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Phillip Griffith

Phillip Griffith is a writer, editor, and scholar living in New York City. 

In Conversation

WAYNE KOESTENBAUM with Phillip Griffith

On September 21st at The Kitchen, Wayne Koestenbaum performed a suite of trance-like Sprechstimme improvisations at the piano to mark the publication of his new book, The Pink Trance Notebooks, a series of poems assembled from a yearlong experiment in journaling (Nightboat, 2015).

In Conversation

On Memory : Bernadette Mayer with Phillip Griffith

In July 1971, poet Bernadette Mayer set out to complete what she called an “emotional science project” by setting a set of constraints for herself: to shoot one roll of Kodachrome film on a 35mm camera each day of the month while simultaneously keeping a set of journals.

In Conversation

HARMONY HAMMOND with Phillip Griffith

Harmony Hammond made her start as an artist in the feminist milieu of 1970s New York, co-founding A.I.R. Gallery, the first women’s gallery, in 1972. Her early artwork developed a feminist and lesbian idiom for painting and sculpture, especially in such celebrated works as her woven and painted Floorpieces (1973) and wrapped sculptures, like Hunkertime (1979 – 80).


Two shows on view at the Studio Museum of Harlem dramatize the resistance of art to fixity and stability, through the abstract paintings in Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange and what might today be termed the “socially-engaged” photographs in Lorraine O’Grady: Art Is….


Everyday life presents each of us with the opportunity to play out a carefully choreographed (if unrecognized) performance: I rise, I shower, I dress, I walk. In Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s set of five sculptural works, exhibited under the title INTRANSITIVE, pink, yellow, and purple Hydrocal casts of the artist’s body document her interaction with a collection of DIY furniture built for the exhibit.

PETER PILLER Erscheinungen

A cresting hill forces a sharp incline in the otherwise flat highway. Industrial grays and frontage greens fly by the window in the driver’s periphery. From over the hill, a figure emerges into view, a woman’s outline—an apparition sheathed in a sheer curtain—imposes itself on the landscape.


Like any election year, 2016 is a year of slogans. Make America great again. With the recent vote on Brexit in the United Kingdom, slogans there, too, where politicians like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage peddled: Take back control.

Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York

When the New York poet Eileen Myles appeared in a brief cameo in the second season of Transparent, it felt like an experience of New York City had been turned inside out.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya Figures, Grounds and Studies

The relational spaces opened by the images in Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s Figures, Grounds and Studies are a happy disturbance to the homogenizing squares and grids of social media and dating app profile photos.

Andrea Geyer: plein-air

What can be done about rural voters? As the US election cycle keeps turning toward 2024, we’ll be reading and hearing more of this question in its various permutations. The columns and commentary will sound the same, rehashing what we’ve read before. Andrea Geyer’s exhibition plein-air turns a similar line of questioning inside out, offering facts gathered as part of her research-based practice to delve into the ideological uses of nature by the far right.

The Language of Things

Downtown around City Hall Park, where the Public Art Fund currently presents The Language of Things, an exhibition of sculptural works, the various rhythms spoken by the city include those of tourists, street performers, and office workers—not to mention that particular rhythm of summertime city heat that expresses itself in shared encounters of sound, stench, and sweat.


An imaginary fence runs between the new work of William Pope.L and Will Boone on view at Andrea Rosen Gallery. It fences in and fences out, work and viewer.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

“It is a sacrilege,” bell hooks wrote in a 1994 essay about the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “to reserve this beauty solely for art.” The latest exhibition of his work, and the first at David Zwirner Gallery, arrives on the occasion of the artist's longtime gallerist and estate executor Andrea Rosen’s recently announced co-representation of Gonzales-Torres’s estate with David Zwirner.

Lucas Samaras: Me, Myself and …

Origins and foreseen endings bookend each moment of Me, Myself and …, Lucas Samaras’s latest exhibition of digitally produced photos and photomontages. “My mother brought her dress from Paris,” begins a line of text that introduces the exhibition.

From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola

Collaboration can be a strange affair. Some tantalize with the right combustion of kindred spirits. But some go no further than creating two distinct, if complementary, halves of a work clearly produced by their respective artists.


On November 11, art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty and artists Zoe Beloff and Katarina Burin gathered at the Graduate Center, CUNY, to discuss “Fabulated Archives.”

Richard Pousette-Dart: Works 1940 – 1992

The paintings that occupy the main space of Richard Pousette-Dart: Works 1940 – 1992 create full visual environments, like a sun filling the sky with heat or a carpet of vegetation covering a lawn.

Günther Förg: Works from 1986 – 2007

Hauser & Wirth's exhibition Günther Förg: Works from 1986 – 2007 presents painting, sculpture, and photography by the German artist, whose estate is now represented by the gallery, in a new institutional setting.

