ESSAY: Charles Bernstein – A+/-G


A +/ G

Shusaku Arakawa (1936-2010) – Madeline Gins (1941-2014)

by Charles Bernstein

A+-G sliceIn this essay Charles Bernstein sets A+G within the context of their American art/poetry contemporaries, refusing the brilliant duo’s isolation in a romantic exceptionalism pegged to speculative philosophy. Referencing Deleuze, Nietzsche, (or Blake), OK, but more relevantly Hannah Weiner, Richard Foreman and Ron Silliman, Leslie Scalapino, Robert Grenier, Joseph Kosuth, Eva Hesse, and Jackson Mac Low, Robert Smithson, Philip Guston, and Wallace Berman.

This essay was written before the deaths of Arakawa and Madeline and is published here as eulogy. The first half is based on Charles Bernstein’s talk at the Arakawa and Gins conference at Barnard College in May 2009, which Madeline attended, and which Arakawa was then too sick to attend (dying of ALS later that year).


The second part was written in 1999 as the final part of an essay (which also included a discussion of Blake) for Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print, ed. Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux and Neil Fraisat (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002).  The final “not … but” section was adapted for the preface to With Strings (Chicago, 2001) and the essay collected, without the part used in the preface, in Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essay & Inventions (University of Chicago Press, 2011).

It is published on permission of the author in conjunction with The Proceeding Procedure. Ed.