The End of Beauty

Documents & Failures

On thinking

It is the law to think now. To think becomes the law, the dream of young and old alike moving together where the dark masses grow confused. We must drink the confusion, sample that other, concerted, dark effort that pushes not to the light, but toward a draft of dank, clammy air. We have broken through into the meaning of the tomb. But the act is still proposed, before us,

it needs pronouncing.

John Asbhery. Three Poems. 1972.

Sergei Osipov. Cornflowers. 1976.

Sergei Osipov. Cornflowers. 1976.

Richard Avedon. from In the American West. 1985.

Richard Avedon. from In the American West. 1985.

"What does it mean to belong to a land? For those of us who live away from our private history, the question never ends."

— Etel Adnan. Sea and Fog. 2012.

Young George Oppen is rather handsome. 
Is it bad that I’m surprised? 

Young George Oppen is rather handsome. 

Is it bad that I’m surprised? 

Paul Klee. Angelus Novus. Oil transfer and water colour on paper. 1920. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 
Walter Benjamin on the angel of history:

A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

from “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” First published in German in 1950. Translated by Harry Zohn. 1968.

Paul Klee. Angelus Novus. Oil transfer and water colour on paper. 1920. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 

Walter Benjamin on the angel of history:

A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

from “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” First published in German in 1950. Translated by Harry Zohn. 1968.

Etel Adnan. 2012. 

Etel Adnan. 2012. 

"I prefer to become foreign and unknowable to myself in accordance with reading’s audacity."

— Lisa Robertson. “Time in the Codex.” Nilling. Book Thug, 2012.

Kurt Vonnegut. Untitled. 1987.
More here

Kurt Vonnegut. Untitled. 1987.

More here

"From early on I have suspected that the so important-sounding task “Know thyself” is a ruse of a cabal of priests. They are trying to seduce man from activity in the outside world, to distract him with impossible demands; they seek to draw him into a false inner contemplation. Man only knows himself insofar as he knows the world—the world which he only comes to know in himself and himself only in it."

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe