The New Social Environment#175

A Conversation on Frank Auerbach with Catherine Lampert, Jim Lewis, and Phong H. Bui


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Curator and art historian Catherine Lampert and writer and novelist Jim Lewis will join the Rail’s publisher and artistic director Phong H. Bui for a conversation on Frank Auerbach. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Alicia Ostriker.

In this talk

Luhring Augustine Chelsea is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Frank Auerbach’s paintings and drawings, celebrating the mature career of a singular artist. Spanning from the late 1970s to recent works, the selection of his portraits and landscapes on view underscore Auerbach’s great achievements in painting in the post-war era. The first show of his work in New York of this scale since 2006, the exhibition will be on view through February 20, 2021 and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Auerbach’s work exists outside of any specific period or style. Employing an energetic impasto technique to render his subjects, he creates figurative paintings through an intensive daily regimen. The exhibition highlights portraits of a group of his devoted sitters, some of whom he has been painting since the 1970s and still pose for him regularly today. The paintings are often the result of months of labor: at the end of a day of work, he will frequently scrape down the entire surface of the piece in order to start anew in his next attempt; each rejected endeavor a pursuit toward the final expression. The landscape paintings are derived from sketches Auerbach makes in locations close to Mornington Crescent in Camden Town, London, the area near the studio where he has worked since 1954. With his distinct idiom Auerbach imagines the quotidian scenes of parks, streets, and buildings around his familiar neighborhood.

To view the exhibition, go to:

Catherine Lampert

Catherine Lampert

Catherine Lampert is an independent British curator and art historian. She organized numerous exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery 1974-88 and at the Whitechapel Gallery, where she was director from 1988 to 2001. Lately she has initiated exhibitions that include Rodin for the Royal Academy of Arts, London 2006 and Kunsthaus Zurich 2007, and Honoré Daumier, Royal Academy, 2013; Miquel Barceló, Caixa Forum Madrid and Barcelona, 2009, Francis Alÿs. Le temps du sommeil, Dublin 2009, Anish Kapoor, MUAC, Mexico 2016 and Paula Rego, Obedience and Defiance at Milton Keynes Gallery 2019, and tour to Edinburgh and Dublin. She co-curated “Bare Life,” 2014, an exhibition of postwar British figurative painting at the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster. Lampert, curator of four major Lucian Freud exhibitions, including the Whitechapel, Metropolitan and Reina Sofia 1993-94, is currently working on the catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings.

Since 1978 Lampert has been one of Frank Auerbach’s sitters and has curated exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy 2001 and the Kunstmuseum Bonn 2015 and Tate Britain 2015-16.

Jim Lewis

Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis’ fourth novel, Ghosts of New York, will be published early next year. Along with his fiction, he’s written essays for dozens of museum and gallery catalogs, and essays and reportage, on everything from art, ballet and perfume, to war, prison reform and refugee policy, for many magazines, among them, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Granta.

Phong H. Bui

Photo of Phong Bui taken by Nicola Delorme
Photo by Nicola Delorme
Phong H. 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 Alicia Ostriker reading.

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker smiles, wearing a striped scarf.
Miguel Pagliere
Alicia Ostriker is a major American poet and critic. Her most recent collections of poems are Waiting for the Light and The Volcano and After: Selected and New Poems 2002-2019. She is currently the New York State Poet Laureate and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

❤️ 🌈 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.