Common Ground

Mildred’s Lane

Featuring J. Morgan Puett, Mark Dion, David Brooks, Alastair Gordon, Barbara Bourland, and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Ambassador of entanglement J. Morgan Puett is joined by Mark Dion, David Brooks, Alastair Gordon, Barbara Bourland, and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve for a conversation on Mildred’s Lane. We conclude with a poetry reading by Patrycja Humienik.

In this talk

Read more about Mildred’s Lane on their website »

What is Mildred’s Lane?

J. Morgan Puett

A portrait of J. Morgan Puett
Trans-disciplinary creative producer J. Morgan Puett works with installation, clothing and furniture design, architecture, film, photography, and more, rearranging these intersections by applying conceptual tools including research-based methods in history, biology, new economies, design, textiles, and collaboration. Puett is the architect of The Mildred’s Lane Project, which continues to forge new ground citing that being is a profoundly social and political practice. Puett has received several awards, including the Magdalena Abakanowicz Arts and Culture (2019), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2016), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2016), among many others.

Mark Dion

A portrait of Mark Dion
Artist Mark Dion’s work examines the way dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understandings of history, knowledge, and the natural world. The job of the artist, he says, is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention. Appropriating archaeological, field ecology and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between ‘objective’ (‘rational’) scientific methods and ‘subjective’ (‘irrational’) influences. Dions holds a BFA and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford School of Art, Connecticut. He is a cofounder and co-director of Mildred’s Lane. He was born in New Bedford, MA in 1961.

David Brooks

A portrait of David Brooks
Artist David Brooks' work considers the relationship between the individual and the built environment, considering how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world while questioning the terms under which nature is perceived and utilized. He has exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT; the Dallas Contemporary; Tang Museum, NY; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco; Sculpture Center, NYC; The Visual Arts Center, Austin; Nevada Museum of Art; and MoMA/PS1, among others. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants including the Rome Prize, grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Coypu Foundation, and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Born in Brazil, Indiana, he currently lives and works between New York City and New Orleans.

Barbara Bourland

A portrait of Barbara Bourland by Meiying Thai
Writer Barbara Bourland is the author of two previous novels and an avid Mildred’s Lane Bibliophant. Her third novel The Force of Such Beauty is forthcoming from Dutton in Summer 2022. She lives and works in Baltimore, MD.

Alastair Gordon

A portrait of Alastair Gordon
Critic, curator, artist, and cultural historian Alastair Gordon has covered art, architecture, and the environment for the New York Times for more than twenty years and is Contributing Editor on design for the Wall Street Journal Magazine. His essays have been published in Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, Le Monde, and others. He is the author of Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons (Princeton Architectural Press 2001), Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure (University of Chicago Press 2004), and Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties (Rizzoli 2008). In 2016, he launched Poetics of Place, a critical writing program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
Writer, editor, artist, and interviewer Thyrza Nichols Goodeve writes “with” rather than “on” contemporary art and artists. Her interests range across art as a “structure of feeling,” human/nonhuman animal ontologies, the aesthetics of wonder, the interview as essay, surrealist methodologies, and the metaphysics of technology. She has published widely on artists such as Ellen Gallagher, Tom Friedman, Hadieh Shafie, Joan Waltemath, among many others. She is the author of How Like A Leaf: A Conversation with Donna Haraway (1999) and is compiling her collected writings, No Wound Ever Speaks for Itself: Writing, Art, Vulnerability, Conversation, Attitude with a preface by Avital Ronell. She was Senior Art Editor at the Rail from 2017 to 2019 and is currently an Editor-at-Large.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and we’re fortunate to have Patrycja Humienik reading.

Patrycja Humienik

Patrycja Humienik
Daughter of Polish immigrants, Patrycja Humienik is a writer and performer based in Seattle, WA. She serves as Events Director for The Seventh Wave and works in the Office of Equity & Justice in Graduate Programs at the University of Washington. She was a recent semi-finalist for the 92Y Discovery Prize, and is working on her first book of poems, Anchor Baby.