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Karen Chernick

Karen Chernick is a Tel Aviv-based arts and culture journalist.

The Indian Congress, 2021

Maybe it would have been impossible to fit them all into one frame. All five hundred delegates stacked into a single group portrait, an epic souvenir of every Native American who participated in the Indian Congress in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898.

Nell Painter's Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over

Nell Painter made no mention of the fact that she was enrolled as a first-year graduate painting student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) during her guest television appearance on The Colbert Report in March 2010. She wasn’t there to talk about the new career she had started from scratch, at age sixty-four, as an artist.

Peggy Phelan and Richard Meyer’s Contact Warhol: Photography Without End

If Andy Warhol had an Instagram account, its feed would probably look like the 3,600 gridded contact sheets he produced during the last decade of his life.

Alive Still: Nell Blaine, American Painter

When painter Nell Blaine was just 37 years old, she was almost completely paralyzed from the neck down, after the start of a burgeoning career in the downtown New York City art scene. Yet that’s not the closing chapter of Alive Still: Nell Blaine, American Painter, the recently published first biography of this lesser-known postwar American artist, which chronicles Blaine’s five-decade career.

Alice Trumbull Mason: Pioneer of American Abstraction

Daughter Emily Mason decided it was time to sort through her mother’s archive of a life spent championing abstract art in America to compile a monograph that richly illustrates and closely examines her mother’s paintings, prints, and poems.

Designing a New Tradition: Loïs Mailou Jones and the Aesthetics of Blackness

This second monograph on Jones fleshes out the details of the artist’s biography using records kept at Howard University and interviews with former students such as artists David Driskell and Akili Ron Anderson. Rebecca VanDiver reinterprets Jones’s work, arguing that she nimbly laced together American, African American, African, and European artistic traditions—in order to fashion a brand new one.

Ann Marks’s Vivian Maier Developed: The Untold Story of the Photographer Nanny

Pairing dysfunction with a family history of mental illness, the biography paints Maier as a tortured figure. And, as Marks tells it, it was mental illness that drove Maier to take thousands of images.

Listening to Clay

Listening to Clay contextualizes the techniques, cultural attitudes towards, and markets for ceramics in twentieth-century Japan. Fitting for a book with the word ‘listening’ in its title, it has far more words than images.

Maria Lassnig: The Biography

This newly translated biography shares details that give a sense of who this self-inspecting artist was on and off the canvas. It studies the life of an artist who spent over seven decades obsessively studying herself.

Francesca Woodman’s The Artist’s Books

Now, with the release of Francesca Woodman: The Artist’s Books, even the most informed Woodman fans are discovering that there’s still more they didn’t know about her. Of the eight artist’s books gathered in this volume, only one has ever been previously published and two were rediscovered recently (in the archives of The Woodman Family Foundation, which also include the many notebooks Woodman kept for to-do lists, ideas, and sketches).

Aenne Biermann: Up Close and Personal

The first English-language monograph of the photographer to include her family’s vintage photographs. The book also draws on the recollections of the Biermann family, and is the first to include the family in its production, consolidating the elusive known facts about Biermann and introducing her to new audiences.

Emma Amos: Color Odyssey

This catalogue, filled with contributions by women in the arts who knew the artist personally, provides a survey befitting the now-unmasked member of the anonymous feminist Guerrilla Girls. The book gathers a chorus of voices representing expertise in the diverse materials Amos used and loved, illustrating her role as a mentor, peer, and friend.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues