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Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

We managed to complete the elaborate installation of Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior just a few minutes before the opening reception on Thursday, October 9. Whew!

Note from the Publisher

“What I have always tried to do is think in ways that allow me to become an interesting person, like how I am always attracted to inner-resting [Delmore Schwartz’s pronunciation] people. Whatever else follows is a matter of luck.”

A Self-Evident Truth

p>In Germany, under Hitler’s regime, artistic expression was banished as a form of Bolshevism. In Russia, under Stalin, it was denounced as “bourgeoius cosmopolitanism”. In mid-50s America, Abstract Expressionists met with aggressive censorship by members of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

From the Co-Founder...

A Note on Our Upcoming Benefit

On Saturday, February 19, we will host a silent art auction at the Visual Arts Gallery at SVA. I hope you can all come and support us by purchasing a work of art from our artist friends.

Note of Thanks

Due to the brilliant support of our artist friends we will continue to deliver the Rail on a monthly basis, free of charge to our devoted readership.

From the Co-Founder...

Note from the Publisher

I suspect that Ai Weiwei, China’s greatest artist and certainly one of the first truly global artists of the 21st century (who was then living in New York, as he had since 1981), must have taken the Tiananmen Square episode as evidence of—to paraphrase Bob Dylan— the times a-changin’.

Note from the Publisher

We are most grateful to John Yau for his unyielding and selfless commitment and for the vision he has shared with us in the last seven years, and it is with sadness that we announce his resignation as Art Editor.

A Note to Our Readers

I believe we will all rise above this time with a greater purpose in life and art.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Readers

Over three months ago, the Dedalus Foundation invited me to curate a two-month show (October 20 – December 15) at Industry City—its new satellite space in Sunset Park—to commemorate Hurricane Sandy’s one-year anniversary.

Dear Readers

I will never forget the evening of Monday October 29, 2012. The night before was the reception for my exhibition, Work According to the Rail, Part I (After the Flood), at Showroom Gallery in the Lower East Side. Upon returning to Greenpoint, my wife the painter Nathlie Provosty and I, along with Cy Morgan, the sculptor and former Rail Distribution Manager, went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner, the only place open.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear friends and readers

We sometimes forget that Buddha actually had a good sense of humor. The other week I told one example of his stories through Skype to the publisher of the Third Rail, the artist Cameron Gainer, and his editorial staff, at the celebratory launch party for their first issue.

Dear Friends and Readers

One requirement of my graduate seminar in the Photography, Film & Related Media program at the School of Visual Arts is that each of my students—and I participate—are asked to memorize a poem, then recite it at the beginning of every class.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear friends and readers,

It was during his speech at a General Electric gas engine plant in Wisconsin on January 30th that President Obama made his off-the-cuff remark about art history being useless.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear friends and readers,

As the winter has lasted longer than expected, we were soberly reminded that the fight against censorship is an ongoing struggle that requires our collective effort and strong commitment to articulate the nature of art and how artists—individuals whose lives are devoted to the vocations of the arts and humanities—are examples par excellence of those attempting to become free.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

We all remember the famous opening lines from the first section of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, entitled “The Burial of the Dead”: April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

What a beautiful day! Just yesterday afternoon (Sunday, June 1st) a good friend and fellow artist Will Ryman invited me to join him on an art pilgrimage to North Brooklyn.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Summer heat is in full effect, and with it our second Rail Curatorial Project has opened: Bloodflames Revisited, at Paul Kasmin’s 10th Ave. and 27th St. spaces.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

One thing is certain: the longer I live here the greater appreciation I gain for this ever-complex and lively city.

Dear Friends and Readers,

How can we encourage individuals to rise above their own limitations and old habits that were dictated by their various upbringings, while working to transform the Rail into a post-Beuysian social sculpture, an artwork?

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

How can ecological and social forces be transformative? In her recent AICA-USA Distinguished Critics Lecture, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev explored this question through the lens of Lacan’s fascination with topology and the creation of chain relations or knots.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

As life goes on we are urgently reminded how short it is before we all leave this earth. What is it that we all want to accomplish and what differences do we wish to make for the betterment of our culture before we die?

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Artists throughout the ages have served a critical need by bringing the deepest apprehensions, recurring nightmares, and anxieties of humankind to the surface, giving them visual expression.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

What a month to summarize. First, there was my trip to Cranbrook Academy, under the invitation of the artist/teacher Beverly Fishman, where I spent three full days looking at the work of her remarkable graduate students in their studios.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

As we give spring a robust welcome, the art world synchronously offers its own salutation. We have all been invited to drift, like Le Petit Prince, through the universe created by Alexander Calder’s fierce yet exuberant small-scale sculptures at Dominique Lévy. I found myself transfixed by the magic of each work.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Readers,

“Venice excels in blackness and whiteness; water brings commerce between them. Italians excel in the use of black and white, white stone and interior darkness. Colour comes between, comes out of them, intensely yet gradually amassed, like a gondola between water and sky.”

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

In recent weeks we have witnessed divisive ethos continuing to spread across the world, especially in Syria, Tunisia, and Nigeria, and similar occurrences have befallen the United States.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

While keeping up with the daily demands of our monthly journal, its editorial meetings, our Rail Curatorial Projects, our poetry readings, and other events, we have all been consumed the entire summer with the renovation of our old headquarters in Greenpoint as well as of our new one at Industry City in Sunset Park, making them both the most comfortable and conducive work environments.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Readers and Friends,

I remember watching Alfred Leslie’s Pull my Daisy in my sophomore year of college and wishing that, one day, I would live the life of an artist with friends like his—fellow artists, writers, poets, dancers, composers, even art dealers (Richard Bellamy, who appeared in the film, was beloved by many artists).

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Readers and Friends,

As we enter our second month of celebrating the Rail’s fifteenth anniversary, my comrades at HQ and I are filled with profound optimism and joy to be alive.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

What a privilege it is to live in a city where every subway ride is filled with people from every ethnic and cultural background! This is especially true during rush hours, when civic manners are critically important in the sardine-packed cars.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

What a privilege it is to spend time with artists and learn how they gain the confidence and courage that allow them to transform their visions into memorable cultural contributions.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Political affairs in the United States are like a pendulum. If it swings too far to the left it’s bound to swing to the right. If it swings too far to the right, it’s expected to swing back to the left.

Dear Friends and Readers,

How grateful we are to have poetry in our lives! And what a privilege for the Rail to celebrate April Poetry Month with our Guest Critics Page!

Dear Friends and Readers,

Like clockwork, the last four days of every month become an intense period of collective concentration at the Rail.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

On Saturday night (May 28), I finished the three portraits of Joanne Greenbaum, Bettina Pousttchi, and B. Wurtz—the featured artists in this issue—and took a much-needed break.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Readers and Friends,

June 2016 was an emotional rollercoaster. It began with the news late Friday, June 3, that Muhammad Ali had died.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

As the summer nears its end and many of us anticipate the eventful autumn—back to school and back to work after the Labor Day weekend with renewed energy and fresh perspectives—I’d like to share with you the following.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Having just commemorated the fifteen-year anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded to consider the psychology of violence: it amplifies a feeling of safety by remaining distant, until it strikes.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

In the current horizontal media landscape, where everyone is deemed an expert, as Isaac Asimov wrote, “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Like many Americans, and many others around the world, we were profoundly saddened by the news of Donald J. Trump’s electoral-college victory as the president.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

The day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, my partner and I, together with art-world friends and family, filled two buses that took us to the historic Women’s March in Washington, D.C. We all knew in our gut that this event would be remembered with great significance.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

On my recent trip to Marfa, Texas I was reminded of my first travels to Italy in 1987. I was profoundly moved by seeing works of art in the flesh, especially those in the site-specific contexts of apses or chapels. And I was thrilled to commune with their physical and material presences that were inseparable from the auras endowed by the artists who made them.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

What have we gained from reading novels, books of poetry and philosophy, observing music and dance performances, watching films, or contemplating works of art? In each instance, a human experience is materialized and distilled as one distinctive expression that tells us something about the community and world we inhabit.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Filled with profound optimism, I can speak on behalf of my colleagues at the Rail and many of our friends and supporters when I say that we’re in complete solidarity in any fight against tyranny and ignorance, with the philosophy of nonviolent resistance.

From the Co-Founder...

Dear Friends and Readers,

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

“A utopia is not a portrait of the real world, of the actual political or social order. It exists at no moment of time and at no point in space; it is “nowhere.” But just such a conception of a nowhere has stood the test and proved its strength in the development of the modern world.”

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

Many of us, who are interested in progressive education and liberalism, are aware of ideas that can be materialized and put into practice for the welfare of people in every aspect of their lives: jobs, housing, schools, healthcare, and whatever else concerns their civil rights. We therefore wonder what has happened with what was once the most identifiable brand of American philosophy, namely pragmatism—a philosophy that is invested in matters of fact, and tangible results?

From the Publisher

Dear Readers and Friends,

Enthusiasm is the electricity of life. How do you get it? You act enthusiastic until you make it habit.

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

Human beings: those who aspire to move forward And those who insist on walking backwards. Who else cares enough to look at the bright sun and the shining moon?

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

The River Rail raises issues that many of us are not aware of, and proposes some actions. This augury of ecological concerns and explorations is a new beginning of our collective work in the making.

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers

These past few months the Rail has maintained a fluid momentum that has kept our enduring engine in perpetual motion right into 2018, with a greater sense of urgency and purpose than ever before.

From the Publisher

Dear Friends and Readers,

I urgently feel this is the time for artists and curators to work together in a timely manner to meet the viewer’s intelligence and sensibility. May clarity in language and swiftness in execution be the strength of our endeavors.

Dear Readers and Friends,

We are children of our age, / it’s a political age. / All day long, all through the night, / all affairs—yours, ours, theirs— / are political affairs.

Dear Friends and Readers,

I think of my conversation with a new friend Wolfgang Laib, who gave up his medical study to be an artist, with his work as the healing agent. We both found ourselves concurring that suffering is caused by the tremendous emphasis of thinking of ourselves as separate, independent “I”s that need constant feeding to quench the craving.

Dear Friends and Readers,

Imagine the world without poetry. Imagine a world where language is merely functional and transactional. Imagine a day when mankind is intimidated by poetry and hence terrified of his or her imagination?

Dear Friends and Readers,

Growing up in the old country in Huê, Vietnam, memorizing poems was considered a political act. My grandparents, uncles, and aunts could recite by memory any segment from Truyện Kiều, known in English as The Tale of Kieu, written by the great poet Nguyễn Du in the late 18th century and regarded as a Vietnamese equivalent to Dante

Dear Friends and Readers,

As anxious as we are in the lead up to the midterm elections on November 6, 2018, we’re constantly reminded that politics exists between culture and economics, as it always has.

