The New Social Environment#73

Michael Armitage with Toby Kamps


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Painter Michael Armitage will discuss their work and creative life in the context of our new social reality with Toby Kamps, Editor-At-Large of the Brooklyn Rail. The event will conclude with a reading by poet Rindon Johnson.

Photo of Michael Armitage in front of his paintings

Michael Armitage was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya and lives and works in London. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2007) and has a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2010). His paintings weave multiple narratives that are drawn from historical and current news media, internet gossip, and his own ongoing recollections of Kenya, his country of birth. The visual iconography of East Africa lies at the heart of his practice: its urban and rural landscape, colonial and modern vernacular architecture, advertising hoardings, lush vegetation and varied animal life. Undermining this rich colour palette and dream-like imagery, however, is a quiet exposition of Kenya’s sometimes harsh reality: its politics, social inequalities, violence and extreme disparities in wealth. In turn, Armitage reflects on the more absurd aspects of the everyday, commenting on both society and the surrounding natural environment – evoked with a lyrical and phantasmagorical vision.

Portrait drawing of Toby Kamps by Phong Bui
Portrait of Toby Kamps by Phong Bui

Toby Kamps is former director of Blaffer Museum of Art, and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection. He is now the director of external projects at White Cube Gallery and is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail.

For a full list of Toby’s contributions to the Rail visit

A headshot of the poet Rin Johnson

Rindon Johnson is an artist and writer. He is the author of Nobody Sleeps Better Than White People (Inpatient, 2016), the VR book, Meet in the Corner (Publishing-House.Me, 2017) and Shade the King (Capricious, 2017). He lives in Berlin where he is an Associate Fellow at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He studies VR.

❤️ 🌈 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.