The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues
MAY 2018 Issue

Some Truths

Arlene Shechet, Like Kali, 2018. Glazed ceramic, wood, paint, 53 x 28 x 19 inches. © Arlene Shechet. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele. Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

On View
Almine Rech
April 21 – May 26, 2018

I vaguely remember Picasso whispering to Casagemas,

Social conservatives deprive themselves the pleasure of

Fumbling, stumping, bumbling, wobbling, wavering

Through the magic of “la fée verte.”


Spatial disequilibrium teeters the body from its inner ear,

The Body is an Ear! Take my hand,

Walk gently across this slippery terrain,

An orchestra of prodigious social characters

Here to rebel, against conservative agendas?

Yes, without pointing fingers.


Someone clucks in one corner what, Who, What, When means

Which, why, and where language often fails to describe.

The imagination—reality does not interest him whatsoever!

She, in the opposite corner, mumbles,

Your imagination does not stand straight like

How we were taught as children in earthy paradise.


He, “I have no sense of humor.”

“Try to stick your index finger,” she says “in between

Your sternal ends, ah, in Roundabout ways.”

Pow! He, “I feel like a stoutly Balzac in Rodin’s hands

About to fall off the pedestal.”


Tickling gravity, softening a perpendicular axis in

Equal Time, “aggressive tenderness,” “Hermetica

Buddhist” aura, shaking hands with Sigmund Freud

Not far from Prambanan temple.

I really dig the “hybrid comic clumsiness” that she’s been

Harvesting unapologetically for quite some time.


It’s a holistic yet synthetic Deep Listening.

Once it’s heard, everyone walks between intervals

Like drunken monkies in Journey to the West.

Echoing the Big Bang with constant mantra,

Like Kali, a force of time.

Serenely fierce, capable of Standing Paw.

Giving birth to mortals of various casts, sizes,

Heights, widths, to-be made, readymade, all

Resting on countless impeccable foundations.

Installation view of Arlene Shechet: Some Truths, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris. © Arlene Shechet. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele. Courtesy the Artist and Almine Rech Gallery.


Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues