The New Social Environment#214

Tishan Hsu with Martha Schwendener


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist Tishan Hsu joins art critic Martha Schwendener for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading from Maggie Dubris.

In this talk

Tishan Hsu

Tishan Hsu
Since the mid-1980s, Tishan Hsu’s prescient artistic practice has been probing the cognitive as well as physical affects of transformative technological advances on our lives. Through the use of unusual materials, software tools, and innovative fabrication techniques, his enigmatic paintings and sculptures explore and manifest poetic new ways to engage and reimagine the interface between an organic body and technology. Since the late-1980s and 90s, Hsu has been making the majority of his paintings on canvas using a silkscreen process to fuse images from scanned pastel drawings of organic skin with appropriated biomedical images, and other parts of human, animal and technological bodies. The scale of these works is such that the dot matrix of the silkscreen is markedly legible, conveying an affect of the digital. In the early 2000s, Hsu explored the use of digital printing on canvas as well as interactive installations using video processed projections with motion-sensor technology activated by the body. His most recent paintings, further, almost announce their techno-mediation through an evident digital reproducibility fused with the material affect of pigmented medium. Various re-engaged motifs from his visual vocabulary are now warped and morphing into hardware and screens and become part of a larger corporeal entity.

Martha Schwendener

Photo of Martha Schwendener
Martha Schwendener is an art critic for The New York Times. Her criticism has been published in Artforum, Bookforum, Art in America, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers,, New Art Examiner,, Time Out New York, Flash Art, Afterimage, October, Paper Monument and other publications. She received a BA in art history in 1989 from Columbia University and an MA in fiction in 2000 from the University of Texas at Austin. She has taught at Hunter College, the School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), the University of Texas at Austin, Rhode Island Island School of Design, Pratt Institute, and New York University.

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

Maggie Dubris

Maggie Dubris
An NYC-based writer and sound artist. She worked for 25 years as a paramedic which inspired her most recent book BrokeDown Palace. Among other projects, she’s currently working on an opera called Broke. She also does underwater field recording in the parks and rivers of the city.

❤️ 🌈 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.