PHILLIP GRIFFITH is a writer, editor, and scholar living in New York City.
FEB 2018 | Art Books
“First the air is blue and then,” as reports the diver, “it is bluer and then green and then / black I am blacking out and yet / my mask is powerful / it pumps my blood with power.”
MAY 2018 | ArtSeen
Being, MoMA’s current iteration of the “New Photography” exhibition series, assumes an unwieldy, ambitious title but offers work often in portraiture, that appeals to our intimate understandings of our selves.
NOV 2018 | ArtSeen
After the death of the artist and poet Joe Brainard in 1994, his friend, the poet John Ashbery, recovered an envelope of paper cuttings Brainard had collected for use in collages. The envelope was a posthumous message for Ashbery and reminded him of the collages he had made while spending time with Brainard and the poet James Schuyler in the 1970s. For Ashbery, who died in September 2017, the envelope was a fond reminder of his friend and signaled a return to his work as a collagist.
MAR 2017 | ArtSeen
The relational spaces opened by the images in Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s Figures, Grounds and Studies are a happy disturbance to the homogenizing squares and grids of social media and dating app profile photos.
MAY 2017 | Art Books
Ariel Goldberg borrows the title of their book-length essay on queer art, The Estrangement Principle, from the experimental writer Renee Gladman, who edited the “dyke zine” Clamour from 1996 to 1999.
JUL-AUG 2017 | Art Books
In her 1930 masterpiece Disavowals: or Cancelled Confessions (French title: Aveux non avenus), Claude Cahun offers her reader the following provocation: “Only with the very tip would I wish to sew, sting, kill.
MAR 2016 | ArtSeen
An imaginary fence runs between the new work of William Pope.L and Will Boone on view at Andrea Rosen Gallery. It fences in and fences out, work and viewer.
MAY 2016 | Art Books
A large blank white paper sheet with an inch-wide black border, from Untitled (The End) (1990), a paper-stack work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, hangs on my bedroom wall. Friends react variously to this sheet taken from its stack, often with confusion at how slapdash it looks taped up there, sometimes making fun of the idea that it’s an artwork, with pause for its perceived melancholy.
JUL-AUG 2016 | ArtSeen
Downtown around City Hall Park, where the Public Art Fund currently presents The Language of Things, an exhibition of sculptural works, the various rhythms spoken by the city include those of tourists, street performers, and office workersnot to mention that particular rhythm of summertime city heat that expresses itself in shared encounters of sound, stench, and sweat.
OCT 2016 | ArtSeen
Like any election year, 2016 is a year of slogans. Make America great again. With the recent vote on Brexit in the United Kingdom, slogans there, too, where politicians like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage peddled: Take back control.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Art Books
Anne Carson’s Float flirts with the genre of the artist’s book just as did her somber, brilliant Nox and Antigonick, her collaborative edition (with illustrations by Bianca Stone) of Sophocles’s Antigone.
OCT 2015 | Art
On September 21st at The Kitchen, Wayne Koestenbaum performed a suite of trance-like Sprechstimme improvisations at the piano to mark the publication of his new book, The Pink Trance Notebooks, a series of poems assembled from a yearlong experiment in journaling (Nightboat, 2015).
DEC 15-JAN 16 | ArtSeen
On November 11, art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty and artists Zoe Beloff and Katarina Burin gathered at the Graduate Center, CUNY, to discuss “Fabulated Archives.”
MAR 2018 | ArtSeen
In the wake of the #MeToo moment, time’s up as they say. As accusation and confession give voice to new power dynamics, the cultural spasm promises to reverberate throughout our cultural, business, and political worlds. The stories of those whose voices were previously devalued to the point of silence may even give us a framework for re-reading some of the foundational myths of our culture.
JUL-AUG 2018 | Art Books
Adrian Piper has long grappled with the immediate, present-tense experience of the viewer in front of an artworkan art encounter that can bring awareness of what she calls the indexical present.
FEB 2017 | Art Books
What do we do when we journal, or keep a diary? To follow the example of Rosemary Mayer’s newly excerpted and edited journals, which document a pivotal year in Mayer’s life and career, one might recount one’s thoughts on the relation of beauty to the art object or what it takes to be an artist, along with impressions of concerts attended, friends visited, lovers lost or found, and meals eaten.
APR 2017 | ArtSeen
The fourteen stoneware sculptural works in Simone Fattal’s first New York City solo exhibition resonate with a curious force of intimate gravity. Taken individually, they convey monumentality; stepping back, each could be easily held—delicately—in your hands or arms.
JUNE 2017 | ArtSeen
“It is a sacrilege,” bell hooks wrote in a 1994 essay about the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “to reserve this beauty solely for art.” The latest exhibition of his work, and the first at David Zwirner Gallery, arrives on the occasion of the artist's longtime gallerist and estate executor Andrea Rosen’s recently announced co-representation of Gonzales-Torres’s estate with David Zwirner.
SEPT 2017 | Art
In July 1971, poet Bernadette Mayer set out to complete what she called an “emotional science project” by setting a set of constraints for herself: to shoot one roll of Kodachrome film on a 35mm camera each day of the month while simultaneously keeping a set of journals.
APR 2016 | ArtSeen
Everyday life presents each of us with the opportunity to play out a carefully choreographed (if unrecognized) performance: I rise, I shower, I dress, I walk. In Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s set of five sculptural works, exhibited under the title INTRANSITIVE, pink, yellow, and purple Hydrocal casts of the artist’s body document her interaction with a collection of DIY furniture built for the exhibit.
JUL-AUG 2016 | Art
Harmony Hammond made her start as an artist in the feminist milieu of 1970s New York, co-founding A.I.R. Gallery, the first women’s gallery, in 1972. Her early artwork developed a feminist and lesbian idiom for painting and sculpture, especially in such celebrated works as her woven and painted Floorpieces (1973) and wrapped sculptures, like Hunkertime (1979 80).
SEPT 2016 | ArtSeen
A cresting hill forces a sharp incline in the otherwise flat highway. Industrial grays and frontage greens fly by the window in the driver’s periphery. From over the hill, a figure emerges into view, a woman’s outlinean apparition sheathed in a sheer curtainimposes itself on the landscape.
NOV 2016 | ArtSeen
When the New York poet Eileen Myles appeared in a brief cameo in the second season of Transparent, it felt like an experience of New York City had been turned inside out.
SEPT 2015 | ArtSeen
Two shows on view at the Studio Museum of Harlem dramatize the resistance of art to fixity and stability, through the abstract paintings in Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange and what might today be termed the “socially-engaged” photographs in Lorraine O’Grady: Art Is .
OCT 2015 | ArtSeen
Collaboration can be a strange affair. Some tantalize with the right combustion of kindred spirits. But some go no further than creating two distinct, if complementary, halves of a work clearly produced by their respective artists.