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THE BOOK: DEVENDRA BANHART

"NOBODY IS CALLING THE COPS SAYING WE NEED MORE ART BOOKS. THERE WILL BE PLENTY." DEVENDRA BANHART, TALKING IN REFERENCE TO ANXIETY HE EXPERIENCED AT THE ONSET OF HIS NEW PUBLICATION, I LEFT MY NOODLE ON RAMEN STREET, IS, OF COURSE, CORRECT HERE. THERE IS CERTAINLY NO SHORTAGE OF  ART BOOKS, MONOGRAPHS, ARTIST ZINES, AND THE LIKE CIRCULATING AT THE MOMENT, FILLING UP MUSEUMS' BOOKSHOPS, POP-UP STORES, AND WHOLE FLOORS OF GENERAL BOOKSTORES. THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF SOMETHING ELSE THOUGH: SINCERITY. WITH MANY ARTISTS' BOOKS THERE IS A DISTANCE, A CONCEPTUAL BRIDGE UNFIT FOR MANY READERS' CROSSING, BUT IN DEVENDRA'S FIRST FORAY INTO PRINT, THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THE SINCERE GESTURE, THE KIND HAND GUIDING YOU TO NEW LANDS. THE EARNESTNESS OF SIMPLICITY AND BEAUTY UNENTANGLED BY HIGH, THEORETICAL PRETENSE ARE AT THE CORE OF I LEFT MY NOODLE ON RAMEN STREET. IT IS A BOOK THAT CHRONICLES HIS EVOLUTION AS AN ARTIST, FROM EARLY EXPERIMENTS IN FILM TO DRAWINGS CHOCK FULL OF METICULOUS ATTENTION AND SUBTLE PERFECTION, BUT IT ALSO READS LIKE A FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM. IN THE NEARLY 200 PAGES INSIDE, A CONSTANT SENSE OF INTIMACY AND DIRECTNESS WALK THE READER THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHS, POEMS, DRAWINGS, FILM-STILLS, AND CONVERSATIONS TO GREAT EFFECT. DURING A SUMMER AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORM, DEVENDRA AND I TALKED ABOUT THE BOOK, THE PROCESS LEADING TO ITS CONCEPTION, PRACTICAL MAGIC,  MUSIC, AND DANCING. LIKE HIS ENTIRE BODY OF WORK, THE CONVERSATION WAS A SIMPLE EXCHANGE IN SINCERITY.

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