Dear Friends and Readers,

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Dear Friends and Readers,

As 20,000 copies of this issue in print hit the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens along with 10 to 20,000 daily online readers, just five days before Midterm elections, we hope our freedom of speech is not a compensation for our freedom of thought.

Dear Friends and Readers,

As we’ve come to the end of 2018, it’s impossible to ignore what we’ve gone through in the last two years under the Trump administration. Since we’ve had time to digress and reflect upon what has happened to our liberal democracy, I myself was reminded of Harry Frankfurt’s 2005 classic book On Bullshit.

Dear Friends and Readers,

What have we learned from the horrendous political situation in our society, where noise is a weapon to slay our focus and deceive our reason? What have we learned from technological “progress,” and its consuming production and exploitation?

Dear Friends and Readers,

We shall come together in the spirit of solidarity and provide a megaphone to the urgent actions to be implemented into laws—from diversity initiatives to support of public education—while checking as much as possible the entrenched patriarchy (evidenced in every facet of our lives, and particularly in the longstanding political complexion).

Dear Friends and Readers,

When I was growing up in Hue, Vietnam, in the late 1960s and 1970s, two primordial forces of destruction colored my life. The first force was man. Just as it did the country, the war divided members of my family—after the Geneva Conference in May 1954, one-half went to the north, the other half remained in the south.

Dear Friends and Readers,

“[W]e might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water.”

Dear Friends and Readers,

No work of art has ever prevented or stopped a war. No work of art has ever solved poverty, unemployment, or any other political or social crisis. Yet, imagine a world without works of art...

Dear Friends and Readers,

Most of us, at one point or another in time, think of our own choices as how they define our lives. Choice is often tied to how we’re taught to reflect and how we choose according to that basis—how we may decide to do one thing rather than another—counts as our choice.

Dear Friends and Readers,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

A Message from the Publisher

How do artists and scientists contribute to our ability to communicate with one another?

Dear Friends and Readers,

When grapes turn/to wine, they long for our ability to change./When stars wheel/around the North Pole,/they are longing for our growing consciousness.

Dear Friends and Readers,

For those of us who have made attempts to decipher what exactly fallibilism is, some degrees of dissatisfaction have been felt. If we are to think or say anything that we believe might turn out to be false, should we then deny that “one plus one equals two” is therefore false?

Dear Friends and Readers,

Many of us are aware of our inexplicable craving for any kind of doctrine of the absolute, any form of rigid structure, or any sort of simple dichotomy, especially in times of disproportionate crisis as we’re currently confronting—which we know too well can lead to actual devastating consequences.

Dear Friends and Readers,

It’s impossible these days not to be reminded of American politics as a perpetual and iconic swing of the pendulum: if it swings too far to the left, it will inevitably swing too far to the right.

Dear Friends and Readers,

As we go through this profound time together—a time of terrific uncertainty that will either connect and unite us or separate and divide us with a greater urgency than we’ve ever experienced in our collective lifetimes—we now have a need to remind ourselves that at the dawn of the twenty-first century, we were confronted with other kinds of fear.

A Self-Evident Truth

“For milk to become yogurt, it needs culture.” —Willem de Kooning

Occupy Colby: Symposium

A conversation between Phong Bui, Occupy Colby exhibiting artists Alexis Rockman and Allyson Vieira, and Colby scholars Denise Bruesewitz and Keith Peterson.

Some Formative Moments in the First Decade of the Rail

I must confess, I don’t remember the exact moment when I named the Brooklyn Rail. It was 1998, and Ted and I were on the L train back to Brooklyn.

In Conversation

MITCH LEIGH with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the legendary composer/musician/producer’s 85th birthday, Mitch Leigh welcomed publisher Phong Bui to his Upper East Side office to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

EMPIRE UNBOUND: Philip S. Golub In Conversation with Phong Bui

While visiting New York, Le Monde diplomatique contributing editor Philip S. Golub stopped by the Rail’s headquarters to talk to publisher Phong Bui about his latest book Power, Profit & Prestige: A History of American Imperial Expansionism.

In Conversation

GANDALF GAVAN WITH PHONG BUI

On the occasion of his second solo exhibit, Teaching a Chicken How to Fly III, Gandalf Gavan stopped by Art International Radio to talk to Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

Kirk Varnedoe (1946 - 2003)

Art historian and writer Max J. Friedlander once said: "It’s easier to change your worldview than the way you hold your spoon." Many artists I know, myself included, grew accustomed to seeing all the works of art at the Museum of Modern Art in their respective places— everyone had his or her own favorite painting or sculpture, installed more or less in perpetuity for the duration of William Rubin’s tenure— until Kirk Varnedoe became Rubin’s successor in 1988 as the chief curator of painting and sculpture.

Matta, 1912 – 2002

Probably one of the very last remaining Surrealist artists, Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Echaurren, otherwise known as Matta, died on Saturday at his home in Tarquinia, Italy, on November 23rd, a day after an opening of his new works in Rome.

A Tribute to Rudolph Burckhardt

"One morning, a black kitten wandered in from next door, and turned out to belong to Bill de Kooning. Bill played Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Flamenco music, and Louis Armstrong very loud on his phonograph and talked about Picasso.

In Conversation

Daniel Joseph Martinez with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the artist’s inclusion in the Whitney Biennial, which will be on view from March 6 to June 1, 2008, Daniel Joseph Martinez spoke with Rail publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

Michal Rovner with Phong Bui

Right after the completion of the artist’s latest large-scale structure, Makom II, which will be on view at PaceWildenstein’s 22 Street location until March 15th, 2008, Michal Rovner welcomed Rail Publisher Phong Bui to her downtown loft/studio to discuss her life and work.

In Conversation

Lydia Dona with Phong Bui

Leading up to the few days before the installation of the painter’s new work at Michael Steinberg Fine Art, which will be on view till April 26, 2008, Lydia Dona welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to her Tribeca studio to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

Tom Doyle with Phong Bui

On a sunny Saturday late morning this Spring, Rail Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the sculptor Tom Doyle’s home/studio in Roxbury, Conneticut, where he has lived with his wife Jane since 1992.

In Conversation

NANCY SPERO with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her traveling retrospective, Nancy Spero: Dissidances (currently on view at the Museu d' Art Contemporani in Barcelona), the artist recently sat down with Rail publisher Phong Bui at her home on LaGuardia Place.

A Tribute to Anne D'Harnoncourt (1943-2008)

I so fondly remember when I was standing in front of the great Cézanne “Large Bathers” with an Italian friend from Tarquinia (we all came down from New York to see the Cézanne retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1996) and I ran into Anne D’Harnoncourt. We had met once with Meyer Schapiro in 1992 (I was Schapiro’s companion for the day with the wheelchair) at MoMa’s Matisse retrospective.

In Conversation

Joan Snyder with Phong Bui

Rail publisher Phong Bui recently visited the painter Joan Snyder in her Park Slope home and studio in order to discuss her work.

In Conversation

Lisa Yuskavage with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her solo show at David Zwirner, on view till March 28, 2009, the painter Lisa Yuskavage paid a visit to the Rail’s Headquarters to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about her current work.

In Conversation

Joe Amrhein with Phong Bui

In the midst of renovations to the Boiler (located at 191 North 14th street, between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue, which will open on March 7th), Joe Amrhein took time off to visit the Rail’s headquarters to talk with Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

The Stable Gallery: In Conversation With Nicolas Carone

As part of the Rail’s ongoing effort to bring resources and historical awareness to the current dialogue in our ever-growing art community, I wrote an article several issues ago about The Club, and was able to interview Philip Pavia—the sculptor and organizer of The Club and publisher of It Is magazine.

Balthus Remembered

Of all the literature written about Balthus, the most poetic by far are the beautiful essays by Albert Camus and Guy Davenport.

Vermeer and the Delft School

In considering the whole of Vermeer’s enterprise, the scholarly emphasis has been placed upon the remarkably little that is known about his background; up to this point, Vermeer’s biography is the equivalent of a visual biography, the record of the images he left behind.

In Conversation

Alex Katz with Phong Bui

Alex Katz's exhibit Fifteen Minutes will be on view at Pace Wildenstein through June 13, 2009.

The Margins of William Blake

When Swedenborgianism entered England, it found a comforting shelter within the family headed by one James Blake, a rather less than conventional shopkeeper.

Letter to the Artist

Not long before his death in Paris in 1989, Samuel Beckett said to an interviewer, “I prefer to live in France during wartime than Ireland in peace.”

E.H. Gombrich Remembered (1909-2001)

For many of us, E.H. Gombrich was known as an author of the widely popular The Story of Art, which sold millions of copies and was translated into more than twenty languages.

In Conversation

Eleanor Heartney WITH PHONG BUI

Eleanor Heartney, the independent cultural critic, comes by Art International Radio to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

In Conversation

Nicola López WITH PHONG BUI

The artist Nicola López’s third solo show After the Storm will be on view till June 26, 2009, at Caren Golden Fine Art. Here she speaks with Publisher Phong Bui about her recent body of work and more.

Chuck Close: Selected Paintings and Tapestries (2005-2009)

Any keen observer of Chuck Close’s work is surely aware of his evolution from the uniformed tightness of the 1970s black-and-white paintings to the increased freedom of the later work in color, which increased in vibrancy following the artist’s heroic return to painting after the rupture of a weak blood vessel in his spinal column left him paralyzed from the neck down in 1988.

In Conversation

Sherman Drexler with Phong Bui

One sunny afternoon in mid-June, the painter Sherman Drexler visited Publisher Phong Bui at Art International Radio to have a conversation about Drexler's life and work.

In Conversation

Arthur Simms with Phong Bui

The sculptor Arthur Simms pays a visit to the Rail headquarters to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about his work and life in Jamaica and in Brooklyn.

Miles Bellamy and Jonas Kyle with Phong Bui

On the occasion of their bookstore’s upcoming ten year anniversary, Miles Bellamy and Jonas Kyle, the co-founders and owners of the popular and beloved Spoonbill & Sugartown at 218 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, stopped by Art International Radio to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about their life and work.

In Conversation

John Yau with Phong Bui

Coinciding with his recently published monograph A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns, Art Editor John Yau paid a visit to the Rail’s Headquarters to talk about his observations of Johns’s work with Publisher Phong Bui.

In Conversation

Robert C. Morgan with Phong Bui

Within a few days after the closing of his two one-man exhibits Metaphysical Paintings, Performance, Conceptual Art, 1970–2009 at Sideshow Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (April 4–2009) and Bjorn Ressle Gallery, New York (April 18–May 23, 2009), Publisher Phong Bui spoke to Robert C. Morgan about the evolution of his work as an artist.

In Conversation

SHIRIN NESHAT with Carol Becker & Phong Bui

Shirin Neshat’s new full-length feature Women without Men will be shown at the 66th Venice Film Festival (September 2–12, 2009) and the Toronto International Film Festival (September 10–19, 2009). One evening in July, Carol Becker, Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and Publisher Phong Bui, paid a visit to the SoHo loft which she shares with her partner, the artist Shoja Azari, to watch the near-final version of the film before its last minute revisions.

