Anthony Strain has written for Bomb, Noon, Entropy, The Awl, and HTMLGiant. He is working on a novel.
Mike Kelley: The Fine Art of Dropping Out by Anthony Strain
Mike Kelley is ten years gone. He was a known Catholic apostate, and sometimes his jovial irreverence carried the shy sting of the once-bitten. This falling out of faith is relevant to his practice only because Kelley found it hard to stay between the lines, no matter which way they were drawn. From this, transgression became habit; memory and conspiracy became material spaces to render. Focusing on Kelley's "Educational Complex," and on the artist's preoccupation with the McMartin Preschool child abuse scandal, Anthony Strain examines the Kelley style of eclecticism and how it relates to leaving expectations behind, and finding the taboo in the ordinary.
Soft Mosh (for SOPHIE) by Anthony Strain
Considering she was maybe the least confused artist alive, Sophie Xeon was a confusing kind of famous. Analyzed and canonized by the extremely online, she flew just over the mainstream despite working with its biggest names (Rihanna and Madonna were two). Even as SOPHIE, the all-caps mononym stylized for maximum marquee, her DNA was subcultural, despite her deadpan relationship with corporate media. When she died last week, at the age of 34, having redefined what popular music could sound like, the sadness and gratitude that billowed across the internet were fit for a monarch of liberation: for queer teens, trans artists, and anyone with a pulse really.