Sara Christoph is the Managing Director of the Brooklyn Rail.
FEB 2017 | The Well
To the last evening of freedom—the toast heard with every clinking glass. On the night of Thursday, January 19, Marie’s Crisis, a stronghold of New York life for more than a century, bubbled over with Weimarian revelry.
APR 2017 | ArtSeen
The tragedy of Ajax, a fierce, respected warrior who loses himself within frenzied slaughter, still resounds two thousand years later. “Yet I feel his wretchedness,” Odysseus, his rival, laments. “My enemy, yes, but caught up in a terrible doom.
MAY 2017 | The Well
On a recent, unseasonably frigid Saturday night, four friends turned to comedy for an escape from the times. (“If presidents can’t do it to their wives, they do it to their country,” Mel Brooks once said.)
JUNE 2016 | ArtSeen
In the spring of 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law, erecting a boundarythe Mississippi Riverbetween Americans in the East, and those unwelcome inhabitants, Native Americans, forced to the West.
OCT 2016 | The Well
Only four swift, tourist-cluttered blocks from the newly minted Apple store, a veritable oasis lies in wait. Push through Rosemary’s swinging wooden doors and bathe in a ruby-red glow of year-round Christmas lights, throw back a $3 Budweiser, and attempt to slowly out-woo a warm, dreadlocked bartender who calls everyone “honey.”
DEC 16-JAN 17 | ArtSeen
Through the lens of Eggleston’s sensuous, radical color, the things that seemed so distant at the time—most poignantly, the fragility of the American Dream—were very close indeed.
How To See the World: An Introduction to Images, from Self-Portraits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and Moreby Sara Christoph
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Art Books
How To See the World is like a set of jumper cables for the eyes, jolting us out of our image glut. Nicholas Mirzoeff, a visual culture theorist and professor of media at NYU, continues the democratizing work of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972) by expanding the scope of image studies to phenomena as diverse as 19th-century battlefield maps and astronaut selfies in space.
MAR 2015 | ArtSeen
In 1978, when Francesca Woodman was 20 years old and beginning a life as an artist, John Berger wrote “Uses of Photography.” In the essay, Berger distinguishes between two functions of the medium: private and public.
JUNE 2015 | ArtSeen
In the mythological tales of ancient Greece, the power of a seer was her ability to see through timeboth a blessing and a curse.
NOV 2015 | ArtSeen
In 1968, in coordination with the United States, the British government began to forcibly expel nearly 2,000 inhabitants of Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands chain in the Indian Ocean.
APR 2014 | ArtSeen
Though housed in the impeccable walls of Dominique Lévy uptown, the sculptures of Germaine Richier look to have been unearthed just moments ago, as if pulled from the ground like the cast bodies of Pompeii.
JUL-AUG 2014 | ArtSeen
I think there isnt a photograph in the world that has any narrative ability, Garry Winogrand told Bill Moyers in 1982. They do not tell storiesthey show you what something looks like. To a camera.
NOV 2014 | ArtSeen
Munro Galloways recent exhibition at Soloway, entitled Belief System, begins with a Surrealist prompt and ends with pure pigment, rich and untethered.
MAR 2013 | ArtSeen
Has language effectively usurped the air around contemporary art objects? Today, it feels a bit like a foregone conclusion. We rely upon object labels and critical writings to provide context that blank walls cannot; in most cases, we expect such textual explanations even if we despise them.
FEB 2012 | ArtSeen
The people of Rembrandts world do everything New Yorkers doskate through the streets, smirk at foreign eyes, toast to their own survivaljust set against bucolic Dutch scenery.
SEPT 2011 | Art
George Gittoes was recently able to set aside some time for an extended conversation with Railpublisher Phong Bui and his students in the MFA Art Criticism and Writing program at the School of Visual Arts, via Skype from Pakistan.
NOV 2010 | Art
On the occasion of his recent solo exhibition To New York With Love at James Fuentes Gallery, Jonas Mekas, the indefatigable advocate of American independent cinema, graciously took the time out of his busy schedule to meet with the graduate students of the Art Criticism and Writing program at the School of Visual Arts for an in-depth conversation.