In Conversation

WILL RYMAN with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the sculptor’s forthcoming exhibit, New Beginning at Marlborough Gallery, in Chelsea, which will be on view from September 10 to October 10, 2009, Will Ryman took a break from his studio to visit Art International Radio to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about his life and current body of work.

In Conversation

AGNES GUND with Phong Bui

Despite her hectic schedule, the indefatigable Agnes Gund, in a rare one hour intermission, welcomed Publisher Phong Bui to her Upper East Side home to talk about her life, work, and recent curatorial effort Is White a Color? at the Fountain Gallery, which will be on view from September 25 to November 11, 2009.

In Conversation

Mira Schor and Jason Andrew WITH PHONG BUI

On the occasion of the painter Jack Tworkov’s retrospective Against Extremes: Five Decades of Painting and the publication of The Extreme of the Middle: Writings of Jack Tworkov, both curator, Jason Andrew, and editor, Mira Schor, paid a visit to Off the Rail Hour at Art International Radio to talk with Publisher Phong Bui about Tworkov’s life and work.

In Conversation

CARROLL DUNHAM In Conversation with Phong Bui

Just a few days before his new exhibit at Gladstone Gallery on 24th Street in Chelsea (October 30th – December 5th, 2009), the painter Carroll Dunham paid a visit to Art International Radio to talk about his life and recent body of work.

In Conversation

LEONARD LOPATE with Phong Bui

Leonard Lopate paid a visit to Art International Radio to talk with publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

ARNOLD MESCHES and JILL CIMENT with Robert Storr and Phong Bui

On a quiet evening of a late November weekend in 2009, the painter Arnold Mesches and his wife, the writer Jill Ciment, dropped by the Rail’s Headquarters to talk with publisher Phong Bui and consulting editor Robert Storr about their lives and works.

In Conversation

SHOJA AZARI WITH PHONG BUI

Shoja Azari paid a visit to Art International Radio to talk with Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his life, work, and more.

David Reed In Conversation with Phong Bui

In addition to the artist’s other interview with Art Editor John Yau about his then current exhibit of working drawings and color studies at Peter Blum SoHo (January 13-March 6, 2010), David Reed stopped by Art International Radio to talk further with Publisher Phong Bui about other issues concerning the growth of his paintings.

Martin Wilner WITH PHONG BUI

On the occasion of his exhibit A Life in Days, on view at Sperone Westwater from January 8 to March 20, 2010, the artist Martin Wilner dropped by Art International Radio to talk to Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

JUDY PFAFF with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her recent exhibit Judy Pfaff: Five Decades at Ameringer/ McEnery/ Yohe (September 10 – October 16, 2010) the artist stopped by the Rail’s headquarters to speak with Rail publisher Phong Bui about her life, work, and more.

In Conversation

SARAH SZE with Phong Bui

After having completed her current installations at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (September 16 – October 23, 2010), the artist Sarah Sze dropped by Art International Radio to talk to Rail Publisher Phong Bui.

In Conversation

NICKY NODJOUMI with Phong Bui

On the occasion of his second solo exhibit, entitled Invitation to Change Your Metaphor, with Priska C. Juschka Fine Art (October 28 - December 30, 2010) the painter Nicky Nodjoumi stopped by Art International Radio to talk with Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

JOE ZUCKER with Phong Bui

While preparing for his two one-person exhibits at the Mary Boone Gallery (A Unified Theory at 541 West 24th Street and Box Paintings at 745 Fifth Avenue, January 8 – February 5, 2011), the artist Joe Zucker welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to his home and studio in East Hampton to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

JOE BRADLEY with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the painter’s two simultaneous exhibits, Mouth and Foot Painting at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (January 8 – February 19, 2011) and Human Form at CANADA (January 13 – February 21, 2011), Joe Bradley took a break from his Brooklyn studio to visit Rail publisher Phong Bui at Art International Radio to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

CHARLES TRAUB with Phong Bui

On the occasion of his exhibit Object of My Creation: Photographs 1967 – 1990 (February 17 – April 23, 2011 at Gitterman Gallery) the photographer Charles Traub welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui at the MFA Program in Photography, Video, and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts to discuss his life and work.

In Conversation

KATY SIEGEL with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her new publication Since ’45: America and the Making of Contemporary Art (Reaktion Books), art historian and critic Katy Siegel sat down with Rail publisher Phong Bui before an audience of artists-in-residence at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation to discuss the book and more.

In Conversation

RICHARD SERRA with Phong Bui

Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective is the first retrospective of Richard Serra’s drawings. On the occasion of the retrospective, Richard Serra welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to his TriBeCa loft to discuss his work and more.

In Conversation

JENNIFER BARTLETT with Phong Bui

On the two occasions of her second installation of the monumental work “Rhapsody” in the Atrium of MoMA and the recent exhibit The Studio Inside Out (May 18 – June 30, 2011) at Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, Rail publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the painter Jennifer Bartlett’s home/studio in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to discuss her life and work.

Readings From the Vast Unread

Readings from the Vast Unread may not be such a bright idea, but it is historically unprecedented.

In Conversation

KATIA SANTIBAÑEZ with Phong Bui

In the midst of trying to finish several paintings and drawings to be included in her forthcoming solo exhibit, Journey of a Solitary Painter, at Morgan Lehman (October 20 – December 10, 2011), the painter Katia Santibañez spoke with Rail publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

ALEX KATZ

Alex Katz has created a unique style of revivification, injecting energy into otherwise static images. With the breath of his brushstrokes, his flat colors expand, and he makes of them rounded, living paintings.

In Conversation

ROSAMOND BERNIER with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her 95th birthday and the publication of her memoir Some of My Lives (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Rosamond Bernier, founder/editor of L’OEIL magazine (1955–1971) and lecturer extraordinaire, welcomed publisher Phong Bui to her Upper East Side home to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

JOSEPHINE HALVORSON with Phong Bui

A few days after the opening reception of her exhibit What Looks Back at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. (October 21–December 4, 2011), the painter Josephine Halvorson stopped by the Rail’s headquarters to talk with publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

In Conversation

John Elderfield, Jennifer Field, Lauren Mahony, and Delphine Huisinga with Phong Bui

John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, who organized de Kooning: A Retrospective (September 18, 2011 – January 9, 2012) along with his associates Jennifer Field, Lauren Mahony, and Delphine Huisinga, paid a visit to Art International Radio to talk with publisher Phong Bui about the remarkable life and work of Willem de Kooning.

SARAH CANRIGHT
Curated by Nic Nicosia

The greyhound is the sole subject of all paintings in Sarah Canright’s eponymously titled exhibition. Before one even recognizes this, however, one is overwhelmed by the monumental presence of her work (although none of the paintings exceed 70 by 80 inches).

In Conversation

CARL ANDRE with Michèle Gerber Klein and Phong Bui

On the occasion of Carl Andre’s monograph Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements by Alistair Rider (Phaidon, 2011), and his forthcoming retrospective at Dia Art Foundation (March – December 2013), the sculptor/poet welcomed contributing editor Michèle Gerber Klein and publisher Phong Bui to his West Village home to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

MALCOLM MORLEY with Phong Bui

Soon after the opening reception of his survey at Yale University’s Edgewood Avenue Gallery, Malcolm Morley In A Nutshell: The Fine Art of Painting 1954–2012, curated by Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art, publisher Phong Bui made a trip to Brookhaven Hamlet, Long Island, New York to visit the painter’s home/studio.

In Conversation

G. T. PELLIZZI and RAY SMITH with Phong Bui

A week after the opening of The Execution of Maximilian: Border Paintings at Y Gallery (February 9 – March 6, 2012) artists G. T. Pellizzi and Ray Smith paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to discuss with publisher Phong Bui what led to their first collaboration.

In Conversation

JOHN NEWMAN with Phong Bui

A few days after the opening reception of his solo exhibit John Newman: New Work at Tibor de Nagy Gallery (March 15 – April 21, 2012) the sculptor paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk with Rail publisher Phong Bui about his life and his recent body of work.

What is the Miami Rail?

As my late friend Henry Luce III once wrote: “[The Brooklyn Rail] is a splendid publication that covers the arts, politics, and culture. I heartily recommend it.” Now it’s my turn to commend the addition of the Miami Rail.

In Conversation

GARY STEPHAN with Phong Bui

A few weeks before the opening reception of his exhibit The Story of What Happens (August 26 – October 6, 2012) at devening projects + editions in Chicago, Rail Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the painter Gary Stephan’s Canal Street loft/studio where they resumed their ongoing conversation about Cézanne, painting, and everything.

DAVID HUMPHREY with Phong Bui

The painter David Humphrey welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to his Chelsea studio to talk about the recent work, which will be featured at his one-person exhibit David Humphrey: New Paintings at Fredericks and Freiser (November 28 – December 22, 2012).

In Conversation

PATRICIA CRONIN with Phong Bui

While preparing for her forthcoming solo show Dante: The Way of All Flesh at fordProject (November 8 – December 21, 2012) Patricia Cronin welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to her Gowanus studio one late Sunday morning to view the new body of work and to discuss her art and life.

In Conversation

Thomas Cahill with Phong Bui

Studio in a School President and CEO Tom Cahill and Publisher Phong Bui were tied up with their end of the year demands until recently when they finally had a chance to talk about Cahill’s life and work over a visit to Studio in a School’s Upper West Side headquarters.

In Conversation

JOCK REYNOLDS with Phong Bui

After the successful renovation of Yale University Art Gallery, Jock Reynolds paid an early morning visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk to Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his adventurous life and work.

In Conversation

VINCENT KATZ with Phong Bui

It would be difficult to imagine interdisciplinary studies in graduate programs in the last two decades without acknowledging the inventive pedagogy of Black Mountain College.

In Conversation

JOYCE PENSATO with Phong Bui

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation invited artist Joyce Pensato and Rail Publisher Phong Bui to speak before an audience of the Sharpe’s space program recipients and other visitors to their Spring ’13 open studios.

Impossible Dream Made Possible
FOR MITCH LEIGH (1928 – 2014)

The first time I met Mitch 10 years ago I was utterly intimidated by him, mostly because I didn’t know what to make of him, even though I knew he was a legend.

In Conversation

DANIEL TURNER with Phong Bui

In the midst of preparing for his new exhibit PM at Team Gallery (May 4 – June 1, 2014), the artist Daniel Turner (whose works were among those featured in the 2013 exhibit Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Part I this past autumn) welcomed publisher Phong Bui to his Greenpoint studio to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

JOYCE ROBINS with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the artist’s forthcoming exhibit Paint and Clay (May 16 – June 22, 2014) at THEODORE:Art in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Joyce Robins visited the Rail’s HQ one early sunny evening to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

In Conversation

WALTER ROBINSON with Phong Bui

Of all the art journals and magazines I have read and collected, I have perhaps the most affection for Art-Rite, the newsprint magazine that was given away through galleries in SoHo back in the 1970s.

