The Brooklyn Rail

The Brooklyn Rail Critical Perspectives on Art, Politics, and Culture The Brooklyn Rail, a monthly nonprofit journal, provides an independent forum for arts, culture, and politics throughout New York City and beyond.
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We feature local reporting, art criticism, fiction, poetry, as well as coverage of politics, music, dance, film, and theater.

Operating as usual

The Barnes Foundation (@barnesfoundation) has recently opened a groundbreaking exhibition of Chaim Soutine and Willem de...
05/31/2021

The Barnes Foundation (@barnesfoundation) has recently opened a groundbreaking exhibition of Chaim Soutine and Willem de Kooning‘s work. The Willem de Kooning Foundation has shared a few archival photographs and insights with the Rail related to de Kooning’s Woman in a Garden, 1971, which is on view in the exhibition.

Our Foundation friends explain, “These photos give us a sense of how de Kooning’s visual thoughts at once morph, transform and repeat, while always in a state of becoming the basis for a profusion of other works.”

To view Woman in a Garden and explore the visual relationships between modern masters Willem de Kooning and Chaim Soutine, visit the Barnes Foundation’s exhibition, Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint, on view through August 8th!

Image 1: Willem de Kooning’s Woman in a Garden, 1971
Image 2: Studio view showing Woman in a Garden in progress at left, 1971.
Image 3: Willem de Kooning's Head Still Life, 1971, one of several works produced from the head section of the state of Woman in a Garden presented in the studio view

#willemdekooning #chaimsoutine
#barnesfoundation #willemdekooningfoundation

Alex Hay, an artist with an eye resolutely toward possibility, has been omnivorous, taking advantage of opportunities as...
05/24/2021

Alex Hay, an artist with an eye resolutely toward possibility, has been omnivorous, taking advantage of opportunities as they’ve presented themselves, whether in terms of subject matter or medium. In our May issue, Hay talked to Rail Artseen Editor Amanda Gluibizzi (@gluibizziak) about hearty breakfasts, cats, dance, travel, and the brilliant way that he has made friendship one of his most important mediums.

Speaking of the work he has created over the course of his long, luminous career Hay notes, “I could go through all my pieces and relate them back to the circumstances I was in when I made them. All my work came out of circumstances I was in.”

You can read Hay’s full conversation with Gluibizzi, edited from their New Social Environment conversation through the link in our bio. And be sure to check out Hay’s exhibit at Peter Freeman, Inc. (@peterfreemaninc) on view through Saturday, May 29th!

#AlexHay #amandagluibizzi #peterfreemaninc

05/21/2021

Writer and scholar McKenzie Wark (@mckenziewark3000) curated our May issue’s Critics Page On trans | fem | endurance. Putting Black trans women and trans women of color at the center of these pages, Wark sought to show what a range of forms and expressions there might be when that’s most of the work on display, not just a margin to it.

As Wark writes in her page, “We show what’s possible, with being, and being in the world. And sometimes our art has a little of that shape-shifting power. A world that’s burning and turning upside-down might need a little of that, to endure."

You can read the brilliant pieces by Wark and Joss Barton (@ganjacum_), Davia Spain (@daviaspain), Jackie Ess (@triptotallerwindows), Linda La (@lindala.world), Vanessa Clark, Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard (@sessi.kuwabara.blanchard), Shola von Reinhold (@social_medea_ , Tamsin Kimoto, Jordana LeSesne, and Zarina C, through the link in our bio.

#criticspage #transfemendurance

05/19/2021

Artist Sheree Hovsepian (@shereehovsepian) is known for her assemblage works that incorporate silver gelatin photographs, ceramic, string and other ephemera, much of which she makes herself, evidencing the hand of the artist. Hovsepian's subject matter often includes the human body, alternatively revealed and obfuscated by a variety of constructions in varying shapes. As she notes, she uses her sister as her model, a stand-in for herself.

The Artist Profile Archive (@theartistprofilearchive), an ever-expanding multimedia archive of contemporary artists talking about their work in their own words, interviewed Hovsepian at Higher Pictures during her exhibition there in 2019. Also included in Hovsepian’s profile is her digital art piece, The Difference Between the Signals, published by the art and literature magazine, Triple Canopy.

You can watch The Artist Profile Archive's full profile of Hovsepian through the link in our bio. And you can see Hovsepian’s work in Affinities for Abstraction, on view at Parrish Art Museum (@parrishartmuseum) through July 18th and in Shapes, on view at Alexander Berggruen (@alexanderberggruen) through May 27th!

