Steve Reinke is one of the most intriguing artists we’ve got; his scope is enormous, his imagination absolutely singular. His video art – The Hundred Videos, Anthology of American Folk Song, Anal Masturbation and Object Loss – practically define the genre. His drawings, needlepoint and installations are incisive and controversial. And so you might imagine that his writings are equally forceful. You wouldn’t be wrong.
The Shimmering Beast collects Reinke’s best prose pieces. Fiction, or criticism, or personal essays, or theft – each piece is all and none of these. All they have in common is that they all start with a text or work of art and depict some sort of engagement – usually phantasmic – with it.
There’s a monologue by a 19th-century French pathologist, a response to Melanie Klein’s Narrative of a Child Analysis, appreciations of the works of Susan Kealey and Philip Hoffman, thoughts on gay beaches and immigration and an imagined autobiography called ‘History of Small Animals.’
Taken together, they document the process and reach of an artistic mind at the height of its powers. Some funny, some absurd, all oddly poignant, these writings will send your synapses firing in all directions.