Masks All the Way Down, with James Curcio

Episode 70 · April 1st, 2020 · 1 hr 16 mins

About this Episode

James Curcio is an American multidisciplinary artist and nonfiction writer whose works include the novels Join My Cult, The Party at the World's End, and the upcoming Tales from When I Had a Face. Recently, Curcio edited Masks: Bowie and Artists of Artifice, an anthology of essays by various thinkers and artists on the complex interplay of fact and fiction, self and other, in the life of the modern creator of artistic works. David Bowie's career, from the early experimentations to the great working that was his final album Blackstar, provides the book's gravitational field. In his effort to better plumb the mysteries of the aesthetic universe, Curcio penned the anthology's opening essay, "Masks All the Way Down," and it is on that piece that this conversation focuses. Join James, Phil and JF as they discuss the terrifying and liberating idea of an aesthetic cosmos as seen from the vantage point of the artist who learns that with new each work comes a new face, an amalgam of symbols and forces drawn from a depth of surfaces, a paper-thin dream that goes ever so deep...


James Curcio (editor), [Masks: Bowie and Artists of Artifice](www.intellectbooks/masks)
James Curcio's website:
James Curcio's new novel, [Tales from When I Had a Face](

David Bowie, Blackstar
Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex
Poppy, American singer
Anatta, the Buddhist concept of no-self
Nagarjuna, Indian philosopher
Yukio Mishima, Japanese writer
Hunter S. Thompson, American writer
Lewis A. Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought
Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life" in Untimely Meditations
Ornette Coleman, Change of the Century
Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu
Vladimir Nabokov, Russian novelist
Nicholas Roeg (director), The Man Who Fell to Earth
Raphael Bob-Waksberg (creator), BoJack Horseman
Richard Dyer, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society
Euripides, The Bacchae