Artforum is certainly one of César Aira’s most charming, quirky, and funny books to date. Consisting of a series of interrelated stories about his compulsion to collect Artforum magazines, this is not about art so much as it is about passionate obsession.
At first we follow our hapless collector from magazine shops to used bookstores hunting for copies of Artforum. A friend alerts him to a copy somewhere and he obsesses about actually going to get it—will the shop be open, will the copy already be sold? Finally he takes out a subscription, but then it never comes, so he hounds the mailman. There’s the day his stash of Artforums gets rained on, but only one absorbs the water. And interspersed is a wacky chapter about the mystery of the broken clothespins. “How weird.” “How crazy.”