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Interlock: Art, Conspiracy, and the Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi by Patricia Goldstone

Mark Lombardi dropped onto my radar in 2016 while I was listening to a podcast in which his artwork and contentious life story was the subject. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about Mark and his art, so I picked up this book.

Interlock is Patricia Goldstone’s attempt to describe and justify the major events and relationships in artist Mark Lombardi’s life. The book is divided into two parts: the first focused on Mark Lombardi, and the second detailing the scandalous events that Mark portrays so cleanly in his artistic interlocks.

I breezed through part one, engrossed by all the mystery and intrigue swaddling Mark, his controversial artwork, and his untimely death. Mark’s work, while it appears so simple from a distance, shares immense detail when viewed up close. It connects networks of countries, companies, and individuals, showing how money, influence, and power move through each node. Mark’s drawings offer explanations for how scandalous economic and political events are able to take place outside of public knowledge.

Part two was very informative, but I struggled at times to follow. Admittedly, this is due in part to my barebones knowledge of the history and scandals of the 20th century. Run-on sentences packed with factual information also make it easier to lose track of all the people, places, and events that transpire (many times allegedly) in these scandals. Some inferences make pretty strained logical leaps in order to stoke conspiracy, which are inferences I tend to read with caution. It also doesn’t help matters that confusion is a crucial part of the events themselves. Scandals are purposefully obfuscated by their actors so that their misdeeds are more difficult to pinpoint.

All in all, this book has made me more interested in learning about the scandals of the 20th century and further opened my mind to the likelihood that our world economy depends on the actions of a few powerful, shadowy figures far more than we may be willing to believe.