In Conversation

JOHN ELDERFIELD and PETER GALASSI with Phong Bui

For sensitive viewers of art, and for those curious about the relationship between what and how images are bred in artists’ studios, this two-part exhibit at Gagosian Gallery, In the Studio: Photographs,curated by Peter Galassi (980 Madison Avenue) and In the Studio: Paintings, curated by John Elderfield (522 West 21st Street), both of which are on view until April 18, 2015, is a visual feast.

In Conversation

AGNÈS B. with Phong Bui

Independent, open-minded, approachable yet fiercely determined, focused, and driven by her passion for the arts and avant-garde films, agnès b. is more than just a formidable figure in the world of fashion.

In Conversation

GLENN GOLDBERG with Phong Bui

I’ve been following the evolution of Glenn Goldberg as a painter since I was exposed to his work in 1986. It was on the occasion of his recent exhibit All Day at Betty Cuningham Gallery (February 28 – April 4, 2015), in cooperation with Jason McCoy Gallery, that I was finally able to view his latest output, and to sit down with him afterwards on-site to catch up and discuss his work, and more.

In Conversation

CLIFFORD ROSS with Phong Bui

On the occasion of his multiple exhibits, including a major mid-career survey at MASS MoCA, the artist Clifford Ross welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to his West Village studio to discuss his life, work, and more.

In Conversation

ARLENE SHECHET with Phong Bui

One morning this August, Rail publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to Arlene Shechet’s large survey of two decades of work, All at Once, curated by Jenelle Porter at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (June 10 – September 7, 2015). The two met in her TriBeCa studio the following week to discuss Shechet’s life, work, and more.

In Conversation

ALFRED LESLIE with Phong Bui

Even though I’ve followed Alfred Leslie’s work since I was in college, and although we have many friends in common, until recently I had never met the artist. Having seen both exhibits, Alfred Leslie: The Grisaille Paintings 1962–1967 at Oil & Steel Gallery in 1991, and Alfred Leslie 1951–1962: Expressing The Zeitgeist in 2004, my perception of his complex and ambitious oeuvre has deepened in the last few years.

In Conversation

MARCIA HAFIF with Phong Bui

Although Marcia Hafif and I have known each other since 2005 (we met at one of Robert Ryman and Merrill Wagner’s legendary annual holiday parties, and I have since had the pleasure of visiting her SoHo studio a few times), it wasn’t until a day before the opening reception of her recent exhibit, The Italian Paintings, 1961 – 1969 at Fergus McCaffrey (April 21 – June 25, 2016), that I was able to view this particular body of work.

In Conversation

JOANNE GREENBAUM with Phong Bui

On the occasion of Joanne Greenbaum’s second one-person exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery (May 20 – July 1, 2016), which features both recent paintings and sculptures, Rail publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the artist’s Tribeca studio to discuss her life and work just a day before the works were transported to the gallery for exhibition.

In Conversation

AI WEIWEI with Phong Bui

In 2008, Alanna Heiss, the late Won-il Rhee, and I were envisioning an immersive and full installation using all the available space in the three floors and basement of PS1, even the courtyard and rooftop, for what was to be a comprehensive survey of contemporary Asian art called Spectacle. At our presentation before MoMA’s senior staff, we proposed that “spectacle” was a prevailing feature these artists seemed to share.

In Conversation

EUGENE LEMAY with Phong Bui

The first time I met Eugene (“Gene”) Lemay, the artist, founder, and president of Mana Contemporary, was when our mutual friend, the artist Ray Smith, brought him, fellow artist Yigal Ozeri, and Ysabel Pinyol, Curatorial Director of Mana, to see the exhibit Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1 at Industry City in early November 2013.

In Conversation

Yuji Agematsu with Phong Bui

I first learned of Yuji Agematsu’s work through a thoughtful review of his exhibit at Real Fine Arts by the poet, writer Roger Van Voorhees in the Rail’s May 2012 issue.

In Conversation

GUY GOODWIN with Phong Bui

On the occasion of Guy’s recent show, Grotto Relief at Brennan & Griffin (May 13–June 18, 2017), we enjoyed a long-overdue conversation on the exhibition’s last day, in front of an audience comprised mostly of artists.

In Conversation

ELLEN ALTFEST with Phong Bui

Ellen Alfest's paintings appear confrontational, digested, and candid in how they deal with a meditative state of mind and a hallucinatory dedication to "somethingness" that lies between things and entities.

In Conversation

JOSH SMITH with Phong Bui

At once seemingly casual and unpredictable the paintings are underpinned by a pragmatic mind at work and always present.

In Conversation

TOMAS VU with Phong Bui

I tend to substitute nostalgia with fantasy, and vice versa. It’s the same word to me sometimes. Not having a strict distinction or a boundary has allowed me to have the freedom to move in and out of spaces. Time works in the same way, in my case. For me it’s always about finding out what was in that particular landscape and what’s happening at that moment in time, as a starting point, from which I can move forward. That’s how all of my projects begin, actually.

In Conversation

Dore Ashton with Phong Bui & Deidre Swords

On a late Saturday afternoon, Rail publisher Phong Bui and the painter Deidre Swords visited the art critic and art historian Dore Ashton at her East Village home to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

Charles Seliger with Phong Bui and John Yau

Rail publisher Phong Bui and art editor John Yau talk with painter Charles Seliger about his life and work in conjunction with the current exhibit of his new paintings at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

In Conversation

Mel Bochner with Phong Bui

While preparing three forthcoming exhibits Mel Bochner took time to sit down with Rail Publisher Phong Bui to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

Irving Sandler with Phong Bui and John Yau

Rail publisher Phong Bui and Art Editor John Yau paid a visit one sunny Saturday to the author’s home/office which he shares with his wife Lucy Freeman Sandler, scholar of Medieval art, to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

Ron Gorchov with Robert Storr and Phong Bui

On the occasion of his exhibit, Double Trouble at P.S. 1, which will be on view till November 20th, Rail’s Consulting Editor Robert Storr and Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to Ron Gorchov’s studio in Brooklyn one afternoon to discuss with the painter his life and work.

In Conversation

John Elderfield with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the exhibit Manet and the Execution of Maximilian at The Museum of Modern Art, which will be on view until January 29, 2007, John Elderfield, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, took time from his busy schedule on a recent afternoon to welcome Rail Publisher Phong Bui to his office to talk about Manet’s four featured paintings, related works and more.

In Conversation

Elizabeth Murray

In the midst of preparing for her upcoming retrospective, which will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art beginning October 23, 2005, Elizabeth Murray sat down with the painter Robert Storr, curator of the exhibition, and Rail publisher Phong Bui to talk about her life and work at her studio loft in Tribeca.

In Conversation

Barbara Novak with Adrienne Baxter Bell and Phong Bui

On the occasion of her new book, Voyages of The Self: Pairs, Parallels, and Patterns in American Art and Literature (part of the trilogy American Painting of the Nineteenth Century, Nature and Culture: Oxford University Press), Barbara Novak welcomes art historian Adrienne Baxter Bell and Brooklyn Rail Publisher Phong Bui to her home to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

Robert Ryman with Phong Bui

After his last show, No Title Required, at Pace Gallery uptown, painter Robert Ryman welcomed Rail Publisher Phong Bui to his West Village studio to talk about his recent paintings and other related work.

In Conversation

NARI WARD with Phong Bui

A few days after the closing of his exhibit Liberty and Orders at Lehmann Maupin Gallery (March 29 – April 21, 2012) artist Nari Ward paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk with Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

Isabelle Dervaux and Dorothea Rockburne with Phong Bui

In the midst of preparation for the exhibition Drawing Connections: Baselitz, Kelly, Penone, Rockburne, and the Old Masters, which will be on view from October 12th, 2006, to January 6th, 2008 at the Morgan Library, Isabelle Dervaux, the curator of modern and contemporary drawing at the Morgan, and Dorothea Rockburne, one of the participating artists, paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk with publisher Phong Bui about the exhibit and more.

In Conversation

Stephen Antonakos in Conversation with Phong Bui

A few days before leaving with his wife, the writer Naomi Spector, for his retrospective at the Benaki Museum-Pireos in Athens, artist Stephen Antonakos welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to his SoHo loft/studio to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

Susan Meiselas with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her current exhibit Susan Meiselas: In History at the ICP (International Center of Photography), on view until January 2009, Rail Publisher Phong Bui met with the photographer on-site to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

Terry Winters with Phong Bui, David Levi Strauss, and Peter Lamborn Wilson

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.

In Conversation

Carol Becker WITH PHONG BUI

On the occasion of her new book, Thinking in Place: Art, Action, and Cultural Production, Carol Becker, Professor and Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University, paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk about her life and work.

Lee Krasner at the Brooklyn Museum

Like Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner painted in the shadow of her more notorious husband. Only recently, in the wake of the Kahlo phenomenon of the 1980s, have artists such as Susan Rothenberg and Nancy Rubin begun to acquire critical status independent of their husbands (the artists Bruce Nauman and Chris Burden, respectively).

In Conversation

ALFREDO JAAR with Phong Bui, Dore Ashton, and David Levi Strauss

"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.

In Conversation

LYNDA BENGLIS with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the artist’s traveling survey, currently at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland, and her current exhibit at Cheim and Read, Lynda Benglis welcomed Rail Publisher Phong Bui to view her new work on site.

In Conversation

SUPERFLEX with PHONG BUI

Just a few hours before the January 22 opening reception of their exhibit Flooded McDonald’s at Peter Blum Chelsea, which will be on view till March 22, 2010, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen paid a visit to Art International Radio to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about their lives and work.

In Conversation

Margrit Lewczuk with Phong Bui

One Sunday afternoon in mid-May Rail Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the painter Margrit Lewczuk’s studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

ALICE AYCOCK with Phong Bui

While preparing for her forthcoming dual-venue retrospective of drawings, Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating (Parrish Art Museum, April 21 – July 14, 2013 and Grey Art Gallery, April 23 – July 14, 2013), the sculptor welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to her live/work loft in SoHo to talk about her life and work.

2014/15 Winter Reading List: Literary Revisitations

Most of us have, at least once, had the strange sensation of opening a great text or otherwise reputable book only to find it impenetrable and unprofitable––sometimes flatly unreadable. We may also have had the more pleasant sensation of picking that same book up again, sometimes years later, to find that it has changed somehow: the book really is great. This reading list is devoted to the sensation of revisiting a book to find it transformed.

In Conversation

ZENG FANZHI with Phong Bui

For me, one of the most rewarding experiences in working with the legendary Alanna Heiss was putting together the massive survey of contemporary art in Asia, Spectacle, for which she enlisted me and the late Wonil Rhee as co-curators. It was intended to be Alanna’s farewell exhibition before retiring from her post as founder and director of MoMA PS1 from 1971 to 2008.

