The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2021

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MARCH 2021 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

45. (568 Broadway, Hoboken)

For her second solo show at this SoHo gallery (the first consisted of nothing more than 29 pieces of detritus she had collected near her studio in Hoboken), an artist introduces not a single object into the space, which has recently been expanded and renovated by a world-famous architect known for his subtle touch. His operative rule is that “everything possible must be done to allow pictures to breathe and be enjoyed without distraction.” Here, however, there will be no pictures, and nothing to be distracted from. The artist hasn’t altered the space at all, other than allowing a gallery employee to do some retouching to the paint and to position the lights so that they are pointing at the walls. What’s more, she instructs the gallery to leave her name off the invitation card and to mention neither the title of the exhibition nor the dates of its run. Accordingly the announcement is sent to everyone on the gallery’s mailing list with no other information than the address and hours of operation. The only other trace of the show’s existence is a line on the artist’s CV, but she subsequently removes even this brief mention.

Two months after the exhibition ends, the architect who designed the space dies in London at the age of 59 from an AIDS-related illness. Two years after that, following a series of actions that include her placing a pile of 300 $1 bills in a New York museum for visitors to take (which they do almost immediately), sleeping in a gallery in Germany every night for seven weeks and going out each day to work with disabled children, and having a museum in Belgium publish an edition of her private diary without her name on it, the artist falls into conversation with a homeless man near her New Jersey studio. She decides to devote herself to helping him find a subsidized apartment, which she eventually succeeds in doing. From this moment on she refuses all invitations to participate in art exhibitions and begins pursuing an entirely new career as a social worker in psychiatric hospitals.

(Laurie Parsons, Lorence-Monk Gallery, Max Gordon)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2021

All Issues