The New Social Environment#163

A Tribute to Christo and Jeanne-Claude


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Join us for a celebration of the life and work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude with Barbara Rose, Lorenza Giovanelli, and Mohammed Ibrahim Mahama, led by Jonathan Fineberg and Phong H. Bui. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading.

In this talk

Christo and Jeanne-Claude at The Gates, February 2005
Christo and Jeanne-Claude at The Gates, February 2005. Photo by Wolfgang Volz

Barbara Rose

Barbara Rose, portrait drawing
Portrait drawing of Barbara Rose by Phong H. Bui

Barbara Rose is an American art historian and critic who has published widely in the field of modern American art. Born in 1938 in Washington, DC, Rose studied at the Sorbonne, Smith College, Barnard, and finally, Columbia University under Meyer Schapiro. Rose became immersed in the New York-based circle of modernist artists and curators in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and made her substantial contribution to the discourse on contemporary art with the insider’s perspective this afforded her.

Rose taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence, University of California at Irvine and San Diego, and the American University Art in Italy program, and was senior curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1981-1985. A prolific writer, Rose is the author of American Art Since 1900(1967), The Golden Age of Dutch Painting (1969), American Painting: The 20th Century (Skira, 1969), and monographs on the artists Magdalena Abankawicz, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexander Liberman, Larry Rivers, and others, as well as dozens of exhibition catalog essays. She held editorial positions at Art in America, Vogue, Artforum, Partisan Review, and Journal of Art, and her writing has also appeared in Art International, Studio International, Arts Magazine, and ARTnews, among many others.

Lorenza Giovanelli

Lorenza Giovanelli with Christo
Lorenza Giovanelli with Christo
Lorenza Giovanelli (Brescia, Italy, 1990) studied History of Art at the Universià Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. She has a master’s degree in History of Contemporary Art and History of Architecture. From 2013 to 2015 she worked in museums and contemporary art galleries as collections’ registrar and assistant curator. In 2016 she was the office manager and press office assistant during Christo’s last major project The Floating Piers. In 2017 she joined Christo’s team in New York. Among the projects she curated for Christo there are “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba (1958-2018)”, exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2018), “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83. A Documentary Exhibition” at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida, USA (2018), “Christo: Femmes 1962-1968”, exhibition at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, Morocco (2019), and “Christo”, published by Cahiers d’Art in September 2020.

Ibrahim Mohammed Mahama

Ibrahim Mohammed Mahama
Photo by BLOOM, Courtesy of A Palazzo Gallery
Ibrahim Mahama was born in 1987 in Tamale, Ghana. He lives and works in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. Ibrahim Mahama uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalisation and economic exchange. Often made in collaboration with others, his large-scale installations employ materials gathered from urban environments, such as remnants of wood, or jute sacks which are stitched together and draped over architectural structures. Mahama’s interest in material, process and audience first led him to focus on jute sacks that are synonymous with the trade markets of Ghana where he lives and works. Fabricated in South East Asia, the sacks are imported by the Ghana Cocoa Boards to transport cocoa beans and eventually end up as multi-functional objects, used for the transportation of food, charcoal and other commodities. ‘You find different points of aesthetics within the surface of the sacks’ fabric’, Mahama has said. ‘I am interested in how crisis and failure are absorbed into this material with a strong reference to global transaction and how capitalist structures work.’

Jonathan Fineberg

Jonathan Fineberg, portrait drawing
Portrait drawing of Jonathan Fineberg by Phong H. Bui

Jonathan Fineberg is the program director of the PhD in Creativity program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is the author of Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being, the most widely read survey of postwar art, and co-creator (with John Carlin) of Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art, the award-winning PBS television documentary of 2005. Fineberg is also the author of some 30 books and catalogs on modern art, including: Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates (Yale & Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY); The Innocent Eye: Children’s Art and the Modern Artist (Princeton); When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child (University of California Press and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.); and more recently Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain (University of Nebraska Press, 2015).

He is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at University of Illinois and a trustee emeritus of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., where he was founding director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art. Fineberg has curated more than a dozen museum exhibitions, taught at Yale and Illinois, and served as a visitor at Harvard, Columbia, University of California and elsewhere.

Phong H. Bui

Photo of Phong Bui taken by Nicola Delorme
Photo by Nicola Delorme
Phong Bui is an artist, writer, independent curator, Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail, the River Rail, Rail Editions, and Rail Curatorial Projects. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Curatorial Advisor at MoMA PS1. His recent projects include Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, an ongoing curatorial project that was exhibited in 2019 as an official Collateral Event of the Venice Biennale and at Colby Museum in Waterville, Maine. He is a trustee of Studio in a School, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Anthology Film Archives, the Third Rail, the Miami Rail, Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Second Shift Studio Space of Saint Paul, AICA (2007-2020), and is co-founder of the Monira Foundation, a non-profit which aims to curate ongoing exhibitions and public programming at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City and beyond. Forthcoming projects include the Detroit Rail, the first U.S. retrospective of Jonas Mekas, and Occupy Industry City: Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, Year 3.

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

Michael Broder

A photo of poet Michael Broder, wearing a button up and glasses on his head, in front of a field of green grass.
Michael Broder is the author of “Drug and Disease Free” and “This Life Now.” He is the founding publisher of Indolent Books and the creator of the HIV Here & Now Project. Broder lives in Brooklyn with his husband, the poet Jason Schneiderman.

❤️ 🌈 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.