In Conversation

HIROSHI SUGIMOTO with Phong Bui

A few days after the opening reception of his recent exhibit Sea of Buddha at Pace Gallery (February 5 – March 5, 2016) Hiroshi Sugimoto took time out of his constant travel to remote locations around the world for his “Seascape” series—a routine that results in near-perpetual jet lag that he has learned to accept and love—to welcome Rail publisher Phong Bui at the gallery.

In Conversation

TINA BARNEY
with Phong Bui

“I wanted big pictures because I wanted the viewer to be able to see all these little objects, the beauty of the fabric, the texture of someone’s skin, the clothes they wore, etc., and of course the specific environment they inhabit. It’s like a writer who describes every inch of a room. I wanted to invite the viewer to come in.”

In Conversation

DAVID LYNCH with Phong Bui

Those who have followed David Lynch’s remarkable career as a filmmaker are likely aware of his equally remarkable career as an artist. From the very start, the creative impulse was sparked by his painting, then gradually through the unique pace of Lynch’s alchemical growth.

In Conversation

SUSAN BEE with Phong H. Bui

Phong H. Bui speaks with painter Susan Bee in her Brooklyn studio before her upcoming exhibit Anywhere Out of the World: New Paintings, 2017–2020 (postponed because of the coronavirus crisis) at A.I.R. Gallery.

In Conversation

Richard Serra with Phong Bui

A few days after the opening of his new exhibit Rolled and Forged at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea last month, which remains on view till August, 11th, Richard Serra took time off from his busy schedule to walk Rail Publisher Phong Bui through the new work and sit down to discuss his life and work.

In Conversation

Kiki Smith with Phong Bui and Susan Harris

On the occasion of the traveling retrospective Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005, the artist’s first full-scale survey (on view until February 11, 2007), Kiki Smith welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui and independent curator/writer Susan Harris to her home and studio to discuss her life and work.

In Conversation

Katy Siegel and David Reed with Phong Bui

Just a few days before installing the exhibit High Times, Hard Times: New York Paintings 1967–1975, which features over 40 significant works by 30 artists and will be on view at the National Academy Museum from February 15 until April 22, 2007, curator Katy Siegel welcomed David Reed, who serves as the exhibit’s advisor, and the Rail’s Publisher Phong Bui to her home in Boerum Hill to discuss the work and artists included in this broad survey of experimental abstract painting.

In Conversation

Brian O’ Doherty with Phong Bui

On the occasion of his retrospective, Beyond the White Cube at Grey Art Gallery, which will be on view till July 14th, the artist Brian O’Doherty—also known as Patrick Ireland—came to visit the Rail’s Headquarters to discuss his life and work.

In Conversation

Joel Shapiro with Phong Bui

“What’s new and exciting in the big piece is that it’s no longer dictated by the effect of gravity on form, but rather the effect of gravity on the organization of the form, which springs off in different directions away from any fixed axis. In other words, it really breaks away from the figure as much as from the ground.” - Joel Shapiro

In Conversation

Chuck Close with Phong Bui

The following conversation between Chuck Close and Rail Publisher Phong Bui was initially held at The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation—The Space Program in its new location at 20 Jay Street, D.U.M.B.O., Brooklyn, of whom both are members of the Artists Advisory Committee—then carried further at the painter’s West Village home last Sunday.

In Conversation

David Opdyke with Phong Bui

"There's always a balancing act between using key events referring to a specific date and time, and the artistic liberty I can employ in my work," says Opdyke. "I try to stay on top of what's going on in the world, and I listen to the radio constantly. At the same time, I don't want my work to be tied to yesterday's headline."

In Conversation

Pipilotti Rist with Phong Bui

Just a day before the opening of her commissioned multimedia installation Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters), organized by Klaus Biesenbach, chief curator, Department of Media, which remains on view till February 2, 2009 at the MoMA’s atrium, Pipilotti Rist sat down with Rail publisher Phong Bui at the Museum Café to talk about her work.

In Conversation

Interview with Robert Hobbs

Dr. Robert Hobbs is the curator and author of the exhibitions catalogue on Lee Krasner’s work. His books include: Milton Avery, Edward Hopper, and Human Right/Human Wrongs: Art and Social Change.

In Conversation

Matvey Levenstein with Phong Bui

While preparing for his forthcoming one-person exhibition at Larissa Goldston Gallery, on view from April 2nd to May 9th, the painter Matvey Levenstein stopped by the Rail’s Headquarters to talk to Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

NORBERT SCHWONTKOWSKI with Phong Bui

A day before the opening reception of his current exhibit Ångström, the painter Norbert Schwontkowski welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui to see a group of new paintings, on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in Chelsea until January 9, 2010, and to discuss his life and work.

In Conversation

VIJA CELMINS with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her recent exhibit Vija Celmins: New Paintings, Objects, and Prints (April 29 – June 25, 2010) at David McKee Gallery, the painter welcomed Rail Publisher Phong Bui to her studio/loft in SoHo to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

CARRIE MOYER with Phong Bui

While busily preparing for her new exhibit Canonical at CANADA gallery (September 14 – October 16, 2011) the painter Carrie Moyer took time to stop by the Rail’s headquarters and talk with publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

In Conversation

CONSTANCE LEWALLEN with Phong Bui

State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970 was curated by Constance Lewallen and Karen Moss and co-organized by the Orange County Museum of Art and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Lewallen paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk about the genesis of the exhibit and more.

In Conversation

FRAN LEBOWITZ with Phong Bui

Fran Lebowitz and I met several years ago at a lively dinner at the home of our mutual friends, painters David Novros and Joanna Pousette-Dart. While we’ve occasionally ended up smoking outside of one social function or another, I had never had the opportunity to sit down and have a lengthy conversation with Fran about her life and work until Eugenie Dalland, editor of Riot of Perfume, recently asked me to.

In Conversation

SARAH LEWIS with Phong Bui

In reading Sarah Lewis’s The Rise I was at once reminded of how deeply appreciative I am of having read Freud, Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, Karen Horney, Erik H. Erikson, Sir Anthony Storr, even Paul Tillich, among others. Just before the publication of the paperback edition of The Rise from Simon & Schuster, the writer/critic/curator paid a visit to the Rail HQ in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to talk about her book with Rail publisher Phong Bui.

In Conversation

JULIAN SCHNABEL with Phong Bui

To me, to be able to make a physical fact that correlates with your impulse, with your real desire is something that can be unendingly interesting, or unendingly telling of itself. To the degree where you can’t seem to quite get enough of seeing it because it keeps retelling its own story. And maybe you look for that in the authenticity of a mark. Because once you start to give a reason as to why you’re doing something, it’s already a lie. Reason is the opposite of truth. Once you explain it you’re deconstructing it and making it into something else that might be a surrogate for that thing or trying to make it into a surrogate. But it just absolutely cannot be that thing.

In Conversation

WOLFGANG LAIB
with Phong Bui

The clarity of thought and simplicity of execution in the work of Wolfgang Laib never fails to transpire feelings of lightness against life’s awesome gravity.

In Conversation

ALI BANISADR with Phong Bui

One of the most poignant responses to the perpetual condition of being in exile is credited to Jonas Mekas, the legendary Godfather of American Avant-garde cinema, when he was asked, “Where are you from?” he offered, “I was born and raised in Lithuania, I live in New York, and now my country is culture.”

In Conversation

RACHEL FEINSTEIN with Phong Bui

As Feinstein continues to follow her ambitious vision of life and work as one personal synthesis, the work from the last few years has gradually begun to reveal a desire to reconnect with aspects of strength and vulnerability of selfhood from her early years. Everything else in between seems to be caught perpetually in the issues of identity and the countenance of everyday life.

In Conversation

David Novros with Phong Bui

Since his last exhibition of six copper paintings at Earl McGrath Gallery in 2000, David Novros has been working on five monumental paintings which can be seen as his synthesis of early shaped canvas and fresco paintings. On a sunny afternoon this Spring, Rail Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the painter’s studio to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

Cordy Ryman with Phong Bui

In the midst of preparation for his one-person exhibit at DCKT Gallery, (January 10–February 14, 2009) and a group show Organic Geometry at Nicole Klagsbrun (December 12–January 10, 2009) painter Cordy Ryman took a break from his Sunset Park studio to pay a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk with Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

James Hyde WITH PHONG BUI

Right after his last exhibition, Stuart Davis Group, which consisted of five large paintings made between 2006 and 2008, at the Boiler in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (May 28 – June 27, 2010), painter James Hyde stopped by Art International Radio to talk to Rail Publisher Phong Bui about his life and work.

In Conversation

John Elderfield with Phong Bui

On the occasion of Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913 – 1917 at the MoMA (July 18 – October 11, 2010), John Elderfield, who co-organized the exhibition, stopped by Art International Radio to talk with Rail publisher, Phong Bui, about the exhibit.

In Conversation

ROCHELLE FEINSTEIN with Phong Bui

Just a few days after the opening reception of her new exhibit The Estate of Rochelle F. at On Stellar Rays (March 27 – May 1, 2011), the artist Rochelle Feinstein paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk with publisher Phong Bui about her life and work.

In Conversation

LAURIE SIMMONS with Phong Bui

While in the midst of preparation for her new exhibit Kigurumi, Dollars and How We See (March 7 – April 28, 2014) at Salon 94 Bowery, the artist Laurie Simmons took time to welcome publisher Phong Bui to her Tribeca loft/studio to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

Joan Davidson with Phong Bui

From the moment I moved to New York City in the fall of 1986, I’ve associated Joan K. Davidson and the J.M. Kaplan Fund with Westbeth Artists Community—one of the first examples of the adaptive reuse of an industrial space, a complex of thirteen buildings that comprises a full city block bounded by West Street, Bethune Street, Washington Street and Bank Street in the West Village, which were the headquarters of Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1898 to 1966 before they were converted into their current form by the architect Richard Meier between 1968 and 1970.

In Conversation

JOHN ELDERFIELD
with Phong Bui

In order to experience a great work of art, one must assume that one will never understand it fully, but perhaps there are a few exceptions when one is completely alone with one’s openness and vulnerability, ready to be a receptor to the hidden layers of minute subtleties. How does one ever come to understand the art of Paul Cézanne?

In Conversation

JUSTIN BRICE GUARIGLIA with Phong Bui

Every now and then I meet an artist who has found his or her calling rather late in life—be it reaching their maturity after years of searching and struggle, or awakening a moment of clear vision, heightened perception that changes their course of direction. Such is the case of Justin Brice Guariglia.

In Conversation

Michael Brenson with David Levi Strauss and Phong Bui

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.

