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“You Can’t Win: Jack Black’s America”

  • Art, Contemporary art
Ray Materson, Copping America—Day One, 1994
Photograph: Courtesy The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation Inc.

Time Out says

Well before the first rumblings of the counterculture, there was Jack Black: Not the actor, but the pseudonymous author of You Can’t Win, the 1926 underground classic that told the story of his life as a drifter, grifter, addict and thief who spent a good deal of his life in prison. The book also examined the American dream from an outsider’s perspective, casting a gimlet eye on the lies behind the country’s most cherished myths about itself. You Can’t Win made a huge impression on a young William Burroughs, whose own writings went on to transmit Black’s marginalized worldview to the Beats and to later generations of disaffected youth from hippies to punks. This show collects artworks that channel the nihilist energy of Black’s tome and it portents of America’s dark future.


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