David Levi Strauss
David Levi Strauss is an internationally known poet, essayist, art and cultural critic, and educator from the United States. He is the author of a book of poetry, four books of essays, and numerous monographs and catalogues on artists
RIVER RAIL | River Rail
Alchemy and Hermeticism are about the primacy of the in-between. Reality and healing and transformation and creation and art are in the in-between, the both-and. And to the extent that we lose the ability to be in-between, we lose the world, and, for now, we have lost the ability to be in-between, and we have lost the world.
NOV 2018 | Field Notes
Periodically, it seems, the fake language of power is pushed aside by the real language of power on the floor of the U.S. Senate, in a hearing for the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice nominee.
JUL-AUG 2016 | Art
Bill was first and last a poet, certainly, but also a great writer on art. He was there at the birth of the short-form review, mostly written by poets, and became an exemplar of that unforgiving form, wherein every word must hold.
OCT 2016 | Special Report
The first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wasn’t quite as impressive, in the end, but Clinton was able to bait Trump and goad him into a flurry of attacks that left him winded and gasping. She didn’t knock him out, but most post-debate commentators gave her a clear victory on points.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Editor's Message
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a self-inflicted wound that will not heal anytime soon. It will fester and infect other parts of the Social Body for years to come.
SEPT 2015 | Art
A little boy lies face down on the beach, as if sleeping. He is dressed in a red shirt, blue pants, and sneakers, and his hair is neatly combed. He looks peaceful. Someone should wake him, before the sun burns his skin and the cold waves reach him.
MAY 2012 | Art
Ive found that students who are beginning to write criticism usually start with the vehement denunciation and vituperation first, and it might be a very long time before they get around to the metaphysics.
OCT 2012 | Art
Prior to the opening reception of the writer/artist's new show at 1:1 gallery, (Vanishing Art & Hoodoo Metaphysics, September 23 October 20) a group of students the Art Criticism and Writing M.F.A. program at the School of Visual Arts drove upstate to speak with Peter Lamborn Wilson.
APR 2011 | Art
Leo Steinberg was a great writer. His writings will endure as long as readers still exist who cherish art and writing as much as he did.
SEPT 2011 | Art
Beuys was fascinated by the Twin Towers. He must have seen them to great effect when he flew into John F. Kennedy Airport on January 19. In the terms of his theory of sculpture, the Twin Towers were classic crystalline forms: rigid, dry, and cold, like the basalt columns of 7000 Oaks.
JUL-AUG 2010 | Art
On the occasion of the pending release of his new film The Miscreants of Taliwood, artist and filmmaker George Gittoes, while visiting New York, sat down with David Levi Strauss at his High Falls home in upstate New York to talk about war, sex, religion, politics, lightness and darkness, and the impetus behind his films and his art.
OCT 2009 | Poetry
On a late Saturday afternoon in August, Publisher Phong Bui and Art Editor John Yau drove up to High Falls, New York, to visit the poet and writer Robert Kelly at Consulting Editor David Levi Strausss library to discuss Kellys life and work.
SEPT 2008 | Art
I never knew Bruce Conner. But I did know a guy named Bruce who hung out at the Mabuhay Gardens in North Beach in 1978, taking pictures. Id just arrived in San Francisco from Kansas, and the Mabuhay was the place to be.
OCT 2008 | Express
I received this letter from Alf Landon when I was fifteen years old, in Kansas, in 1968, after Id written to him to complain that political party conventions were outmoded. Landon had supported Theodore Roosevelts Progressive Party in 1922, and was elected governor of Kansas in 1932, serving as a very popular moderate-to-liberal Republican, and gaining a reputation for cutting taxes and balancing the budget.
DEC 08-JAN 09 | Art
On the occasion of Terry Winters new exhibit Knotted Graphs, which comprises two new series of paintings and fourteen graphite drawings and will be on view at Matthew Marks Gallery on West 22nd street until January 24, 2009, the painter welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui and consulting editors David Levi Strauss and Peter Lamborn Wilson on-site to talk about the new body of work.
NOV 2007 | Art
In the midst of preparing for his retrospective at MoMA, Martin Puryear took time out to talk about his life and work with the Rails Consulting Editor, David Levi Strauss. They are neighbors in the Hudson River Valley, and the conversation took place at Strausss home near High Falls, not far from Puryears house and studio.
MAR 2006 | Express
This is a clear infraction. The signal-to-noise barrier has been repeatedly violated in this sector. Irrational dogs roam the perimeter, barking in time.
MAR 2006 | Art
One Saturday afternoon in February, Rail publisher Phong Bui drove up the Hudson Valley to High Falls, New York to visit our consulting editor David Levi Strauss in his library, where they both sat down to talk to art critic Michael Brenson about his life and work.
JUL-AUG 2006 | Film
This was an opening paper for a conference at Princeton University, “Magic and the American Avant-Garde Cinema.”
DEC 04-JAN 05 | Express
The following talk, illustrated with forty sets of slides, was given at The Great Hall at Cooper Union in Manhattan on November 9, 2004 to begin a conversation with Seymour Hersh, Luc Sante, and David Levi Strauss, moderated by Brian Wallis.
JUL-AUG 2005 | Books
The essayist and fiction writer Guy Davenport died just after the first of the year, at age 77. On an afternoon in May, Robert Kelly came over from Bard to my side of the river, to High Falls, and we sat down to discuss Davenports life and works.
MAY 2004 | Art
Robert Bergman is a photographer who extends out of the tradition of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, poets who possessed a bottomless empathy for their subjects. And, like a poet, his work can be found in a book, rather than in a gallery.
OCT 2004 | Express
Watching Jimmy Carter last night, all white hair and teeth in the lights, I remembered his candidacy in 1976, when Hunter S. Thompson endorsed him in Rolling Stone right before the election, guaranteeing the youth vote.
APR 2018 | ArtSeen
One of the virtues of this little show at the Met is that it reminds us of the extent to which the problem with Golub’s work, in terms of institutional support, was not only political, but also aesthetic. From the beginning of his mature work, Golub was trying to find a new way to paint, and that pursuit put him in constant conflict with reigning orthodoxies.
FEB 2017 | Art
John Berger died just as the United States of America was crossing over from the triumph of neoliberalism to the final melding of corporate power with state power that defines fascism.
SEPT 2016 | Special Report
As we begin to pack up the Jetta for the trip to Cleveland, an ISIS-inspired lone loser has devastated Nice by turning driving into terror, after the shooter in Dallas turned cop-killing into terror, and speculations abound about what particular kind of terror will hit Cleveland this week.
NOV 2016 | Special Report
When Trump supporters view the Access Hollywood video, they see and hear something completely different from what anti-Trump people see and hear in it.
FEB 2015 | Critics Page
I knew Robert Duncan and Jess in the last 10 years of Duncans life, from 1978 to 1988. I just realized yesterday that I am now the age that Duncan was when I first met him (60). But then, I was 25.
JUL-AUG 2014 | Art
David Levi Strauss is a writer who looks deeply into the dark realities of our world, providing analysis that is both sensitive and urgent. His newest work, Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography (Aperture, 2014) is a major intervention in contemporary discourse on photography and political representation.
SEPT 2012 | ArtSeen
A few months ago, Martin Puryear asked me to write an essay for a catalogue to accompany an exhibition of his new work at McKee Gallery (May 3 - June 29, 2012). When I went to Martins studio to see the sculptures that would appear in the show, the wheels immediately began to turn, and I knew that I could write the essay.
DEC 12-JAN 13 | ArtSeen
If its not good writing, it cant be good criticism, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin in The Author as Producer. Thats the basic premise of my graduate program in Art Criticism & Writing at the School of Visual Arts.
JUL-AUG 2011 | Art
Shortly after attending the opening of Dorothea Rockburne: In My Minds Eye at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton (June 19 August 14, 2011), Rail Consulting Editor David Levi Strauss and Christopher Bamford went to Dorothea Rockburnes studio in SoHo to discuss the show.
JUNE 2010 | ArtSeen
The current (Summer 2010) issue of Aperture magazine contains a curious article written by Andy Grundberg, former photography critic for the New York Times and now Associate Dean and Chair of Photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.
APRIL 2009 | Art
"It's too easy to blame Kevin Carter for being the vulture, where in fact we are the vultures, the vulture is us," says Jaar.
SEPT 2008 | Express
When Obama spoke of the debacle of the last eight years of American politics and said "We're better than this," people knew he meant them.
OCT 2008 | Express
Who says we cant afford another big election about small things? Isnt it the little things that matter most? Like Bristol Palins teen pregnancy, and her mothers big gun? Like John McCains age and Barack Obamas secret Muslim heart?
NOV 2008 | Express
I felt early on, from age ten or so, that a big part of politics was emotional, and had everything to do with the collective imagination and memory.
FEB 2007 | Art
At the end of October, Alfredo Jaar invited a number of artists and writers from all over the world to join him in Santiago, Chile for a Semana Crítica (Week of Criticism or Discussion).
Green Hermeticism: David Levi Strauss in conversation with Peter Lamborn Wilson and Christopher Bamford
DEC 07-JAN 08 | Art
"We all agreed that there is not a sufficient spiritual focus for the environmental movement," says Lamborn Wilson. "And without a spiritual focus, a movement like this doesn't generate the kind of emotional energy that it needs to battle against global capitalism."
MAR 2006 | Express
Now that it looks like things are finally beginning to fall apart for these thugs who have taken over the U.S. government, its difficult to know what worked, but one has to conclude that what we just saw documented in this video by Artists Against the War was at least a part of it.
MAY 2006 | Art
On April 25, poet and critic Bill Berkson came to Rail headquarters in Greenpoint and sat down to discuss his life and work with Rails Consulting Editor David Levi Strauss.
DEC 06-JAN 07 | Art
Under the Roman Empire the title of curator (caretaker) was given to officials in charge of various departments of public works: sanitation, transportation, policing. The curatores annonae were in charge of the public supplies of oil and corn. The curatores regionum were responsible for maintaining order in the fourteen regions of Rome.
APR 2005 | Art
It has been clear for some time now that the American people love artthe museums are choked with visitors and the art market is boomingbut hate artists, who are widely regarded as elitist troublemakers.
DEC 05-JAN 06 | ArtSeen
In an early video, made by Patsy Scala, Nancy Spero works in her New York studio in 1973. We see her laying out sections of her scroll Codex Artaud across the wooden floorboards. The camera slowly scans the images and texts scattered over the loosely unfurled hand-made paper sheets that curl at their edges.
SEPT 2004 | Art
Remembering Golub by David Levi Strauss; Leon Golub 19222004 by Clayton Eshelman; A Tribute: Leon Golub by Phong Bui