Search View Archive

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve is a writer, editor, artist, interviewer, and former ArtSeen editor for the Rail. She currently teaches several graduate programs at SVA.

Guest Critic

Vulnerability and its Vicissitudes

I am interested in experiences with art that have made you fragile, made you question fundamental beliefs about your self, the world, or art in general; moments when the art before you made you question the very discourse you have learned in order to evaluate art in the first place.

In Conversation

CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN and HEIDE HATRY with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Carolee Schneemann and Heide Hatry explore current art practice filtered through a unique intergenerational friendship steeped with feminism, meat, performance, the vicissitudes of aging.

In Conversation

ERNESTO PUJOL with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

The art of Ernesto Pujol is like breath. The kind of breath we have so little of these days. It is what makes his work so vital. His medium is the body, his strategy stillness, his method listening. He has been performing since the 1990s and works from a biography like few contemporary artists.

“Making the Impossible Possible” in North Rhine-Westphalia and—for a Few Days in July—New York City

Nowhere is the myopic New York-centrism that Saul Steinberg so famously captured in his March 29, 1976 cover of the New Yorker as ubiquitous as it is in the art world. Although international travel is a given for most art professionals, in 2015 the art-infested boroughs of New York City, branching out from Soho to Chelsea, to Williamsburg, Long Island City, and Bushwick, with museums expanding in ways both depressing (MoMA) and exhilarating (the Whitney), it is hard not to continue to call New York the center of the art world.

In Conversation

MCKENZIE WARK with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

New Yorkers are fortunate to have living among us the wildly inventive and far-ranging Australian-born public intellectual and theorist McKenzie Wark. This spring he added two new books to his robust list of titles produced since 1994: the dauntingly original Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (Verso, 2015), and the deeply personal I’m Very Into You (Semiotexte, 2015), made up of email correspondence between him and Kathy Acker during a brief but intense affair in the mid-’90s.

In Conversation

MARK DION: Mourning is A Legitimate Mode of Thinking

Mark Dion is the elder statesman of critical nature studies­—of art that thinks, specifically about nature as a projection and extension of man’s self-interest.

In Conversation

“What Forms of Making Might Spin the Stories We Need to Lift Ourselves from the Distractions of the Immediate?”
ANN HAMILTON with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Ann Hamilton and I have been missing one another for decades. First in 1990, when Ida Panicelli (then editor of Artforum) asked me to write about Hamilton’s show at Capp Street in San Francisco, but because I lived in Santa Cruz, I had not seen the exhibition, and soon the magazine changed editors. She and I did meet in the late ’90s, when I was Senior Instructor at the Whitney Independent Study Program. I invited her to give a seminar only to learn later that my invitations to her and Matthew Barney were viewed in hindsight by the director as embarrassments (both were too “mystical”), which placed a pall over my contacting her again. But then I discovered another missed moment in my files while prepping for this conversation: correspondence with her and the editors at Art in America for a conversation that for some reason never happened and which I had totally forgotten.

In Conversation

Heide Hatry with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve and Laila Pedro

Heide Hatry is an artist who grew up on a pig farm in the south of Germany and studied art history at the University of Heidelberg. She has shown her work in galleries and museums in the United States, Germany, and Spain; curated numerous exhibitions; produced over 200 artist’s books; and spent seventeen years running a rare-books store in Heidelberg.

In Conversation

Two Days in the Lives of Art as Social Action:

Tim Rollins is an artist to hear and experience in action. Performance is his being. Drawn from his own New England Baptist background and the influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. since he was a boy, he is a preacher, a teacher, and an inspiration machine.

In Conversation

ANDREA FRASER with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

I first met Andrea Fraser when she was nineteen and I was twenty-six. We were both in the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP) and loyal spawns of Yvonne Rainer, who taught there.

In Conversation

The Art of Institutional Possibility:
with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

“I think this future of art will only be possible if artists in the academy reconcile the practiced ignorance—or epistemological violence—that has excluded community arts and cultural organizing from the art academy for so long. Luckily, my generation has been raised in Occupy Wall Street and in Black Lives Matter, so the transformation of the academy and of the arts ecosystem is already underway.”

In Conversation

Philosopher of the Sequence Out of Sync:
with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

“The idea that, as individuals, we are caught in a much larger storm of circumstances beyond our control. We live in our time, and we cannot outrun it.”

In Conversation

CATHERINE GUND with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

On the occasion of her newest film, Aggie, filmmaker Catherine Gund speaks to Rail Editor at Large, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve about her life spent in activism and film making.

A Possible Reading of Matthew Barney’s Drawings

Sometimes a finger, a tool, perhaps graphite, is gagged or rubbed, pushed or pulled across a surface. A trace occurs. This trace is a record of energy spent and mime recorded. Hardware or residue: what’s left?

What to Do With the Ghost of James Lee Byars When He Is Dead and His Body Buried?

The room you dare not enter is golden and gleaming [The Death of James Lee Byars], both sunset and sunrise. I like the fact that the current incarnation is dated right there on the wall label as 1994 – 2004.

In Conversation

LUCAS ZWIRNER with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

The occasion for my conversation with Lucas Zwirner was the 25th anniversary of David Zwirner, and the commemorative volume which will come out in the fall, but I really decided to contact Lucas after hearing him speak on several panels in his capacity as the editorial director of the fledgling David Zwirner Books. I was impressed by the sharp, serious scholar lurking inside the tall, polite young man one might stereotype, even dismiss, because of his youth and privilege. Instead, I came away thinking of a mutual friend’s comment: “Lucas gives me hope.”