Simone Fattal

The fourteen stoneware sculptural works in Simone Fattal’s first New York City solo exhibition resonate with a curious force of intimate gravity. Taken individually, they convey monumentality; stepping back, each could be easily held—delicately—in your hands or arms.

Being: New Photography

Being, MoMA’s current iteration of the “New Photography” exhibition series, assumes an unwieldy, ambitious title but offers work often in portraiture, that appeals to our intimate understandings of our selves.

In Practice: Another Echo

In the wake of the #MeToo moment, time’s up as they say. As accusation and confession give voice to new power dynamics, the cultural spasm promises to reverberate throughout our cultural, business, and political worlds. The stories of those whose voices were previously devalued to the point of silence may even give us a framework for re-reading some of the foundational myths of our culture.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Untitled (1989)

Several blocks downtown, at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Christopher Street, a billboard presides over Sheridan Square, Pride’s epicenter. At first, it seems a vacancy; the billboard is black with two stacked lines of simple white text running along the bottom edge.

Chloë Bass: The Parts

Chloë Bass’s The Parts, organized by the Brooklyn Public Library’s curator for visual art programming Cora Fisher outside the Central Branch in Grand Army Plaza and the Center for Brooklyn History in Brooklyn Heights, addresses both the isolation brought on by the pandemic and the trauma and exasperation of Black and brown Americans brought on by police killings.

John Ashbery: The Construction of Fiction

After the death of the artist and poet Joe Brainard in 1994, his friend, the poet John Ashbery, recovered an envelope of paper cuttings Brainard had collected for use in collages. The envelope was a posthumous message for Ashbery and reminded him of the collages he had made while spending time with Brainard and the poet James Schuyler in the 1970s. For Ashbery, who died in September 2017, the envelope was a fond reminder of his friend and signaled a return to his work as a collagist.

Jake Berthot: The Enamels

The fifteen mostly untitled enamel works on paper on view at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation, all made between 1981 and 1987 (though including several undated works), flirt in the border territory between abstraction and figuration.

In Conversation

Alison Knowles with Carolee Schneemann

Knowles and Schneemann, in their own ways, indelibly shaped performance art’s trajectory throughout the late 20th century. In October, the two artists met at Knowles’s Manhattan loft to discuss Fluxus, feminism, life with partners, friendships, families, and art.

David Deitcher, Stone’s Throw

A large blank white paper sheet with an inch-wide black border, from Untitled (The End) (1990), a paper-stack work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, hangs on my bedroom wall. Friends react variously to this sheet taken from its stack, often with confusion at how slapdash it looks taped up there, sometimes making fun of the idea that it’s an artwork, with pause for its perceived melancholy.

Excerpts from the 1971 Journal of Rosemary Mayer

What do we do when we journal, or keep a diary? To follow the example of Rosemary Mayer’s newly excerpted and edited journals, which document a pivotal year in Mayer’s life and career, one might recount one’s thoughts on the relation of beauty to the art object or what it takes to be an artist, along with impressions of concerts attended, friends visited, lovers lost or found, and meals eaten.

The Estrangement Principle

Ariel Goldberg borrows the title of their book-length essay on queer art, The Estrangement Principle, from the experimental writer Renee Gladman, who edited the “dyke zine” Clamour from 1996 to 1999.

Jennifer L. Shaw, Exist Otherwise: The Life and Works of Claude Cahun

In her 1930 masterpiece Disavowals: or Cancelled Confessions (French title: Aveux non avenus), Claude Cahun offers her reader the following provocation: “Only with the very tip would I wish to sew, sting, kill.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme's And Yet My Mask Is Powerful

“First the air is blue and then,” as reports the diver, “it is bluer and then green and then / black I am blacking out and yet / my mask is powerful / it pumps my blood with power.”

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965 – 2016 and Adrian Piper: A Reader

Adrian Piper has long grappled with the immediate, present-tense experience of the viewer in front of an artwork—an art encounter that can bring awareness of what she calls the “indexical present.

Conversations About Sculpture

In May 2008, as the Parisian daylight stretched into summer hours, Richard Serra’s set of five 56-foot-tall steel plates, Promenade, had taken over the city’s cavernous, glass-roofed Grand Palais. In the Tuileries Garden, Serra’s 1983 work Clara-Clara, with its paired, inverted semicircles (or more precisely, conical sections), had been reinstalled in its original location at the garden’s gate to accompany the new work.

Tara McDowell’s The Householders: Robert Duncan and Jess

An examination into how Robert Duncan and Jess transformed the benignly bourgeois domestic space into a political one, making this newly imagined domesticity the grounds for the work of artistic creation.


Anne Carson’s Float flirts with the genre of the artist’s book just as did her somber, brilliant Nox and Antigonick, her collaborative edition (with illustrations by Bianca Stone) of Sophocles’s Antigone.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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