Artforum is fictional in Aira’s typically imaginative fashion. That is to say, it is a story full of Duchampian fits and starts in which witty eccentricity struggles with originality to make a point about obsessions—here, a magazine—and Aira is a master at relaying them in each and every one of his tales ... Aira does not know if he wants to break or refill his pages with interjections and stops whenever he feels like it. Since he believes that the spirit of narrative becomes a painting, here he visualizes a story of sorts.
Is there any other writer who can get away with such overshot, brazen hyperbole? Aira is unencumbered. He does what he does, and what we receive is giddy, unquestionably self-indulgent, and yet absolutely perfect ... Aira uses a sort of technique one finds not in writing workshops but in comedy improv: Take a ludicrous and specific thing. Then fashion it into a disquisition on the condition of man. Or whatever ... The silliness doesn't stop there, it blooms and creates new branches ... Literary critics often find Aira difficult to pin down. There's an understandable struggle to understand what the shtick is all about. But for me personally, there's no need to wonder, for Aira is a remarkably direct writer. In novella after novella, he explains his motives plainly ... For a novella like Artforum, one doesn't need to reach deep into the toolkit of literary theory. Aira creates his own epistemology. It's marvelous to witness.
The new novel won’t disappoint...fans, but for the uninitiated, is Artforum a good place to start? As with most random issues of a great magazine, it’s as good a place to start as any. It represents the oeuvre while subverting it in idiosyncratic particulars. It may not be Aira’s best, but to speak of 'bests' is to miss the point of Aira. His novels are more meaningful when taken together, each a shard of the same symbolic object. Artforum is a minor work that creates a minor cosmos, and in so doing feels—like the rest of Aira, and the best of art—major.