For this special event, Olivia Laing, Sophie Robinson, Isabel Waidner and Juliet Jacques will read their chosen passages from Cookie Mueller’s collected writings and short stories, including Fan Mail, Frank Letters, and Crank Calls (1988), Garden of Ashes (1990) and How To Get Rid of Pimples (1984). The contributing writers will also read some of their own work in response to the exhibition and its key themes and contexts.
Cookie Mueller (1949–1989) was an American writer, actor and ‘Dreamlander’ who starred in many of filmmaker John Waters’ early works, including Multiple Maniacs (1970) and Female Trouble (1974).
Mueller’s work was frequently published in journals such as Bomb and High Times, as well as Details magazine, where she was the art critic and her ‘Art and About’ and ‘Travel Guide’ columns were published from 1982–1989. She was a contributing editor at East Village Eye, where Mueller authored a monthly self–help column Ask Dr. Mueller which covered everything from AIDS conspiracy theories to new age remedies, with quick–witted humour and candidness. Mueller’s Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black (1990) was the first book published by Chris Kraus’ Native Agents imprint for Semiotext(e). Mueller died on 10 November 1989. She was 40.
Many of Mueller’s works are now out of print and difficult to access. This special series of readings celebrates this incredible body of work, and Mueller’s pervading influence and relevance to artists, writers and filmmakers today.
Juliet Jacques is a writer and filmmaker based in London. She has published two books: Rayner Heppenstall: A Critical Study (Dalkey Archive, 2007) and Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015). Her short fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The White Review, Sight & Sound, Filmwaves, Cineaste, Frieze, London Review of Books and many other publications and websites.
Olivia Laing is a writer and critic with a particular interest in art, sexuality and cities. Her 2016 book The Lonely City (2016) investigated loneliness by way of several iconic artists, including Warhol, Hopper and David Wojnarowicz. It was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and has been translated into twelve languages.
Sophie Robinson is a contemporary poet. She is the author of A (Les Figues, 2009), which navigated mourning and the detritus of sudden loss, and THE INSTITUTE OF OUR LOVE IN DISREPAIR (Bad Press, 2012). She is a Lecturer in Poetry at the University of East Anglia. Robinson was the poetry artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2011.
Isabel Waidner is a writer and cultural theorist. She is the author of three books of innovative fiction, most recently Gaudy Bauble (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017). Her articles and short fictions have appeared in journals including 3:AM, Berfrois, Configurations, The Happy Hypocrite and Minor Literature[s]. As part of the indie band Klang, Waidner released records on UK labels Rough Trade (2003) and Blast First (2004). She is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Roehampton University and the organiser of an event series on queer writing at the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This event is free but due to high demand, booking is recommended.
This event forms part of the public programme accompanying Putti’s Pudding, an exhibition of works by Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati (9 September–12 November 2017).
‘Putti’s Pudding’ is a book and ‘final project’ by American writer and actor Mueller, and her husband, Italian artist Scarpati. Published in 1989, the same year both died from complications related to AIDS, it pairs drawings by Scarpati with writing by Mueller.
Reimagined as an exhibition at Studio Voltaire, Putti’s Pudding features forty–five original felt–tip pen on notepad drawings made by Scarpati when he lost the ability to speak, accompanying texts by Mueller, and a public programme of talks, readings, screenings and performance.