David Antin Radical Coherency: Selected Essays on Art and Literature, 1966 to 2005 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011) (detail of cover pictured)
reviewed by Douglas Messerli
One of the first things anyone approaching David Antin's marvelous new collection of essays on art and literature will notice is the striking image on the book's cover, a photograph that depicts David Antin, looking perhaps a bit more Buddha-like than in does in real-life, walking toward another image of himself, this from the back side of the face. There is something arresting about this image, even a bit eerie, but I made little of it when I first saw it, except to register that it represented an image of the author, symbolically speaking, of 1966 coming towards his current being. A few friends, however, found that image quite disturbing, one suggesting he had to keep the book face down on his coffee table. Perhaps it was just the oddity of having a photograph, which we associate with the real world, representing something that we know cannot truly happen, one aspect of self meeting up with the other.
It's hard to imagine Kenny didn't write the script for this himself; but let me take that back, he did. A marvelous moment in the history of what Al Filreis calls "anticommunist antimodernism." Right-wing talk show host Michael Savage takes the bait, hook, line and stinker. The best such event since Fox news attacked George Kuchar for advocating bestiality in Thundercrack (did they not realize that was George in gorilla costume, not a real gorilla). But now: Kenny is our guerrilla warrior.