The Best Most Useless Dress: Selected Writings of Claudia La Rocco
Published by Badlands Unlimited
Edited by Paul Chan. Introduction by Elizabeth Robinson.
Widely known as an incisive critic for The New York Times and Artforum, Claudia La Rocco is also a poet and performer whose hybrid texts are as mercurial and imaginative as her criticism. The Best Most Useless Dress reveals the breadth and depth of La Rocco's art, encompassing a decade's worth of poetry, essays, performance texts and reviews. These writings explore how movement and rhythm--in time, through space, across bodies, on the page--engender experience itself. Jay Sanders, curator of performing arts at the Whitney, writes: "Claudia La Rocco's impactful writing sketches its performing subjects in real time, depicting not only the character of work, but the conditions in which it collectively forms and exists. Here the spaces of New York performance and the spaces of critical writing reveal themselves anew." The book includes an introduction by poet Elizabeth Robinson.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
The Miami Rail
Claudia La Rocco's The Best Most Useless Dress is not poetry. That is, it's not poetry exclusively, but an amalgam of writings, including criticism, handwritten notes, musings, and bits of conversation (also, images) with any combination of these at times appearing within a single piece. The result of all this would be disorienting were it not for recurring themes and phrases, and, perhaps more importantly, the earnestness with which she approaches each poem and the general sense that she has eschewed the desire to provide the reader with something polished and perfect. This meandering, this hesitation, this doubling back creates an intimacy with the reader that excuses some of the haphazardness of the work—no, not excuses—justifies.
Lenny Book Pick
Whether she's writing about love, or about a ballet, it all boils down to human emotions. The subtle movements of a dancer, and the subtle movements of a lover can all have the same meaning, and La Rocco writes about both in a way that automatically transports you to a different place.