Read in three days. Wishing more art books were this well-written.
Alexander Dumbadze’s Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere is a biography that balances concision and fluidity with topical depth and breadth. It’s rich in engaging critical writing on the Dutch-born artist’s oeuvre and exhibitions, as well as the actors, concerns, and flaws of the 1970s Los Angeles conceptual art scene. Along the way, Dumbadze writes cogently on philosophy (Camus, Derrida) and religion (Calvinism). Ader’s final adventure acts as a captivating climax.
Dumbadze’s thorough research and clear writing style is excellent. Even knotty paradoxes—such as Ader’s quest to represent the unrepresentable, or the contradictions of merging art and life—are conveyed with ease. Highly recommended.