Publications

Forthcoming
Simmons, William J.“To Tell of Touch, to Touch by Telling”: Judy Chicago’s Erotica.” In Judy Chicago. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Forthcoming.
2019
Neo-Noir-Americana: On Nostalgia and Melodrama in Contemporary Culture.” In Other Words, 2019. neo-noir-americana_-_art_agency_partners.pdf
and Simmons, William J. Math Bass. “Portfolio with Math Bass.” BOMB Magazine, 2019.Abstract
Anne Carson writes: “Desires as round as peaches bloom in me all night, I no longer gather what falls.” We might never harvest Math Bass’s forms, and maybe we shouldn’t; maybe conversely we let the orchard become overrun, Gothic, a place where the fruit just serves worms and curious children. Another quote exterior to me: the Log Lady says, “My log does not judge.” One could say perhaps that the log does not interpret; the log does not tell histories, only stories. What is the difference, anyway? The log can’t or won’t tell you, for instance, if something is sufficiently ambiguous or undecidable to be considered queer. 
Simmons, William J.Jamming Opposites Together: Anna Sew Hoy Interviewed by William J. Simmons.” BOMB Magazine, 2019. jamming_opposites_together-_anna_sew_hoy_interviewed_-_bomb_magazine.pdf
Simmons, William J.History As Imitation of Life: Sherrie Levine by William J. Simmons.” BOMB Magazine, 2019. history_as_imitation_of_life-_sherrie_levine_-_bomb_magazine.pdf
Simmons, William J.Organizing Accidents: Charlotte Gainsbourg Interviewed by William J. Simmons.” BOMB Magazine, 2019. organizing_accidents-_charlotte_gainsbourg_interviewed_-_bomb_magazine.pdf
Simmons, William J.Misplaced Empathy: Amy Bessone Interviewed by William J. Simmons.” BOMB Magazine, 2019. misplaced_empathy-_amy_bessone_interviewed_-_bomb_magazine.pdf
Simmons, William J.; Paula Hayes. Paula Hayes: Lemon Tree Mind. New York: ERL Press, 2019.
Simmons, William J.A Certain Inevitability: On Alfonso Cuarón's Roma.” Flash Art, 2019. a_certain_inevitability_flash_art.pdf
2018
Simmons, William J.Misconstruction/Deconstruction: Laurie Simmons and the Pictures Generation.” In Laurie Simmons: Big Camera, Little Camera. Ft. Worth and New York: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and DelMonico Prestel Books, 2018.
Simmons, William J.NATALIE PORTMAN AND RAFFEY CASSIDY ON "VOX LUX", #METOO, MELODRAMA, AND BELIEVABILITY - Interview with Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy.” Flaunt Magazine, 2018.
Simmons, William J.Eileen Quinlan interview and portfolio.” Suited Magazine, 2018, 7. suited_issue_7_eq_236-251.pdf
Simmons, William J.Jimmy DeSana: Hysterical Attachments.” King Kong Garçon, 2018, 1, 1.
Simmons, William J.Somebody Wants It: Review of Jill Soloway's 'She Wants It'.” Flash Art, 2018.
Rothen, Marianna. “Plastic Thoughts.” In Marianna Rothen: Mail Order. Zurich: b.frank books, 2018.
Simmons, William J.Narrative Excess: Judy Chicago's Work in Text.” Flash Art, 2018, 323. fa_323_n-j19_judy-chicago.pdf
Simmons, William J.; Anne Collier. “Introduction: Portfolio by Anne Collier.” BOMB Magazine, 2018.
Simmons, William J.; Anthony Iacono. “My Favorite Sweater - Collaboration with Anthony Iacono.” Parallax, no. 6 (2018).
Simmons, William J.Review: Sharp Objects.” Flash Art, 2018. Link to ReviewAbstract

Sharp Objects: Daydreams Can Be Dangerous

“She wanted to shield her, from the bullet of an ordinary life.”

—Rachel Cusk, Arlington Park

I believe, perhaps counterintuitively and certainly masochistically, that a good film or TV show should make you feel profoundly banal. It should not transport you or give you hope that dreams come true. It is the role of television worth watching to make you understand that you are a cliché, that there is truly nothing remarkable about you, that no one will tell your story, that everyone has been wounded and only some wounds are worth watching.

Such is the case with Sharp Objects, Jean-Marc Vallée’s miniseries that premiered on July 8 on HBO. Coming off the extraordinary success of Big Little Lies, Vallée brings us another murder story mixed with a biting comedy of manners, this time with a healthy dose of Lana Del Rey Americana. Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) has escaped her stifling, socialite mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri, to become a reporter in St. Louis, only to be sent back to cover the murder of two young girls.

The story is one that has been told countless times — a woman with a dark past returns home to confront traumas internal and external. To say that Sharp Objects is innovative would be an exaggeration, but this is exactly my point. So unapologetically does the series embrace the hackneyed traditions of crime shows (especially those starring women) and melodramas that it becomes something discomfiting that dares us to love it despite our entrenched desire for that wink-wink that tells us it is all a joke.

The irony never comes. In this way, the sincerity of Sharp Objects denies any such markers of highbrow enjoyment and instead provokes a hysterical need to chase the impossible — to become that booze-swigging, chain-smoking, windows-down-tunes-blasting woman with a traumatic secret you have seen so many times onscreen. Sharp Objects reminds us that some people have their lives immortalized onscreen, but those people are only characters. We can never approach that freeing artifice.

Simmons, William J.A Conversation with Narcissister.” Flaunt Magazine, 2018. Link to interview

Pages