Previously at the ICA - Events
26 Sep 2017
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Chris Kraus’s new book After Kathy Acker chronicles the life of postmodern novelist, playwright and poet Kathy Acker. Twenty years after her untimely death at age 50, Acker’s influential cultural presence is still felt through the confessional yet disorienting collage of her writing, and the accumulated myths around her life that she herself perpetuated.
In After Kathy Acker, Kraus navigates these myths through the gathering of testimonies and meticulous archival research, sketching an 'apocryphal allegory of an artistic life in the late twentieth century'. The biography is equally inflected by uncanny overlaps in Kraus and Acker’s lives – shared friendships, lovers, and artistic ambitions. In Kraus’s words, she began writing about Acker 'through the distance, but with this incredible frisson of feeling that often I could write "I" instead of "she."'
This event sees Kraus in conversation with writer and poet Paul Buck, who struck up a friendship with Acker in the early 1980s during a period before she moved to live in London. Marking the launch of After Kathy Acker, this discussion also features readings by Kraus from the biography alongside video excerpts documenting Acker’s own reflections on her writing and unconventional creative processes. The event marks the initiation of a long-term research project on Acker that culminates in an exhibition at the ICA in early 2019.
Chris Kraus is the author of I Love Dick, the cult bestseller described by the Guardian as 'the most important book about men and women written in the last century'. She is also the author of three novels—Aliens and Anorexia, Torpor and Summer of Hate—and two books of cultural criticism. She was a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and teaches writing at European Graduate School.
Paul Buck is a British poet, performer and author of more than fifty books. He has been challenging notions of writing, narrative, and the limits of the feasible since the late 1960s in books like The Honeymoon Killers, Violations, Lust and Walking into Myself. Editor of Curtains magazine through the 1970s, he introduced many French authors to an English audience. His 2004 book Spread Wide builds on raw materials from his correspondence with Acker.