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Don’t Stop: Neophilia, Niche War, Expert Boxes, The Superbody, and Networking the Middle Class

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Courtesy Triple Canopy

“Don’t Stop” is a one-night event about the language of the early 1990s.

This series of readings and performances by writers and artists will explore writing in the US from 1992–96, just before the 1996 publication of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, that brilliant and dystopian summation of a technophilic, drugged North America, in which time itself receives corporate sponsorship. The 1992 election and early Clinton years clearly mark a shift in mood; the ’80s were over, but what exactly did this mean? As the US approached the day in 1996 on which Bill Clinton would proclaim that “even my cat has its own [web] page,” how were audiences for cultural content being formed and informed, by which technologies and which actors?

Participants in “Don’t Stop” select a text, published during the years 1992–96, from which they read or to which they respond with a short text of their own devising. Television and film scripts, song lyrics, found text, and tabloid prose exist alongside classic ’90s novels and poetry.

The Lineup

Actor Jim Fletcher will give a reading.

Artist Ben Gocker will read letters from the Brooklyn Public Library archive of librarian John Alfred Avant.

Writers Matthew Shen Goodman and Paul Legault will present “Burial of the Nickelodeon Time Capsule 4/30/92 c. Nickelodeon/Viacom 1992,” an investigative look at GAK as controlled substance, Christopher Lloyd impersonators, and the First World Headquarters for Kids.

Poet Harmony Holiday will present on the Los Angeles riots and high-profile courtroom dramas involving black males—Clarence Thomas, Marion Barry, O.J. Simpson—which cases were an opiate and a catalyst for anxieties of the era.

Artist Claire Lehmann will survey ’90s gender wars and the chatter surrounding the sudden curtailment of John and Lorena Bobbitt’s marriage, via imagery sourced from the archives of Bobbitt’s urological surgeon.

Artist Jennifer Sullivan will perform a mashup of Riot Grrrl text and Madonna’s Sex.

Artist Martha Wilson will present Barbara Bush’s current reflections upon the Culture Wars of the late ’80s and ’90s, now that her son George is an artist.

Writer and editor Rebecca Wolff will perform a traditional rock song by the transitional rock band Stone Temple Pilots, and offer comments on her own performance.

Writer and Triple Canopy editor Lucy Ives will host.

Sponsors

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Fund.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

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