In celebration of Anne Lesley Selcer’s new book
Blank Sign Book: Eleven Essays on Beauty, Invisibility, Formlessness, Abjection, and Political Emotion
Published by Wolfman Books
Saturday, June 1
Blank Sign Book is a collection of essays on art, artists, beauty, and politics by the poet and art writer, Anne Lesley Selcer. A selection of Selcer’s ranging expositions and guided interrogations into the communicative gestures of art, the book navigates the maelstrom of image-rich contemporary culture through the work of Ana Mendieta, The Otolith Group, Juliana Huxtable, Dolores Dorantes, Janet Cardiff, Ragnar Kjartansson, and more.
Rooted in the work of feminist, queer, and postcolonial cultural theorists from Susan Sontag to Saidiya Hartman to Lisa Robertson and Micha Cárdenas, the essays consider protest, Afro-pessimism, gentrification, spectacle, trauma, beauty, surveillance, gender, the agora, and the artist's place in political change. They explore questions of beauty’s relevance to revolt, resonance as a modality of undermining power, and art’s capacity to reflect and subvert communal and generational trauma. With lyricism, incisive clarity and a deep commitment to the power of art and artists as a vehicle for experimental advocacy and radical insight, Blank Sign Book displays Selcer’s capacious and assiduous grasp as an art writer and cultural thinker to be read for decades to come.
Tom Comitta is the author of ◯ (Ugly Ducking Presse), Airport Novella (Troll Thread) and First Thought Worst Thought: Collected Books 2011-2014 (Gauss PDF), a digital and print archive of the 40 books he produced in four years. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB, Fence, BAX 2020 and New American Writing, with two poems in The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing), an international anthology surveying the “rise of concrete poetry in the digital age.” He is currently at work on a collage novel, The Nature Book.