MAR 2017 | ArtSeen
In describing the indomitable corporations that shape the global arms trade, Riccardo Privitera, star of Johan Grimonprez’s film blue orchids (2017), takes a long draw from his Merit cigarette, and shapes his stout fingers into a claw.
MAY 2017 | ArtSeen
The films of San Juan-based artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz are startlingly enchanting. Steeped in the visual traditions of cinéma vérité and postcolonial theory, the filmmaker’s long, intimate shots belie rigorous tactics of destabilization.
FEB 2016 | Art Books
For many of us, John Berger is a marker in time. There is the period before our first exposure to his profound and radical insights, and the period after, when the controlling circuitries of power and class are revealed.
JUL-AUG 2016 | Art
For Thomas Roma and Leo Rubinfien, two photographers who came of age when American giants like Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, and Garry Winogrand were redefining the black-and-white medium, conversations around the practice of photography are fist-shaking discussions of life, tears, vulnerability, and ethics.
NOV 2016 | Art
Since moving to the U.S. from Pakistan in the mid-’90s, Shahzia Sikander has pushed through boundaries corroded by decades of multiculturalist rhetoric with an artistic practice that reimagines the connections between Eastern experiences and Western perspectives.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Critics Page
In these dark, unshakable, post-election days—when terrible contingencies claw at one’s balance—what is an art writer to do? Language feels imperiled, rhetoric thrown about like confetti and calcifying into a divisive wall of apathy.
FEB 2015 | Art
Living through the Vietnam War as a child and immigrating to the United States as a teenager, An-My Lês life has been indelibly marked by international conflict. For over two decades, her work as a photographer has engaged the unseen facets within the theater of war.
MAY 2015 | ArtSeen
Photographer Arne Svenson has garnered much notoriety as of late. The infamy began in 2013, when Svenson was lampooned in the Tribeca Citizen by his neighbors, appalled that he would secretly photograph them within their glass houses (The Neighbors, 2012). He went to court twice to protect his actions as fine art; twice the court ruled in his favor.
SEPT 2015 | ArtSeen
A boy with a youthful round face, maybe eight or ten years old, stands tall with his arms relaxed at his sides. He wears a dark suit, well-worn boots, and a wrinkled white apron. His clothes swallow his body as if designed for someone taller.
MAR 2014 | ArtSeen
What does it mean, now, in an age of public spectacle and private surveillance, to paint pictures of domestic life? Has that worddomesticalready prodded you to the next review? It is a term so loaded, so heavy with the dueling stones of feminist theory and conservative conformity.
MAY 2014 | ArtSeen
I feel like a pelican in a church, Forrest Bess wrote to his dealer, Betty Parsons, in 1949. He was staying at a friends house in Woodstock, New York, painting and passing time until the opening of his first show in December of that same year.
SEPT 2014 | ArtSeen
Stepping through the grand red doorway of The Production Line of Happiness, a single photograph of a finger touching a glowing green button hangs on the wall.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | Art Books
The Rails selection of the best art books of 2014.
JUL-AUG 2013 | Art
Dont worry, I didnt know what I was doing either when I started, Mark di Suvero said on a recent June morning, as he worked a hunk of rust-colored clay between his hands. The sculptor, whose towering steel monuments spot museums and plazas around the globe, sat at a kid-sized cafeteria table, his legs dangling off the edge.
JUL-AUG 2011 | ArtSeen
If you actually want to feel the earth spin on its axis, stand underneath a monumental sculpture by Mark di Suvero. His sculptures, 11 of which are now installed on Governors Island, are steel mammoths that completely reorient the way the eye perceives space. In each work industrial beamssome painted and others left to rust in the elementstower towards the sky.
NOV 2011 | ArtSeen
While protestors on Wall Street fight to reclaim the economic system, the Noguchi Museum, too, is looking to re-occupy what has been usurped by corporate structures. Tired of the visual pollution from energy towers and fenced-off warehouses, the museum has teamed up with Socrates Sculpture Park to present Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City.