The New Social Environment#59

Francesco Clemente with Carlos Basualdo


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist Francesco Clemente and curator Carlos Basualdo discuss creative life in the context of our new social reality.

A drawing of Francesco Clemente by Phong Bui

Francesco Clemente is a contemporary Italian artist known for his dreamlike paintings based on esoteric themes of sexuality and spirituality. Working across oil painting, installation, and watercolor, Clemente’s works are characterized by their formal experimentation with symbols, portraiture, and the human figure. “I believe there is such a thing as an imagination shared by the different contemplative traditions,” he has said. “My goal is to collect images and references from these traditions and connect them with the emotions from the present-day, and common experiences.” Born on March 23, 1952 in Naples, Italy, he studied architecture at the University of Rome in 1970 before moving to India three years later. While abroad, he collaborated with local craftsman and painters, while also studying Hindu spiritual texts. His experience in traditional papermaking and miniature painting has had a lasting impact on his work. Relocating to New York in 1981, Clemente began collaborating with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Allen Ginsberg. Categorized as a Neo-Expressionist during the 1980s, Clemente has largely shunned the restrictive label of movements and styles. Seeking various outlets for his creativity, in 1998 he produced around 200 original works for director Alfonso Cuaròn’s film Great Expectations. Clemente continues to live and work in New York, NY. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others. (source:

In the Rail:

Also included in Tell Me Something Good published by David Zwirner:

A photo of Carlos Basualdo in front of a painting by Francesco Clemente

Carlos Basualdo is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Among the exhibitions that he has organized at the Museum are: Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens, which represented the United States at the 2009 Venice Biennale; a survey exhibition of Michelangelo Pistoletto in 2010, which was a collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and MAXXI; Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp (with Erica F. Battle); and Embracing the Contemporary: The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection.

Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, curator, and critic. He earned his BA from the University of Chicago and his MA from Oxford University. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Broadway for Paul (2020), Southness (2016), Swimming Home (2015), Rapid Departures (2005), Understanding Objects (2000), and Cabal of Zealots (1988). He is also co-author of Fantastic Caryatids (2017), a collaboration with Anne Waldman. (Read more here:

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.