#ShereeHovsepian #TheArtistProfileArchive

“I think it’s a great privilege for an artist to be able to express himself with a video installation, with a painting, ...
05/17/2021

“I think it’s a great privilege for an artist to be able to express himself with a video installation, with a painting, with VR, with anything, why not?”

Artist Federico Solmi’s (@federico_solmi) work makes use of painting, drawings, and video animation combined by gaming technology with motion capture. His recurring subject is the knowing abuse of power, and as Rail Editor at Large Dan Cameron (@djbc1956) notes in his feature interview with Solmi, “he has a bleak and urgent message for us regarding this particularly agonizing moment in history: it has happened before, it will happen again, and there is very little within our power to stop it.”

You can read Solmi and Cameron’s full feature from our May issue through the link in our bio. And to our dear friends and readers in Los Angeles, be sure to check out Solmi’s exhibit The Bacchanalian Ones, now on view at Luis De Jesus gallery through Saturday, June 19th!

#FedericoSolmi #DanCameron #TheBacchanalianOnes

05/09/2021

Kelly Baum (@kellycbaum) and Randy Griffey (@randallgriffey), co-curators of the exhibit Alice Neel: People Come First, kick off our week of New Social Environment programming on Monday, May 10th!

Baum and Griffey will be in conversation with Rail Editor-at-Large Jason Rosenfeld (@jmrnyc1). They will discuss their curatorial practices, the Neel exhibit, and more. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Devin Goldring!

You can register for this event through the link in our bio. We’ll see you in Zoom-land at 1 pm Eastern/10 am Pacific ✨🌷🌼

#KellyBaum #RandyGriffey #AliceNeel #JasonRosenfeld #DevinGoldring @metmuseum

Russian-born, New York-based artist  Ebecho Muslimova (@ebecho) is a known for ever-evolving depictions of her illustrat...
05/06/2021

Russian-born, New York-based artist Ebecho Muslimova (@ebecho) is a known for ever-evolving depictions of her illustrated character, Fatebe, who overflows with physicality and impropriety, free of the anxieties of a socially conscious being. For our May issue feature, Rail Art Editor Anna Tome (@annahtome) met Muslimova in her Brooklyn studio to discuss her institutional debut at The Drawing Center, Scenes in the Sublevel, Fatebe’s past and future, the multitudes she contains, and the political, comic, and sexual imaginations she elicits from viewers.

Speaking of creating Fatebe Muslimova notes, “I was in a profound state of lack and she was a funny and tender thing to focus on and to possess. In comparison to the lack, her physical abundance and her emotional joyful energy felt radical to me.”

You can read this full feature interview with Muslimova through the link in our bio. And be sure to see her exhibit now on view at The Drawing Center (@drawingcenter) through May 23rd!

#EbechoMuslimova #Fatebe #ScenesintheSublevel #AnnaTome

Our May 2021 Issue is LIVE! Read it now through the link in our bio and find a print copy at your local distributor star...
05/05/2021

Our May 2021 Issue is LIVE! Read it now through the link in our bio and find a print copy at your local distributor starting on Friday.

☞ Featuring interviews with EJ Hauser (@ej_hauser), Alex Hay, Ebecho Muslimova, Federico Solmi (@federico_solmi), and Peter Lamborn Wilson

☞ A critic's page On trans | fem | endurance curated by McKenzie Wark (@mckenziewark3000)

☞ A Tribute to Barbara Rose

☞ In Music, Sadie Starnes on
The Women of Kankyō Ongaku. In Poetry, erica lewis’s “from mahogany”. In Field Notes, Paul Mattick’s “Back to the Future?” In Theater, Brittani Samuel’s “We See You, White American Theater.” In Fiction, Amber Joseph’s “Crown Heights, 2020”.

☞ Plus reviews of work by Alice Neel, Julie Mehretu, and Rebecca Warren, New Australian Art, the Museo del Barrio’s Trienal 20/21, art books by Jessica Vaughn and Julian Schnabel, an interview with Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, new books by Caleb Azumah Nelson and Nicole Krauss, and much more.

#EJHauser #AlexHay #EbechoMuslimova #FedericoSolmi #PeterLambornWilson

05/02/2021

Artist Josiah McElheny kicks off our May New Social Environment programming on Monday, 5/3!

McElheny will be in conversation with Rail Editor-at-Large Charlotte Kent (@lucyscribbles). The two will discuss McElheny’s brilliant career, including his current body of work Libraries, now on view at James Cohan gallery (@jamescohangallery) at 291 Grand St. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading by Eileen R. Tabios (@eileentabios)!