In Conversation

Mary Lucier with Phong Bui

In the midst of preparing for her new video installation The Plains of Sweet Regret, which will be on view at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc. from March 10 through April 28, 2007. The artist Mary Lucier took time from her busy schedule to talk with Rail Publisher about her life and work.

Rudy Burckhardt: The Art of Being

Only by being and being and being… can anything truly become: truly arrive. —Parker Tyler

In Conversation

Rackstraw Downes

Early one July morning, the Rail’s publisher Phong Bui visited the painter Rackstraw Downes at his loft on the top floor of an old Fluxus-converted building on Greene Street.

In Conversation

Ellen Phelan WITH PHONG BUI

n the occasion of her recent exhibit Ellen Phelan Still Life at Texas Gallery, which was on view from December 11, 2008 to January 24, 2009, Rail Publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the painter’s Upper East Side home to talk about her life and work.

In Conversation

The Club IT IS: A Conversation with Philip Pavia

One must admit that no artist feels completely at ease at gallery openings, let alone while actually looking at the work on the wall or even talking about art at all.

In Conversation

RONA PONDICK with Phong Bui

On the occasion of her forthcoming exhibit of sculptures and drawings at Sonnabend Gallery (Rona Pondick, March 23 – April 27, 2013) sculptor Rona Pondick welcomed publisher Phong Bui to her East Village studio to discuss her life, work, and more.

In Conversation

ROBERT FEINTUCH with Phong Bui

On the occasion of the painter’s recent exhibit of six new paintings at Sonnabend Gallery (May 3 – July 25, 2014), Robert Feintuch paid a visit to the Rail HQ to talk about his life and work with publisher Phong Bui.

In Conversation

TSIBI GEVA with Phong Bui and Jonathan T.D. Neil

Israeli artist Tsibi Geva’s exhibition, Paintings 2011 – 2013, curated by Barry Schwabsky, was on view at American University at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington D.C. from November 5 to December 15, 2013.

In Conversation

TAL R with Phong Bui

The morning after the opening reception of his recent exhibit Tal R: Altstadt Girl at Cheim & Read (January 15 – February 14, 2015) the artist Tal R welcomed Rail Publisher Phong Bui to the lobby of Bowery Hotel (where he was staying, and just hours before returning to his home and studio in Copenhagen, Denmark) to talk about his life and work.

In Conversation

Katharina Grosse with Phong Bui

The first time I encountered Katharina Grosse’s work was when she created her site-specific, spray-painted wall installation for the Drawing Center’s Selections Fall 1999 (September 10 – October 14, 1999), which also included the works of Steve Roden, Honda Takeshi, Barbara Cemilla Tucholski, and Paul Zawisha.

In Conversation

SUSAN LARSEN
with Phong Bui

Susan paid a visit to the Rail HQ for lunch and an extensive conversation about her life and work, and how she worked with New York artist Leo Rabkin in his last years to create the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Prize in visual arts journalism—the first of its kind—from The Rabkin Foundation.

In Conversation

CANDIDA ALVAREZ with Phong H. Bui

After her first major survey Here at Chicago Cultural Center, Candida Alvarez continues to explore her hybrid space as a boundless pictorial expansion in every possible and direct intimation of art through lived experience.

A Tribute to Leon Golub (1922–2004)

Remembering Golub by David Levi Strauss; Leon Golub 1922–2004 by Clayton Eshelman; A Tribute: Leon Golub by Phong Bui

William Phillips 1907-2002

Anyone who is remotely familiar with the history of New York intellectual life, especially from the 1930’s onward, will associate the name William Phillips with the legendary Partisan Review, otherwise known to some as P.R.

CONRAD MARCA-RELLI
City to Town

When de Chirico declared in 1919 that “symbols of superior reality are to be seen in geometric forms,” it was meant to repudiate the formal restrictions that were set to accommodate innovative trajectories of the Cubist, Futurist, and Constructivist artists.

In Conversation with George Gittoes

George Gittoes was recently able to set aside some time for an extended conversation with Railpublisher Phong Bui and his students in the MFA Art Criticism and Writing program at the School of Visual Arts, via Skype from Pakistan.

In Conversation

ALEKSANDAR DURAVCEVIC with Phong Bui

After viewing Aleksandar Duravcevic’s exhibit Selected Works 2007 – 2014 (November 6 – 30, 2014) at the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro, I was invited to the artist’s studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn to discuss another body of work, selected for his representation of the Montenegrin pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (May 9 – November 22, 2015).

In Conversation

BETTY WOODMAN with Phong Bui

On the occasion of Betty Woodman’s two simultaneous exhibitions, Breakfast at the Seashore Lunch in Antella at Salon 94 (January 21 – February 26, 2016), and Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic (February 3 – April 10, 2016) at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London (her first solo presentation in the U.K.), she spoke with Phong Bui before an audience at Salon 94.

In Conversation

Allan McCollum with Phong Bui

It’s difficult to describe Allan McCollum’s work, but his uncanny oceans of objects and inauspicious clouds of things create an immersive feeling that persists in one’s memory.

In Conversation

Philip Pearlstein In Conversation with Phong Bui

In the midst of preparations for his new exhibit at the Betty Cuningham Gallery, Philip Pearlstein took the time to sit down with Rail publisher Phong Bui to talk about his life and work at his loft studio in Hell’s Kitchen, where he and his wife Dorothy have lived since 1982.

A Tribute to Philip Pavia (1912-2005)

Listening to one story from one New York School artist, it is to be expected that it will be told differently from the others. Never lacking compelling and arresting narration, though undoubtedly bounded by Rashomom syndrome. But that, perhaps, is their greatest attribute and characteristic brilliance; for the Nietzchian will, utterly romantic and self-aggrandizing projection was the substance behind their creative life and work.

In Conversation

Phyllis Braff and Marek Bartelik WITH PHONG BUI

On the occasion of AICA (The International Association of Art Critics), USA section, 25th Annual Awards, which will be held at the Guggenheim Museum on March 2, 2009, Rail’s Publisher Phong Bui spoke to its current Co-Presidents Phyllis Braff and Marek Bartelik about the organization’s history and mission.

ARTISTS’ EYES: Children’s Art from Studio In A School

“The child sees everything in a state of newness,” Charles Baudelaire one wrote. He went on to conclude that, “genius is nothing more or less than childhood recovered at will.”

In Conversation

CHRIS LARSON with Phong Bui

I’ve followed the artist Chris Larson’s work ever since my visit to the Twin Cities in February 2013 as the McKnight Visiting Critic. Chris was one of the four 2012/2013 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship recipients. My trip began with a prolonged visit to his immense studio in St. Paul, where he had built a monumental structure which housed interiors made for his video works.

In Conversation

JONATHAN LASKER with Phong Bui

Even though I’ve followed the works of the painter Jonathan Lasker since I was a student, we didn’t get to know each other until his first exhibit with Cheim & Read in 2007. I recently read his Complete Essays 1984 – 1998 (Edgewise, 1998), just days before coming to see his last exhibit (January 7 – February 13, 2016), we decided to meet at the gallery to discuss his studio practice and thoughts about his paintings, which span more than four decades.

In Conversation

Amy Sillman with Phong Bui

In the midst of her preparation for the upcoming solo exhibit at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. from April 8 to May 6, and the late April publication of her first book, Amy Sillman—Works on Paper (which includes drawings from the past ten years and is being published by Gregory R.

In Conversation

Shigeko Kubota with Phong Bui

In the midst of the preparation for her new exhibit, My Life with Nam June Paik: Video Sculpture and Installation, at Maya Stendhal Gallery (Sept. 6–Oct. 27), Shigeko Kubota welcomes Rail Publisher Phong Bui to her loft/studio (one of the lengendary George Maciunas buildings in SoHo) to talk about her life and work.

A Tribute to David Rosand
(1938 – 2014)

Those who knew Rosand well have attested that he was equally at home in a classroom at Columbia University (where he taught from 1964 to 2010) as he was with his academic colleagues and artist friends. Whatever he wrote, whether in essay form or in numerous books and catalogues, resonated with his incisive eye and sharp mind.

SHAHRAM KARIMI The Rose of Remembrance

The first thing one notices about this exhibit is the pervasive sentiment of haunted memory and the ways in which images compel us to bring forth our own poetic imagination in order to fully grasp his pure poetry translated into visual form.

In Conversation

RONA PONDICK & ROBERT FEINTUCH with Phong Bui

A particular depiction of form can generate the way the viewer sees the image, and it strikes me that somehow everything about that seems to pertain to, or evokes references to, perception and psychology. One cannot exist independent of the other and vice versa.

In Conversation

William Anastasi with Phong Bui

On the occasion of his recent exhibition, “William Anastasi: Raw” at the Drawing Room of The Drawing Center, which will be on view till July 21st, the artist paid a visit to the Rail’s Headquarters to talk about his life and work.

Milton Resnick Remembered

“The desire to force a style beforehand is only a mere apology for one’s own anxiety,” Willem de Kooning once said. That remark poignantly broadened my reading of Milton Resnick’s entire oeuvre, especially after my first visit with a friend to his studio in 1986, a former synagogue on Eldridge Street.

Leon Golub

Leon Golub is a painter, who for most of his career has been considered a relentless political activist. He has always stuck to his own world view—a kind of persuasive skepticism, for which the oppressed condition and aggression became identifiable to his means of self-defense and personal dignity.

JÖRG IMMENDORFF
Café Deutschland

Van Gogh’s “The Potatoes Eaters” displays the physiognomies of things. In Immendorff’s picture of “Mahlzeit” beings are an urgent matter: What needs to be put on the tabletop? The table their altar,

Stephen Antonakos: Here and Beyond

It’s often said that an artist who has surpassed his creative maturity tends to gradually soften his vision. Whatever ideal of purity or perfection of form he may have envisioned—partially informed by the culture of his own time and the art produced by his peers, but also through his ability to sustain the uncertainty of his ambition—it is said that at the season of fruitage, he will harvest the essence of the object he most desires. In most cases, this implies a simplicity of form and an economy of means, each reduced over a lifetime of work.

Katia Santibañez New Work

In Gilles Deleuze’s landmark volume Difference & Repetition (1968) he proposes that difference and repetition have a function that is independent of the concepts of sameness, identity, resemblance, similarity, or equivalence.

FRANK STOUT

The work of Frank Stout has an unusual paradox: the painterly eloquence, which seems to evoke a deceptive ease in depicting modes of appearances, is betrayed by a compulsive need to iterate expressionistic gestures throughout the picture planes.

Bruegel The Elder: Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum

Even before I began my art education, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one of the first painters I fell in love with, even though I did not know what it was that attracted me to his work.

PEARLSTEIN/HELD: Five Decades

As one would think, any matchup between what appears to be a pair of opposites usually ends up amplifying subtle and hidden aspects that one would otherwise miss or ignore.

