Barry Schwabsky is a poet and the art critic for The Nation. His recent books include Heretics of Language (Black Square Editions, 2018) and Landscape Painting Now (DAP, 2019).
| Editor's Message
Every artwork has to be imagined before it is made, and every artwork thats made only takes effect in someones imagination, where it may continue to unfold even long after it has been lost to sight.
Archie Rand recently published an unusual book, The 613 (Blue Rider Press, 2015), reproducing his extraordinary series of paintings corresponding to the 613 mitzvot (commandments) of the Hebrew Bible.
Joan Jonas’s current exhibition What Is Found in the Windowless House Is True, on view through June 11 at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, is the artist’s first in her hometown since 2010—and thus also the first since her acclaimed work for the U.S. Pavilion at the fifty-sixth Venice Biennale in 2015, They Come to Us Without a Word.
The day after the opening of British artist Alice Channers current exhibition at Lisa Cooley Gallery (Cold Blood, through December 23), Barry Schwabsky met her at the gallery and they decided to take a stroll while discussing the show and its background in her two educations.
A feminist multimedia artist and curator, Ellen Cantor’s work began to garner critical acclaim in the early 1990’s. As part of a generation of young feminist artists interested in female representation, Cantor explored the relationship between fiction and life, good and evil, and the role of the female protagonist.
One of my big complaints about art magazines has a simple solution.
| Black Paintings
Did Reinhardt really believe that the art he called for could exist, that the museum he called for could exist, that the academy he called for could exist?
Fabers new edition of Samuel Becketts poems, replacing the old Collected Poems in English and French on which most readers have depended since its first publication in 1977, is part of their program to reissue the Irish writers work following the closing down of his former publisher, Calder Publications.
This July, an extraordinary three-day celebration of new poetry from across the U.K. and North America took place at The Greenwich Cross-Genre Festival. Organized by Emily Critchley and Carol Watts at the University of Greenwich, its focus was on innovative writing and performance, including work that crossed the boundaries separating poetry from sound art or music, and syntheses of poetry with video and other visual media.
On the occasion of her recent exhibitions at Green Gallery, Milwaukee, and Shane Campbell Gallery, Oak Park, Illinois, Barry Schwabsky took a road trip with Michelle Grabner during which they discussed her paintings as well as the curatorial projects she runs with her husband Brad Killam.
Bettina Pousttchi is a Berlin-based artist who works with photography and sculpture. This month, she has two exhibitions opening in Washington, D.C.: World Time Clock at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (June 9, 2016 January 2017), and Double Monuments atthe Phillips Collection (June 9, 2016 October 2, 2016). Barry Schwabsky sat down with her in New York to find out more.
On the occasion of Rafael Ferrers participation in the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013, Barry Schwabsky met with the Puerto Rican-born musician-turned-artist to find out what it was like to re-encounter his own younger self.
On the occasion of the current exhibition Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, Sandra Backlund at the Art Institute of Chicago, Barry Schwabsky met with Bless, the design team of Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag to discuss clothes, life, collaboration, and art.
A work of criticism, to paraphrase Donald Judd, need only be interesting. Thats easier said than done, needless to say, and all the more so insofar as it cannot be defined in advance what would make such a work interesting.
Jonas became a pioneer of video installation as a genre, not necessarily intending it, but by responding to changes in technology and the circumstances of exhibition-marking as theyve shifted over the decadesand to her own developing sense of space.
| Critics Page
I learned from so many people: artists, writers, dealers—really, whoever would bother to talk to me. But sometimes there didn’t have to be that much talk.
Italo Calvino, as everyone knows, launched writing his career as a realistor rather, as an Italian working in the immediate aftermath of World War II, a neo-realist. Soon frustrated by the limitations of that aesthetic, the story goes, he took new inspiration from fantasy, fable, and folkloreas he would later from Oulipian experimentalismand turned himself into a very different sort of writer.
Barry Schwabsky is art critic for The Nation. His recent poetry publications are Book Left Open in the Rain (Black Square Editions/The Brooklyn Rail, 2009) and 12 Abandoned Poems (Kilmog Press, 2010).