Humankind’s first and most essential dichotomy—that we are created in two natures, male and female—has fascinated artists for millenia. Each sex has suggested different powers and lures over the ages, but perhaps no era has explored the spectrum of gender with its nuances and variety as ours has.
The interview took place on August 25, 1998, in the living room of Madonna's duplex apartment on Central Park West. The space is large and imposingly formal, with oversize deco armchairs and a plush sofa across the room from a fireplace flanked by shelves that are empty save for a few deco vases and some art books.
Here is a short book entitled 200 Women. Its prurience, considerable, is lexical and syntactic. Who is the subject? Who is the object? For an 8mm animation course in the mountains I drew a cut-out of Mae West and filmed her walking across a blank sheet of paper.
He’s a comfortably stout man in a thick wool jacket, starched white collar, striped trousers underneath what appear to be waders, with a wool cape draped over his left shoulder. Atop his pale white head sits a wool cap; a neatly groomed moustache decorates his elegant, rather serious face.
A letter from Russell Edson, the fabulist, invariably contains some somber reminder: “There’s always next year, until there’s not. I don’t think we would need to take our shoes off to count them.” So, now the obituary pages of The New York Times give us Harry Morey Callahan (1912-1999), photographer, born in Detroit.
Calcutta, Kashmir, Bombay, the Ganges, Kerala: they’re among the subjects of the twelve photographic books that Raghubir Singh published before he died, suddenly, last April. Many years earlier, he once showed me some razor sharp images of interiors he shot with Kodachrome 25—his film of choice—in low light.
VINCE ALETTI, formerly a music critic for Rolling Stone, and a columnist at Cream, Crawdaddy, Fusion, and Record World, is currently the photo critic at the Village Voice as well as the paper’s art editor. A professor at City University of New York Graduate School, WAYNE KOESTENBAUM recently published his third book of poetry, The Milk of Inquiry.