Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. Art. Poetry X eleven = LAKE ANTIQUITY. LAKE ANTIQUITY = a rectangular swimming pool in the E.U.R. district in Rome, built by Benito Mussolini to be heralded at the 1942 World Expo as the epicenter of Fascism. Brandon Downing's LAKE ANTIQUITY meets the challenge of this absurdity and countless ineradicable others. The culmination of more than a decade of visionary irreverence, this fulminating iteration of text-collages makes a perfect holiday gift for the poetry lover. Brandon Downing has scoured refuse piles and skimmed the creme/scum off the top of two centuries of cultural production for these chiming elements. His paste-ups are cut-ups; his cut-ups are pasted with a discrimination that shares a border with insurgency.
"In this heavily illustrated collection of hyperkinetic text and image collages, Downing poet, visual and video artist presents a wild array of unexpected juxtapositions. Found text is cut and pasted atop images culled from flea market crates of various paper ephemera, and these pages are brimming with chance-operational meditations on innocence, experience, and empire; readers will be left stunned by the 'highly colored evening scene,' for example. With hallucinatory intensity, Downing depicts an America under miraculous spell: 'If you could see a picture of what has happened in the last thousand years in the United States, you would probably be surprised' are among the words superimposed on a print of urns, kettles, trunks, and saddles. This is an America obsessed with illusion with taxidermy, film, and theme parks and always lusting after the next frontier. While impossible to summarize in words the poems at times feel secondary to the images Downing's collages create a bizarre and incredible universe. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Downing's greatest achievement so far. . . . It is made up entirely of collages of vintage art . . . and he has delicately illustrated these weird landscapes with text cut from old books. . . . Lake Antiquity makes it clear that Downing is a genius of juxtaposition."and#151;The Stranger
"Downing has sequenced his collages with cinematic pacing; you fly through these pages as you might in a dream."
About the Author
Brandon Downing is a videomaker, visual artist, and writer, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2000, he has lived in New York City, where he works as an exhibit designer and writer. His poetry collections include The Shirt Weapon (Germ, 2002), and Dark Brandon (Faux, 2005). A feature-length DVD collection of recent video works, Dark Brandon // Eternal Classics, was released in 2007.