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Artist, gallerist, and writer Giovanni Intra’s inventive approach to art writing provides a guide to the New Zealand and Los Angeles art scenes of his era.
Everything you read about Los Angeles is true. The city adapts to its own mythology. It’s such a ludicrously discussed place that I always feel slightly idiotic in my attempts to produce a serious discourse about it. Raves in the desert, however, are superb. And ecstasy is a great drug. Also, if you hadn’t heard, music sounds better when you’re high. And the desert surrounding LA is wondrous.
–Giovanni Intra, “LA Politics”
Before his early death in 2002, Giovanni Intra enjoyed a rollercoaster ride through the art world. He was an artist and gallerist–cofounding two legendary galleries, the artist-run space Teststrip in Auckland and China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles–as well as a writer. Clinic of Phantasms provides a guide to the New Zealand and Los Angeles art scenes of the day, including texts on key artists from New Zealand (John Hurrell, Fiona Pardington, Denise Kum, Ava Seymour, Ann Shelton, Gavin Hipkins, Daniel Malone, and Slave Pianos) and Los Angeles (Charles Ray, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Dave Muller, Evan Holloway, John McCracken, and Julia Scher).
What makes Intra’s work of enduring significance is his inventive approach to art writing, which was informed by his interest in punk, surrealism, and Daniel Paul Schreber, the famous case study in paranoia and hallucination. This volume features writing on Intra from Chris Kraus and Mark von Schlegell, Andrew Berardini, Roberta Smith, Tessa Laird, Will Bradley, Joel Mesler, and Robert Leonard.
“He emerged the radically elegant punk, whip-crack smart and charming as hell . . . The hilarious honesty and sharp intelligence of Giovanni was to me a breeze, a knife, a wonder.”
–Andrew Berardini, “Everything You Read About Giovanni Intra is True”