In Conversation

L.A. KAUFFMAN with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

I contacted L.A. Kauffman in the summer of 2017 when I was first hired as the BR senior art editor. Although her book is not about art, it is about direct action and the history of American radicalism since the 70s, and I wanted to talk to her about action in the vile climate of 45.

In Conversation

TONY OURSLER with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Tony Oursler speaks with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve about the evolution of his video art practice, his family history, and multiple personality disorder.

In Conversation

with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

It is 1989. I am enrolled in a graduate seminar called “Science Fiction and the Fictions of Science” taught by Donna Haraway in the History of Consciousness program in Santa Cruz, California, while also acting as her teaching assistant for an undergraduate course, “Science Fiction as Political Theory.” She receives a call from Artforum (edited at that time by Ida Panicelli) asking her to contribute to their special summer issue on “Wonder.” She says she doesn’t have anything but suggests the name of one of her graduate students.

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Last week, as though the news for feminists and women of the art world(s) wasn’t grim enough (the Weinstein allegations of abusive horror ballooning into overwhelming quantities; Artforum publisher Knight Landsman served with a damning lawsuit followed by the resignation of longtime female editor Michelle Kuo, not to mention the daily obscenity of our never-to-repent pussy-grabbing President), we learn of the passing of Linda Nochlin.

In Conversation

JOSEPH NECHVATAL with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Joseph Nechvatal is a post-conceptual painter, media and audio artist, art theoretician, and the Paris correspondent for Hyperallergic. He came into prominence in the early ’80s downtown New York art world for small, dense, semi-abstract, apocalyptic graphite drawings that were sometimes blown up photo-mechanically.


In an age when artists are pressured to present themselves as easily identifiable brand personas, thank the art world for offering up Camille Henrot, who perpetually undoes any easy expectation one might have of her work.

Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art

What exactly is the fantastic since it travels deep into history in both literature and visual art? Like Paul Schrader’s famous definition of film noir, it is less a genre than a deep structure of mood and tone.

Stolen Sun

A small table with several smooth oblong river-washed stones placed informally on its surface greets me as I enter. Objects of beauty whose situation for being in this gallery is war, they resemble loaves of hard tack homemade bread. The effect is homey and inviting; harsh and ironic. Some are sliced and fall in welcome stacks as if waiting to be placed on a dinner plate.

Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids
Frogs: A Chorus of Colors

With MoMA sporting a forty-year retrospective of Richard Serra, the Whitney Museum’s Summer of Love, and Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum, why, with time-stamped ticket in hand, would an artist want to see a bunch of live frogs and storied fossils housed in a marble mausoleum?

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
on Leon Golub

You could say / the painter’s canvas is a third degree burn / but really / It’s a peculiar apparatus / portraits made of cut razor inscriptions / in the folds of chalk skin / paint the color of dried blood

Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now

style="text-align: left;">When Hugo Chapman, the Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum stands before you and says, “This is the British Museum’s Print and Drawings department’s single best traveling exhibition, ever,” your pupils dilate and back straightens.

QUAY BROTHERS On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets

As identical twins, the Quays do not traffic in the kind of boundaries that we singulars do. Theirs is the world of the Twins—not of one individual’s subjectivity or the other’s (although clearly each completes singular activities in production).

PHOENIX RISING: NYC 1993 Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star

Memory can’t help but lead one through the 1993 show at The New Museum, even if one was too young to be part of it.

The Nobody in a Field of Abstraction
OTTO DIX, “Wounded Solider”

There is meat in this face, an explosion of vivid abstraction. Meat is the nobody; the abstracting of the once lived. In war, soldiers who are sent to the front of the battle to distract are called “meat shields.”

Prolixity and Art

The question is not whether language has “gotten the jump on visuality” (for it has), but rather what kind of language sits so heavily upon our experience of the visual.

Introducing 1 by 1

With this issue, the Artseen section of the Brooklyn Rail introduces a new feature titled 1 by 1. Each month we ask readers (and non-readers) of the Rail to send a short piece on one art work.

Paul Bowles, Mohammed Mrabet, and 17-year-old Me

These quotes are taken from letters written to a teenager who had met and bonded briefly with these storied figures; an encounter of life-changing dimensions for her, but not a rare or even uncommon experience for them.

The Metaphysical Fairyland of Michelle Concepción

The interlocking layers of color, texture, paint, shape, and air seem to inhale and exhale into and out of one another, freed of mass or recognizable temporality. Yet, all is contingent, dependent on what it touches.

“I can imagine you (reading these words) into being”: The documenta 14 Reader

At one point in his introduction to The documenta 14 Reader, curator Adam Szymczyk refers briefly to Artaud’s “theater and its double.” Since Documenta’s most recent iteration wraps up its showing this month in both Athens and Kassel, his off-hand allusion most likely privileges the “double” in the phrase.

In Conversation

MARK DERY with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

How does a deeply read, supremely pyrotechnic wordsmith, pioneer of cyberculturewho popularized culture jamming and first articulated the notion of Afrofuturism in his conversation with Samuel R. Delany (“Black to the Future” 1993)—scholar of glam rock, author of countless articles on gothic surrealism and natural-history gothic (see: “William Burroughs and Chilopodophobia”), and most trusted guide to zombies and the terror of clowns (see: “Dead Man Walking: What Do Zombies Mean?” 2010)—write a celebrated mainstream biography of the beloved and wildly complex Edward Gorey?

Editor's Note

As 2017 slipped into 2018, we heard of the death of Tim Rollins, artist, friend, teacher, mentor, and spiritual sibling to many.

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

It’s unnerving how friends with public profiles freeze into memory as they die. I first knew of Tim Rollins as a distant idle, decades before we became friends.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues