Provocations/Instigations is the theme for Superpresent Winter 2024 issue, which is most fitting since “provocation and instigation is really what the artists and writers do,” says Editor Kevin Clement. “Some the contributors instigate and provoke, others point out when it’s being done to us.”
The issue contains new works by well-lauded writers like Nick Flynn, David Kirby, and Duncan Forbes. There is also much to consider in the other contributions, like “Under Some Auspices (In Advance of a Broken State),” Shaun Griffiths’ 53-second video made in response to the Trump-led crimes of insurrection and treason on January 6th. The work comments on the instigations and provocations of the far right and its dependence on empty gestures. “Pop Out,” by Abaine Campbell-Gardner borrows from Willem de Kooning’s Women paintings, but radically morphs its iconography by adding a phallus and removing a face.
Sometimes form itself can be the provocation, as in the work of David Felix or that of Michael Webster. While some instigations rely on words leading to action, sometimes unexpected actions lead to the most meaningful words; “Words Will Come,” by Frances Gaudiano is an extraordinary case in point.