Bernadette Mayer’s Top 10: Varda, Codrescu, Varo, Cage/Cunningham, and more

Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer

Via Harriet, I see that Artforum has posted a list of Bernadette Mayer’s “Top Ten.”  Her characteristically eclectic and interesting list is not simply a ranking of books she’s enjoyed or poets she likes. Instead, it includes everything from the film The Gleaners and I by the French director Agnes Varda to the Surrealist painter Remedios Varo (whose work may be familiar to readers of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49) to the Nazca lines in Peru:


Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, this extraordinary set of earth carvings includes giant line drawings of geometric forms and a spider, hummingbird, monkey, and pelican. They can be viewed from the air or from an observation tower. What were these people thinking? Were they communicating with extraterrestrials? The animal images are the oldest—BC old. Be prepared to haggle when visiting.

She also lists “Road Scholar,” a movie starring Andrei Codrescu, whose work I just posted about here.

Poet Andrei Codrescu goes on a road trip in a 1968 red Cadillac convertible. He visits communal places, new-age cure places, shrines, Detroit, a sausage factory, St. Mark’s Church in New York City, New Mexico’s Chimayó, and California. Poet Allen Ginsberg appears walking the sidewalks of the East Village espousing his wisdom. As an immigrant, Codrescu discovers America. We watch him be reborn!

Another nod goes to “The John Cage / Merce Cunningham Bridge” at the MASS MoCA museum:

This indoor bridge connects the second floor of Sol LeWitt’s retrospective at MASS MoCA (on view through 2033) to the museum’s performing arts building. On a recent visit, the pathway featured an audio installation by Glenn Kotche. While you walk the covered pathway, you hear bursts of music and sounds, much like a hallucinatory experience. The destination is the walk; you may even fall for the metaphor of a bridge (which has railings).

The whole list offers an intriguing map of Mayer’s current interests and enthusiams. You can check out the rest of it here.

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