You can register for this event through the link in our bio. We’ll see you in Zoom-land at 1 pm Eastern/10 am Pacific! 🔹🔷

#JosiahMcElheny #Libraries #CharlotteKent #EileenRTabios

Robert Polidori is a photographer of human habitats, from the sprawling, “auto-constructed” cities of Rio de Janeiro and...
04/30/2021

Robert Polidori is a photographer of human habitats, from the sprawling, “auto-constructed” cities of Rio de Janeiro and Mumbai to interiors in places like Versailles (which he’s photographed over 30 years). For our April Feature Interview, Polidori spoke to Jean Dykstra about his fascination with Pompeiian interiors, memory theaters, habitat as a psychological force, and the power of the still image.

“I consider myself an iconographer,” Polidori tells Dykstra,” and iconography can have a psychological undercurrent, a deeper undercurrent.”

You can read their full conversation through the link in our bio. And be sure to see Polidori’s photographs of Pompeii and Oplontis, including frescoes in various stages of restoration now on view at Kasmin Gallery (@kasmingallery) through May 15th!

#RobertPolidori #JeanDykstra #kasmingallery

Multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator Edra Soto (@edrasoto) spoke with Robert R. Shane (@robert_r_shane), on t...
04/28/2021

Multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator Edra Soto (@edrasoto) spoke with Robert R. Shane (@robert_r_shane), on the occasion of her solo show at Morgan Lehman Gallery (@morganlehmangallery), New York, and the concurrent exhibition of her work in El Museo del Barrio’s (@elmuseo) Estamos Bien—La Trienal 20/21. They talked about Soto’s efforts to make visible the role that African diasporic traditions have played and continue to play in Puerto Rican architecture, what it was like to make art after the trauma of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and her new “Casa-Islas | House-Islands” series of conceptual drawings that reflects on isolation and home in a time of pandemic.

Speaking of her use of mirrored surfaces on her GRAFT viewfinders, Soto tells Shane, “I love providing experiences to the viewer… I think that's the role of the artist: to design how people will navigate the work.”

You can read Soto’s full interview through the link in our bio! And be sure to see her work at Morgan Lehman through May 8th, at El Museo Del Barrio through September 26th, and at Latchkey Gallery (@latchkey_gallery) through May 2nd!

#EdraSoto #RobertRShane #CasasIslasHousesIslands #ESTAMOSBIENLATRIENAL #XX

04/25/2021

Artist and educator Patty Chang kicks off our week of New Social Environment programming on Monday, April 26th for a special evening event at 7 pm Eastern!

Chang will be in conversation with writer Malvika Jolly (@dinnertheatrics). The two will discuss Chang’s body of work, including her most recent multichannel video project Milk Debt which combines the act of lactation with people’s unspoken fears.

You can register for this event through the link in our bio. We’re excited to start the week with you in the Zoom-verse ✨🌿

#pattychang #malvikajolly #milkdebt @pioneerworks @18thstreetarts @olucompany

04/23/2021

💐 An all new week of the New Social Environment 💐

On Monday, artist and educator Patty Chang will be in conversation with writer and Rail Events Assistant Malvika Jolly (@dinnertheatrics)

On Tuesday, authors Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan will be in conversation with Rail Editor-at-Large Phyllis Tuchman (@phyllis_tuchman)

On Wednesday, Mahogany L. Browne (@mobrowne)—writer, organizer, educator and curator of the Rail’s April Guest Critics Page—curates our 34th Radical Poetry reading featuring poetry read by Camryn Bruno (@queen_cammy3), Adam Falkner (@adam_falkner), Cathy Linh Che (@cathylinhche), Tongo Eisen-Martin (@_tongogara_), Suzi Q. Smith (@suziqsmith), and Caroline Rothstein (@carolinerothstein)

On Thursday, for our Common Ground conversation, curator Hongzheng Han (@hanhongzheng) will lead a panel discussion on the troubling rise in anti-Asian violence, targeted systemic racism, and cybersecurity risks in the age of Zoom, with Eng-Beng Lim (@gnebgne), John Kuo Wei Tchen, and William Beer *Please note, this will take place at a special evening time of 7 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific!*

On Friday, Jessica Morgan, Director of Dia Art Foundation (@diaartfoundation), will be in conversation with Rail Board Member Helen Lee (@helenlee_thatsme) and Rail Consulting Editor Joachim Pissarro (@joachimpissarro)

🌸 You can register for these events through the link in our bio. We're thrilled to spend another week with you in Zoom-land dear friends and readers! 🌸

*Cover image from Patty Chang's public art installation Currents*

04/23/2021

Paul McCarthy's art explores patterns of authority and conditioning in human behavior, often using skewed interpretations of iconic characters drawn from mass entertainment to emphasize his point.

