We stand in solidarity with the uprising unfolding across the country following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Jamel Floyd, and those affected by generations of structural violence against Black communities.

We're putting together a list of resources for self-education, mutual aid, and ongoing action in the struggle for racial justice.

The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2020

All Issues
JUNE 2020 Issue
Critics Page

Artists and Writers

Authors say that writing sometimes writes itself, notably when their characters seem to speak out in their own voice. Visual artists claim a pristine silence for their own, which they prize, eye and hand alone together gladly, no words. The word that breaks that silence is often recriminatory, and resented. It came upon a scene uninvited, that should not have been witnessed. Words, they say, compromise sight, and the silent work of the eye.

Some of that is true enough. But for me writing is practice, without distinction between word and sight. I write my way to my work and I work my way to words, performing both tasks with one instrument, as if it has a front and back. The task hones both faces. They are both windows.

Artists don’t admit how often a word soothes and liberates a tangle that won’t undo, in which the eye finds no shape. The dichotomy of sight and word is real, but it is as much a terrain as a divide. It may be visited. When artists write on art, they travel between silence and sound. Coming from there, they would be translators here. Translators perhaps more than authors.

Translation reveals the subject, like an X-ray, or turning on a raking light. What is reportage, or critique, to discovery? To see more than I could see before? I am, no exaggeration, mad for that.

Contributor

Brandt Junceau

Brandt Junceau is a sculptor, currently teaching at the New York Studio School. Instagram: @brandtjunceau 

close

The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2020

All Issues