The New Social Environment#150

Sean Scully with David Carrier and Deborah Solomon


12 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Pacific

Painter Sean Scully will be in conversation with Rail Editor-at-Large David Carrier and WNYC art critic Deborah Solomon. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Matthew Rohrer.

In this talk

Please note that this event will begin at 12pm (ET), rather than our regular 1pm start time.

Sean Scully

Sean Scully portrait drawing
Portrait drawing of Sean Scully by Phong H. Bui

Sean Scully was born in Dublin in 1945, and grew up in the south of London, where his family moved in 1949. He began painting in the late 1960s, and moved to New York City in 1975; he became an American citizen in 1983. Scully has shown extensively, both nationally and internationally, including, most recently, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, England, the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut, the National Gallery of Art in London and San Giorgio Maggiore for the Venice Biennale, Upcoming solo exhibitions include the Albertina, Vienna, and in 2020 a major retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Sean Scully is known for rich, painterly abstractions in which stripes or blocks of layered color are a prevailing motif. The delineated geometry of his work provides structure for an expressive, physical rendering of color, light, and texture. Scully’s simplification of his compositions and use of repetitive forms—squares, rectangles, bands—echoes architectural motifs (doors, windows, walls) and in this way appeals to a universal understanding and temporal navigation of the picture plane. However, the intimacy of Scully’s process, in which he layers and manipulates paint with varying brushstrokes and sensibilities, results in a highly sensual and tactile materiality. His colors and their interactions, often subtly harmonized, elicit profound emotional associations. Scully does not shy away from Romantic ideals and the potential for personal revelation. He strives to combine, as he has said, “intimacy with monumentality.”

David Carrier

Picture of David Carrier
David Carrier, a former professor of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University and Champney Family Professor in Cleveland, has been Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Class of 1932 Fellow in Philosophy, Princeton University; a Getty Scholar; and a Clark Fellow. He has lectured in China, Europe, India, Japan, New Zealand and North America. In Spring, 2009 he was a Fulbright-Luce Lecturer in Beijing, and he lectured also in Taiwan. His recent books include A World Art History and its Objects (Penn State. 2008) and Proust/Warhol: Analytical Philosophy of Art(Peter Lang. 2008). He has published catalogue essays for many museums and art criticism for Apollo, art critical, Artforum, Artus and Burlington Magazine. And he has been a guest editor for Brooklyn Rail.

Deborah Solomon

Deborah Solomon
Deborah Solomon is the art critic for WNYC. Her reviews appear on Morning Edition and The Brian Lehrer Show. Solomon is a longtime contributor to The New York Times, and she is also a prize-winning biographer. Her books include Jackson Pollock: A Biography and Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell. She is currently writing a biography of the artist Jasper Johns. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, Kent Sepkowitz, and their corgi, Belle, a frequent visitor to the American Museum of Natural History dog run.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Matthew Rohrer reading.

Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer
Matthew Rohrer is the author of 10 books of poetry, most recently THE SKY CONTAINS THE PLANS, and THE OTHERS. He has participated in residencies at MoMA and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, and his poems have been widely anthologized. He teaches at NYU.

❤️ 🌈 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.