For our April issue, McCarthy and Rail Editor-at-Large Dan Cameron (@djbc1956) discussed certain through lines in McCarthy's work that are as evident in his earliest performance and video works as they are in his current paintings and drawings, including his strategy of appropriating Hollywood methods to produce artworks that function as fun-house-mirror distortions of mainstream American life.

Through the link in our bio you can read McCarthy and Cameron's insightful and wide ranging conversation!

#PaulMcCarthy #PaulMcCarthyart #DanCameron

04/13/2021

Artist, photographer, and educator James Welling studied with John Baldessari and was part of a community of artists that became one of the groups that made up the Pictures Generation. This movement included artists who were interested in representational imagery, explored in part through framing and staging, hallmarks of Welling's work.

The Artist Profile Archive (@theartistprofilearchive), an ever-expanding multimedia archive of contemporary artists talking about their work in their own words, filmed a profile of Welling and his exhibition Choreograph at Regen Projects. In the above trailer for the short film Welling shares about his thoughts on talent, confidence, and persevering through mistakes as an artist.

You can watch The Artist Profile Archive's full film with Welling through the link in our bio. And you can see Welling’s exhibit Metamorphosis, an overview of his forty-year career in photography, now on view at David Zwirner Hong Kong through May 8th!

#JamesWelling #theartistprofile

For our April issue, artist Rachel Eulena Williams (@rae_eulena) spoke with painter and Rail Production Editor Louis Blo...
04/12/2021

For our April issue, artist Rachel Eulena Williams (@rae_eulena) spoke with painter and Rail Production Editor Louis Block (@louisblock) about memory and transformation in her two solo shows, and finding order within disorder.

Speaking of the transformation that she wants to happen around her work Williams tells Block, “We can get so caught up in the stories and associations that we have around objects, but when you can get into the now and the action of the work, you can see things more clearly.”

You can read this insightful conversation between the artists through the link in our bio. And for our dear friends and readers in Scotland, you can see Williams’s exhibit Silk Cotton Snow at The Modern Institute (@themoderninstitute) in Glasgow through April 24th!

#racheleulenawilliams #silkcottonsnow #louisblock #themoderninstitute

04/09/2021

"I close my eyes from the too much of the scene, cover my eyes with my hands, and leave my ears open, waiting and praying to hear a wail from the pixelated screen."

The extraordinary Mahogany L. Browne (@mobrowne) edited our April Critics Page: "Proximity of Violence & Our Black Woman Bodies." In addition to Browne's exquisite meditation, the page includes illustrations by Rico Frederick, poetry by Cathy Linh Che, Tongo Eisen-Martin (@_tongogara_), Hala Alyan (@hala.n.alyan), Suzi Q Smith, Adam Falkner (@adam_falkner), Camryn Bruno, Joel L. Daniels, Caroline Rothstein, and Jon Sands.

You can read Browne's Editor's Message through the link in our bio. And from there spend some time with the brilliant work of the featured artists.

#MahoganyLBrowne

As Allison Janae Hamilton (@allisonjanaehamilton) was preparing for her inaugural solo exhibition with Marianne Boesky, ...
04/08/2021

As Allison Janae Hamilton (@allisonjanaehamilton) was preparing for her inaugural solo exhibition with Marianne Boesky, A Romance of Paradise, she spoke with Yasi Alipour (@yasialipour) over Zoom for our April issue. From her Florida studio, surrounded by the pieces in her exhibition and the dense soundscape of the land that is at the heart of her work, the two spoke about Hamilton's multidisciplinary practice, her family’s farm, the rivers, her Black south, violent myths, and “The land as participant, as history, and as culture.”

Speaking of how she fleshes things out in her work from her own experience, Hamilton tells Alipour, “I’m threading the historical narratives I’ve studied, the experiences that I’ve had, the family histories that I’ve heard passed down from my elders, the visceral experience, the sonic experiences.”

You can read this brilliant conversation through the link in our bio. And be sure to see Hamilton's exhibit now on view at Marianne Boesky Gallery (@marianneboeskygallery) through Saturday, April 24th!

#AllisonJanaeHamilton #ARomanceofParadise #YasiAlipour #MarianneBoeskyGallery

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“So far as the art scene is concerned, it is the murmur of the city in print.” - Robert Storr

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