Ace AIR: James Hannaham



Program: AIR
Location: Ace Hotel New York
Date of Stay: 04.24.16
Artists: James Hannaham

James Hannaham is a visual artist and author who comes equipped with lots to say, and a vinyl plotter. During his one-night stay at our hotel in New York, Hannaham wrapped an entire room with text —on windows, around corners, and inside shelves. While not intended to be a permanent installation, we liked this one so much we left the ending up for others to enjoy.

The full text reads:

“Whenever I enter a new hotel room, I can’t help but imagine all the people who have rented it out previously walking where I am walking, putting down their bags, taking off their shoes, perhaps gazing out of this very window right here, maybe wandering to this one, watching some television and then flopping down, starting up at the ceiling, or passing out on this same bed, sleeping, snoring, disrobing and fucking or masturbating here, brushing their hair, scratching, leaving a palimpsest of forensic evidence: hairs clothing, fiber, cells, semen, feces, fluids — for all our separateness, stranger, you and I will share intimate parts of our lives while making the only statement capable of outlasting a civilization: I too was here; I lived.”

James Hannaham has (so far) published a pair of novels, most recently Delicious Foods, which was a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book for 2015, and God Says No, which was a Stonewall Honor Book and a Lambda Book Award finalist. His short fiction has appeared in One Story, Fence, and The Literary Review, Story Quarterly, and BOMB. He also published a short prose piece in Gigantic, for which he won a 2016 Pushcart Prize. But he has also written journalism and criticism for, among other places, The Village Voice, Spin, Us, Out, Details, The New York Times Magazine, T Magazine, Slate, and Salon, where he was on staff during 2008. As if that wasn’t enough, he has also exhibited a reasonable amount of “word art,” as a certain friend calls it, at The James Cohan Gallery, 490 Atlantic Gallery, Kimberley-Klark, Rosalux Gallery, and The Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

This April, Ace AIR was curated by McSweeney’s —a publishing company based in San Francisco. As well as operating a daily humor website, it publishes Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Believer, and an ever-growing selection of books under various imprints.

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