislation got through Congress. The choice of site — Russell City, California — was highly controversial at the time, with court challenges already threatened. The atheists swarmed out of the woodwork to be counted. The Jews put up a big stink. It’s all history now. The monument, the park, exists, just like any other, under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department. There were attacks in the vestigial liberal press, pros and cons, guarded elation in other quarters. This is all chaff in the wind, irrelevant. What do people really think? First, the visitors’ book.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Alexander | Link to this Entry

Artspeak

July 1st, 2012

BY OWEN ALEXANDER

[It] isn’t writing at all — it’s typing.
— Truman Capote on Beat Generation writers

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
— John Kenneth Galbraith

More than twenty years ago I bought a dandy little book called Artspeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, by Robert Atkins. I bought it more as a curiosity than a reference, but over the succeeding years, I’ve found its categories and definitions accurate, despite the shifting nature of the art world.

Of course, it could use considerable updating; since its publication in 1989, a number of new terms have made their way into the mainstream of art journalism: Neo-pop, SoFlo Superflat, Steampunk, and Stuckism, to name only a few. As in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, where Wikipedia lists more than 200 “rock genres,” one suspects that nearly every artist or rock group constitutes a movement. One feels confident that “death metal,” “punk rock,” and “stoner rock” cover a multitude of practitioners, but “Grebo,” “Zeuhl,” and “Crustgrind”?

In the expansive world of the contemporary visual arts, the mere conferring of a label on an artist is less a gimmick than a form of validation. To belong to a group is to belong. Among the so-called artists who are also charlatans, such labeling is welcome: it brings them into the fold. But serious-minded artists, even ones whose works are bogus, have always tended to resist being labeled, despite the “honor.” They want to believe that labels ignore their work’s originality.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Alexander | Link to this Entry

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Owen Alexander is Black Lamb’s Managing Editor and also contributes occasional book reviews to the magazine.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Alexander | Link to this Entry

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