JEFF KEOUGH Skullscapes

Known for over 25 years as a legendary director of exhibitions at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Jeffrey Keough’s innovative curatorial vision has connected local artists in the New England region with international artists such as Xu Bing, William Wegman, Kiki Smith, Tony Oursler, and many others, while tackling diverse historical, social, and political themes ranging from the Holocaust, to AIDS, to the bombing of Hiroshima.

BILL JENSEN CHEIM & READ|FEBRUARY 18–MARCH 27, 2010

In an 1885 letter to Emile Schuffenecker, Gauguin describes Cézanne as someone who “passes whole days on the top of a hill reading Virgil and looking at the sky,” in whose work one finds “the essential mystic nature of the Orient.”

DONALD JUDD AND 1O1 SPRING STREET

In his landmark essay, “Specific Objects,” published in Arts Yearbook 8, 1965, Donald Judd emphatically declares that “most of the best new works of the past few years have been neither painting nor sculpture.”

EMILY MASON Recent Paintings

Although one can sense that Emily Mason’s paintings owe much to both Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction, it is impossible to readily ascribe any elements of her work to either school. There is something undecipherable and illegible about her process and something remarkably self-contained about her spirit.

Dear Irving

For some time I have been consumed by the notion of dualism. In particular, I’m increasingly aware of the constant effort required of me to maintain my own sensitivity to the hair’s breadth that separates artworks that result from inner ambition from ones that are merely the outcome of a temporary desire for fleeting relevance.

MARK GREENWOLD Murdering the World, Paintings and Drawings 2007–2013

One of the profound pleasures of encountering great art is the detangling of endless threads of reference in one’s mind.

CHUCK CLOSE Nudes 1967 – 2014

“If eyes were made for seeing, / Then beauty is its own excuse for being” / Said Emerson of the Rhodora. Yet “seeing and making / Is a different matter,” said the old poet.

PAT STEIR

Jasper Johns tells Brice Marden / About the drips along the bottom of his paintings: / “How come you do that?” / “Well, you know, you get near the bottom / And you’re bending over, and you get a little tired.”

ROSS BLECKNER

Circular modules stenciled on and off the grid / Which at times absorb light as though / They are orchestrations of quiet sound moving / Slowly at different speeds for the sake of / Cicero amazingly speaking before the sea waves

RICHARD TUTTLE In Praise of Economic Determinism

From the abstract to the concrete / It’s more delphically precise than anticipated. / Arms extending halfway down / Embrace head spinning gently on the wall.

Experiments With Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence

Remain in silence we must! / In 2 minutes 56 seconds, / We will see the world change from eastward / By our brothers, our sisters, who were told individuality / Is necessary when it liberates human freedom from / TYRANNY AND DESPOTISM.

CHRIS MARTIN

How many crosses cross the stretcher bar / In order to ignore the inner frame with endearment? / Some were struck by how the image falls / So swiftly from two thin layers of Ivory black / Just enough to DECLARE he has finally left

CLIFFORD ROSS Landscape Seen & Imagined

Longinus’s eloquence on the elevation of style: / The artist transcends through previous lives of rugged yet robust / Bestowing hands and eyes.

HERMENEUTICS OF EVERYTHING
MARK GREENWOLD The Rumble of Panic Underlying Everything

The Rumble of Panic has undoubtedly taken this distinguished / Ensemble of mortals outdoors by the swimming pool, where / There was no Mrs. Robinson, only one-half of the duo, / That concocted this prodigious ballad for The Graduate.

Voices of a Waking Dream

How does an image transfigure? / How fast can it appear before consciousness?

Occupy Peace

Vested Spirit anchors, / Scudder Flip floats. / Skins, fragile yet resilient, caress, / Stretch, wrap, suspend

DONALD MOFFETT Any Fallow Field

Swayed by summer breeze, tinted with transparent ocher, punctured / Asymmetrically with alluring violence, / Symmetrically piercing the other side at will, / Swirling slowly to another unknown space below.

The Sun Chaser

Dazzling, trembling with such exactitude, / Clench, clutch, clasp, spellbindingly hugging / Each of these mountains was precipitously made / With flawless fibula.

The Democracy of Touches: A New Reading of Richard Pousette-Dart

In his landmark essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Isaiah Berlin carved out two intellectual and artistic temperaments: those who view the world by relating everything to a central, singular and specific vision, and those who thrive on a broad mélange of experiences.

EJ HAUSER Me + You

Downtempo skating, unhurried kissing, slow dancing With broken rhythm like Surfing on Finnegans Wake. Incremental footsteps breeding images that perch So proudly on the horizons like imaging delphi.

Every Force Evolves a Form

Perhaps more than many of his peers from the late ’60s through today, Richard Serra continues to explore his monumental anxiety through an inquiry of form, as much as remaining openly receptive to the art of the past and the art of his own time, especially regarding potential expansions from the language of post-Minimalism.

LOUISE BOURGEOIS Suspension

Irremediably we became members of the rebellious children seminar. / Beehives, intestinal cocoons, Rembrandt’s “Carcas of Beef” / (That inspired Soutine’s) precede our rebellion.

The Enigma of Arrival:
On Gonzalo Fonseca’s Timeless Vista

True to my first encounter of Fonseca’s work, it has remained enigmatic, allusive, and mysterious decades later.

JOHN GRAHAM

I once had a discussion with an art historian friend who insisted that the uniqueness of John Graham is almost identical to that of Emile Bernard. My friend really meant that both were lesser painters, but their ideas and intelligence had great significance in broadening new possibilities for their contemporaries.

MIKA ROTTENBERG Bowls Balls Souls Holes

Are we waiting for an apparatus of wonder / To operate with relentless irritation? / Bingo balls sizzle with the sound of / Fortune for the unfortunate.

The Democracy of Touches: A New Reading of Richard Pousette-Dart

What I have essentially discovered in my recent observations of Pousette-Dart’s work is that they appear to have been made for future generations of artists.

RICHARD TUTTLE Both/And Richard Tuttle Print and Cloth

One could associate the crease of his octagonal clothes / With Georgia O’Keeffe’s and Agnes Martin’s facial geography / Evocative of Santa Fe’s dry topography. I came just / To treasure the imperfection of corners meeting, / To engender each of their physiologies.

LISA YUSKAVAGE

“Pile up”—the accumulation of the history of her images / Dating as far back as our earliest folktales, advocates for mythical behavior. / “Striped Socks” centralizes the space you may not, or may, enter.

AL HELD Brushstrokes: India Ink Drawings From 1960

Masonry-like ‘pigment pictures’ rush back to my memory / Like vengeance.

RACKSTRAW DOWNES: In Focus

Only after Diego Martelli, the Italian painter and art critic (1838-1896) whose portrait was painted by Degas, insightfully observed that Manet and Degas were “artists of modernity,” while Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro were the “true Impressionists who represent[ed] the dawn of the future,” did Cézanne (taking cues from Pissarro’s example) set out to restore the dignity of form that the Impressionists had destroyed.

CORDY RYMAN Chimera 45

Each space between the endless concentric squares/ Refers to its diamond configuration, / Recalls the mitered maze that we traveled through / Into LYCIA.

Sarah Sze

Glowing light at the last breath of day/Distant skeletons framing staggering timbers/Eco-friendly to planetary nebula/All attesting to divinity and humane intellects

ELLEN PHELAN Encyclopedia of Drawing, 1964 – 2012

Ellen Phelan’s relationship with drawing has always been the key to her non-conformist spirit as an artist.

An External/Eternal Affair: On the Recent Paintings of Carroll Dunham

Theatrical repertoire willfully overturns physiognomic expression. / Between parts of the stylized body, / Solidarity dancing with agility, strange forms frolicking

To Fix the Image in Memory

For Vija Celmins

EMILY MASON Recent Paintings

Sound drifting rhythm infuses with the sun’s “Jukebox.” / Soft wind whispers gently between particles of dust, / Caressing the “Blue Flag,” / Two reincarnations of van Gogh’s cypresses that / All of us have seen a few blocks away / At the Modern just last September.

Incidental Relays of Memory

Constructing a synthetic space in a natural landscape, Bending body is subversive countenance, While Afropunk Odalisque watches the spirit of the dead.

JO NIGOGHOSSIAN: Exotica

Poise. Fiercely built by A cohesive assembly of points, lines, and planes

SOCIAL RADIANT
Alex Katz / Dara Friedman

Juan and Choichun, Choichun and Juan.

JOE BRADLEY Krasdale

Granted with infancy’s cradle of subconscious mojo, / Moon eclipsing the sun while winking at the children, / He needs only the essentials: sleep, air, and his dreams– / The things that refer to the eternal.

Poems for Robert Motherwell

One of the first art books I bought as an art student was H.H. Arnason’s handsome volume on Robert Motherwell. (I’ve always admired Motherwell’s keen graphic sensibility synthesized with his particular painterly eloquence, as well as his life as an intellectual/artist who simultaneously embraced the co-existence of solitude and cosmopolitanism.) The following is a selection of works that reaffirmed my memory, with on-the-spot thoughts written as an homage to the artist.

WHERE ARE WE
RICHARD TUTTLE
Looking for the Map

Into the heart of things / Center of the universe / Yet I like to place things / Irregularly

RICHARD POUSETTE-DART

Spotting, scratching, pressing down, building up marks that / Radiate from the central orbit. / As though the wattle and daub structure beneath has allowed / For his journey to the center of “Cerchio Di Dante.”

ARLENE SHECHET:
Some Truths

I vaguely remember Picasso whispering to Casagemas, / Social conservatives deprive themselves the pleasure of / Fumbling, stumping, bumbling, wobbling, wavering / Through the magic of “la fée verte.”

MELANIE BAKER: Feast

Melanie Baker, in her singular pursuit of such an unpopular genre, has undoubtedly carved out a space for herself within this narrow firmament (w ithout being invested in, let’s say, Matisse’s formidable copy “Still-Life after David Z”).

MARTIN PURYEAR New Sculpture

When I think of Martin Puryear’s work, I think of its exquisite nature in relationship to our contemporary history, and of the benevolent yet fierce spirit that each piece generates.

GIORGIO MORANDI

Solicitously buttering across the suffused dexterity of muteness, / Resembling the earth pigments in their splendor, / Time collapses above and below the horizon.

Nicolas Carone: What Matters

What happens when we embrace mistakes as eternal mutations? / Apparition fractures rationality.

Popped from Life (for E. M.)

Leaping from a bent table into three-dimensional form, / She swiftly excavates a formidable void.

JOEL SHAPIRO Sculpture and Drawings 1969 – 1972

During an artist’s journey, when he or she leaves home decisively, they’re usually gone for good—but they will always have their roots.

A Fable of A Time Traveler

Genesis tells of the sacred grove: / Roots soaked in cool water of astral seas, branches bathed by / Silvery moonlight. I stand firmly here on a durable plinth of earth.

Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and Now

On some timely occasions, we get the true pleasure to be reminded of T.S. Eliot’s “historical sense” (from his famous 1919 essay Tradition and Individual Talent). This historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past but of its very presence, which simply implies a co-function of simultaneous existence and simultaneous order before reaching the synthesis of time being timeless and temporal all at once.

JESS Paintings

Jess: Paintings, Tibor de Nagy’s third solo exhibition of the artist’s work and the first to focus on his paintings, features 17 paintings and two works on paper.

MERLIN JAMES Genre Paintings

Imaginary boat floating above a still life. / Concavity pressures the space of / What appears to be a cloud-like form, provides / A dry hot day to its absence.

RICHARD SERRA Equal

From the East to West arms were made from this substance; / Later bridges, railroads, and steamships became its perpetual “custodians”, / To comfort human lives. Some of us are in debt to Gonzalez for his contributions.

Julia Rommel Man Alive

“I don’t believe in history, that’s his story. / I believe in mystery, that’s my story.” Sun Ra once declared. / My Stories, Your Semi-Autobiographical First Novel, that’s her story. / This mystery is told by a folded history that unfolds the story

Colonization of Space

Self-contained “microcosm,” illuminated on paper in Pre-Eyckian splendor. Simultaneously mitigated by Anomalous septa, debonair syncopation, Place and space seem to migrate fluidly to unexpected orbits.

MARA HELD

One comes away from the exhibition with a Neruda-esque sense of absence, desire, and hope.

RICHARD SERRA Grace Under Pressure

In an era of perturbation, and neomemory, the experience of space precedes time—even Earth—and man is conceived as a monumental function of form.

Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

Simplicity is the essential objective. Deceptively trouble-free

ALEKSANDAR DURAVCEVIC

Endless emptied buckets in a vertical matrix that evoke / Both his ancestors’ action to honor those soldiers / Who defended Târgu Jiu and Kafka’s cryptic fable of / The rider who came away empty from a coal merchant.

CARRIE MOYER Sirens

An opulent glimpse into a voluptuous void / Gave birth to the Maiden Voyage. / In the middle of a convivial mirage, / She simply refuses to reach her destination.

JEAN DUBUFFET Anticultural Positions

Primordial tenants stand proudly in front of / Their Apartment Houses [in] Paris after the war— / Some on terraces or in frames of doors.

Alex Katz: Drawings

Matisse, when asked to talk about his paintings, would often quote Cézanne’s phrase, “I want to secure a likeness,” referring to his desire to create a correlative to his emotions. Here lies the contradiction of Matisse’s life as an artist: despite the apparent ebullience of most of his work, he always sought to empty out his emotions, so that the painting might attain a perfect visual purity of coherence, and unity of form and content.

SITE SANTA FE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL The Dissolve

Before I entered the first gallery, Hiraki Sawa’s hypnotic “Airliner” (2003)—a video structured as a flipbook with digitized images of airplanes gliding across the page, threatening to congest the friendly sky—gave a strong initial impression: that of the magic touch of the hand.

On MICHAEL BERRYHILL’s “Sensitive Parlour Ghost”
Incidental Western

Possessed by certain homeostatic eccentricities, / She prefers to avoid definite lines that / Trace the body, especially in sunlight.

KATHERINE BRADFORD Fear of Waves

Elevated above seawater / The statuesque “Blond’s [towering] in the Sun [as a] Lifeguard.”

Malcolm Morley, Richard Artschwager, and Made in Vermont

Despite the differences in Morley’s and Artschwager’s stylistic and material approaches, their treatment of plastic representation, case by case explores issues of the phenomenology of perception, memory and displacement, birth and death, manmade and natural environments, the news, consumptive culture, and above all anxiety, destruction and violence. Each carved out a unique synthesis of image and object: both relentlessly and restlessly interrupted the conventions of art—be it subject matter or how an artwork should look according to its surrounding space and the times.

ALEX KATZ Prints

“Fashion fades; only style remains the same,” said Coco Chanel. Alex Katz has style, evidenced by his ability to simplify the image of a painting through the constancy of his touch, harmonizing contemporary visual specifics with classic physiognomies in unexpected scales, endlessly refreshing our perception every time we confront either an old or new work.

MARTHA TUTTLE Metaxu

Edges travel with elation. Lines sag. / Wrinkles recall sages / Eager to impart wisdom to the troubled world.

N. DASH

Several and specific typologies. They evoke Babylonian clay tablets / That desire to relinquish their planes’ subtle textures.

ArtSeen In Verse

The Garden of Eden

Symphony of light and refrains of machine unconscious / Plummet this anomalous and unflustered Eden into / Deliberations of unequal passages

JOAN MITCHELL Trees

It was never intended for Mondrian— / My linden tree. / Nor was it for Picasso or Braque / When they spent the summer in Céret! / It was the linden tree that taught me / How to hold my trunk upward and high / Without getting a burn.

JEAN PAGLIUSO Poultry and Raptor Suites

Who would mock the pretensions of Lavater’s new science of physiognomy / But Georg Lichtenberg in his witty essay “Fragment On Tails.” / It was a series of drawings of dogs’ tails made as an exercise for the readers, / “If Goethe had a tail, which one of these would it be?”

ABBY LEIGH Pause

Who’s afraid of endless squares that sing independently, / Black chromatics that blaze high above the floor? / Each member of the tribe longs to separate himself, / Herself as soon as possible. / Distinctions from yesterday are barely recognizable today.

EDUARDO CHILLIDA

Have you ever seen a carpenter’s joinery—pegs, / Dowel, flush, shy, proud—in Cor-ten steel?

DONALD JUDD

From ancient and sacred geometry arose Gertrude’s “Portraits and Repetition.”

PHONG BUI with Bob Holman

We first met when Phong and Robert Storr paid a visit to our loft on Duane Street for a lengthy interview with my late wife, the painter Elizabeth Murray, on the occasion of her retrospective at MoMA, sometime in late September 2006. When Phong invited me to guest edit these Critics Pages, I wanted to turn the tables, so I invited Phong to my pad over the shop, above the Bowery Poetry Club, for a brief conversation about his love for poetry and spoken word.

Grateful to all things past. Service for all things present. Embrace of all things future.

If it wasn’t for my relationship with Meyer and Lillian Schapiro, who had adopted me as their surrogate Jewish grandson, I wouldn’t have had the vision and the stamina to work to shape and sustain the Rail since its founding in October 2000.

When the Hamptons Had Art

Most of us are aware that the Hamptons was once a thriving artists’ community long before the nouveau riche took the place over.

The Beauty of Independent Publishing

Along with James Laughlin of New Directions (founded in 1936) and Barney Rosset of Grove Press and Evergreen Review (1951 and 1957, respectively), George Braziller, of George Braziller Inc. (1955), who turns 100 this month, is one of the monumental figures in the history of American publishing.

2010 SUMMER READING LIST

We asked friends and colleagues to contribute THE five books.

Ron Padgett’s Joe, A Memoir of Joe Brainard

It’s uncommon for two young friends from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to exhibit a common affinity for self-salvation and a deep love for art and literature.

In Conversation

George Braziller with Phong Bui

What got me into publishing was actually my first job. I was a shipping clerk making $15 a week, and the nature of that work was remainders. I knew very little about remainders or book publishing, but as I worked with these books, I got a sense of the kind of books that people were reading.

Postcards from Mencken

H. L. Mencken is considered among the great American men of letters.

In Conversation

DAN SIMON with Phong Bui

Dan Simon was among the first friends I made in 1986 when I was a student at the New York Studio School. We became friends at a time when we both were making critical decisions about our lives—Dan gave up being a jazz musician for a publishing enterprise and I turned from an art editorial role in the commercial publishing industry to be an artist.

In Conversation

Parthenia with Phong Bui

After their usual Sunday afternoon practice, Rail Publisher Phong Bui visited the Carroll Garden studio of Rosamund Morley and Larry Lipnik, two members of Parthenia, a critically acclaimed New York-based viol consort whose ethereal, spirited and virtuoso performances of sixteenth to twenty-first century music has delighted audiences across the United States and Europe.

In Conversation

Amar Kanwar with Phong Bui

Amar Kanwar is an independent documentary filmmaker based in New Delhi whose subject matter includes ecology, politics, art, and philosophy. A past recipient of a MacArthur award, Kanrwar’s film King of Dreams was awarded the Juries Award at Film South Asia 2001. A Season Outside, exhibited last year at Documenta 11, will be shown at Peter Blum Gallery from February 5 to March 20. On the third day of the New Year, Rail publisher Phong Bui had a telephone conversation with the filmmaker about his work.

The Whisper of the Whistling Water: Portrait of Louise Bourgeois

To enter the home and studio space of le grand dame Louise Bourgeois is to enter Pere Jules’s dark and claustrophobic cabin, filled with a multitude of personal objects in Jean Vigo’s final masterpiece L’Atalante.

Lionel Abel Remembered

Years ago, while reading Irving Howe’s autobiography, The Margin of Hope, I came across a humorous but insightful observation made by Lionel Abel about New York during the 1930s: “It became the most interesting part of the Soviet Union…that one part of the country in which the struggle between Stalin and Trotsky could be openly expressed.”

PUBLISHER'S ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“I chose love and friendship over work, then work and friendship over suspended disbelief – won’t love conquer all?” —Bill Berkson

In Conversation

ROBERT KELLY with John Yau, David Levi Strauss, and Phong Bui

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 Strauss’s library to discuss Kelly’s life and work.

A TRIBUTE TO SABRINA SEELIG (1984–2007)

One could describe Sabrina to those who never met her as a J.D Salinger character, a brilliant precocious individual. A true New Yorker who loved the city and its people unequivocally, with an enormous appetite for life, she directed her energy to describing her adopted home.

Editor’s Note

Jack Whitten has been a dear friend and mentor to the Rail ever since our journal was founded in October 2000. Jack's resilient spirit, generosity, and compassion have been an inspiration to all of us. Due to Jack’s recent passing, I’ve asked several of his old and new friends including Lydia Dona, Guy Goodwin, Odili Donald Odita, David Reed, Richard Shiff, Ron Gorchov, Stanley Whitney, and myself included, to contribute our reflections and observations on what Jack has meant to our life and work, our contemporary painting culture, and beyond.

STANLEY WHITNEY
with Phong Bui

Jack knew, no matter what: I’m gonna make great art, I’m going to have a great life. It wasn’t about the New York art world, it wasn’t about money. “I’m gonna have this life no matter what.” And that’s what inspired me—no matter what. Jack as a great painter is inseparable from Jack the courageous human being.

Phong Bui

What else can I say about Jack in addition to being a generous, courageous, and wise person? His inspiring belief in the power of art sustained his stamina throughout the hardship and struggles as an African American person and artist. I, too, am grateful to Jack for paving the way for me to fight against the narrow confines of our popular culture’s perpetual tendency to label those it considers as outsiders of the establishment. Jack has taught all of us: your potential is greater than your given circumstances.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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