Travis Jeppesen's Bad Writing is a collection of interconnected essays and “fictocriticisms,” many appearing in print for the first time, that etches a pathway for a truly radical “bad” modernism in art and literature. Erudite, witty, and occasionally controversial, Bad Writing reinvigorates the too-often staid medium of art criticism as an iconoclastic and inventive literary art form.
“Travis Jeppesens ‘willful defiance of the commodification of art criticism' is not just necessary, its outrageous. Following leads from Gertrude Stein and Bjarne Melgaard, zombie formalism and flarf, tracing perceptions too peculiar to name or too confusing to process, he fails better than one could have possibly hoped for.” —Barry Schwabsky, art critic, The Nation
“It is crucial for me to explain the prime importance of this work, precisely because it slaps me in the face by attacking some of the aesthetic notions that I most treasured. Even conventional ‘clarity' in literature has its moment at the guillotine, beheaded by tactics Jeppesen subsumes under the creative and critical shorthand of ‘Bad,' also commonly referred to as wrong, unacceptable, or failed. Bad theory rejects art that consciously or unconsciously conforms to expectations at the cost of true vision, and the fact that Jeppesens blitzkrieg does not even spare the academically aped, socially respected, and frequently unfelt genre we now call art criticism shows the incredible breadth of his position, as novel and revolutionizing as the first stirrings of modernism. As a matter of fact, he has accomplished a miracle in forging a position of critical lawlessness at a time when the ‘avant-garde' is only a mourned past and any worthwhile contrary opinion is engulfed, digested, and exploited by the mediatic monster we like to name our global economy.” —Bruce Benderson, author of The Romanian: Story of an Obsession
“While its super tempting to trot out that tired phraseology so bad its good, Im not sure it covers how particularly bad Travis Jeppesens aims are: he wants to bankrupt what passes for most cultural critique, render it worthless, from the inside out, gastrointestinally, giving it food poisoning. (If you think thats a mixed metaphor, bing Freud on excremental capital.) Which is to say, Jeppesen takes George Kuchar at his gloriously fetid word: ignoring all the societal encouragements to be a flash in the pan, dudes set his slutty sights on becoming ‘a big soft plop-in-the-bowl … creat[ing] such a stink … that people cannot ignore it.' Does this moment of ‘clusterfuck existentialism' really deserve better? Hes the Weird Al Yankovic of art criticism, but gayer.” —Bruce Hainley, author of Under the Sign of [sic]: Sturtevants Volte-Face