At an otherwise forgettable party in Los Angeles, a queer Korean American painter spots a woman who instantly controls the room: gorgeous and distant and utterly white, the centre of everyone’s attention. Haunted into adulthood by her Korean father’s abandonment of his family, as well as the spectre of her beguiling, abusive white mother, the painter finds herself caught in a perfect trap. She wants Hanne, or wants to be her, or to sully her, or destroy her, or consume her, or some confusion of all the above. The paintings she makes of her new muse become a hit, but, just when she’s on the verge of her long sought-after breakthrough, a petition started by a Black performance artist begins making the rounds in the art community, calling for the boycott of major museums and art galleries for their imperialist and racist practices. Torn between her desire to support the petition, to be a success, and to possess Hanne, the painter and her reality become more unstable and disorienting, unwilling to cut loose any one of her warring ambitions, yet unable to accommodate them all. Your Love Is Not Good stuffs queer explosive into the cracks between identity and aspiration, between desire and art, and revels in the raining debris.
“Impassioned, wry, compassionate, and hellraising, this novel illuminates its frangible but resilient world the way a painter uses colour on canvas to illuminate the focal point of her vision – building layer after layer of meaning until the image appears as if it has always been there for us to see. A resplendent and fearless book. Must read.” — Kirkus starred review
“A gripping, tightly plotted novel characterized by a trenchant exploration of race, queer desire, and power dynamics in the art world.” — Frieze
“Electric, pornographic, mischievous, and deeply funny. Your Love is Not Good is a parable of the artist who in search of beauty encounters something far more intoxicating: ruin.” — Lara Mimosa Montes
“A major achievement.” — Harry Dodge
Johanna Hedva (they/them) is a Korean American writer, artist, and musician, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in LA and Berlin. Hedva is the author of the novels Your Love Is Not Good and On Hell, as well as Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain, a collection of poems, performances, and essays. Their albums are Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House and The Sun and the Moon. Their work has been shown in Berlin at Gropius Bau, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and Institute of Cultural Inquiry; The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Performance Space New York; Gyeongnam Art Museum in South Korea; the LA Architecture and Design Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon; and in the Transmediale, Unsound, and Rewire Festivals. Their writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, Frieze, The White Review, Topical Cream, Spike, and is anthologized in Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016, has been translated into 11 languages.
Philippa Snow is a critic and essayist. Her work has appeared in publications including Artforum, The Los Angeles Review of Books, ArtReview, Frieze, The White Review, Vogue, The Nation, The New Statesman, and The New Republic. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, and her first book, Which As You Know Means Violence, is out now with Repeater.