Snake Lakeside

Your attempt to adapt to the new chemical and biological realities of the Great Lakes runs up against the chaos of forced migration – the round goby, while delicious and increasingly plentiful, turns out to be an incredibly efficient collector of the PCBs which wash into the lake via the stream running through your new culvert. Recent studies by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department and Northern Michigan University claim that over-reliance on the goby as a food source does not lead to increased PCB levels in your cousins, the Lake Erie Water Snakes, but they live exclusively on islands near the Canadian border. Instead, these studies give the goby explosion partial credit for a resurgence in that branch of your family. On the other hand, no scientists have come to check your PCB levels, and every year the water seems warmer and more algae-choked on your part of the western shore...

Do you...

See what it's like on the IslandsSuccumb to your instinct for defensive violence


Mum & Dad Show

Tom Morton

Dear Tirdad,

Some time ago (perhaps over a beer in London) we discussed the possibility of a project in which art writers would return to a piece of their published writing and correct the things about it that they now found unsatisfactory. This unrealized project has now emerged in somewhat different form in the new online journal you are editing, which, as I understand it, will include curators revisiting a prior exhibition. We’ve talked, I think, about my reluctance regarding the latter. Exhibitions to me are always, and perhaps inevitably, vaguely unsatisfactory on some level or another, but this is at least sometimes for reasons outside of my control: the vicissitudes of space, budget, shipping, the marketing strategy of a host institution, and all the other familiar factors. What interests me is the prospect of participants taking a look at something they are absolutely accountable for, and finding in it something they regret.

My response then, is this: to send you the textual material that accompanied a 2007 exhibition I curated at Cubitt Gallery, London, of work by my mother and father (they are, I should stress for readers new to this show, not at all well known). Of all the writing I’ve produced to accompany my shows, this is in some senses the most regrettable, both professionally and personally. I have had second thoughts about this material, and third and fourth thoughts, too, but then I was never quite sure of it in the first place, although I very much wanted to be so.

With my best wishes as always,



Tom Morton is a writer, contributing editor of frieze and curator at the Hayward Gallery, London. He is also co-curator (with Lisa Lefeuvre) of “British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet.”

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