The New Social Environment#398

BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO: (“we are not what we seem”)

Featuring Stuart Comer, Rachel Federman, Laura Hoptman, and Constance Lewallen


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Curators Stuart Comer, Rachel Federman, and Laura Hoptman join Rail Editor-at-Large Constance Lewallen for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Rail Poetry Editor Anselm Berrigan.

In this talk

Visit the gallery’s website for more details on the exhibition »

Stuart Comer

A photographic portrait of the curator Stuart Comer. His arms are crossed and he is wearing a black blazer and shirt. He is standing in front of a plain white background.
Stuart Comer. © 2023 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Peter Ross
Stuart Comer is MoMA’s Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance. He oversees the collection and diverse program of exhibitions, events, and acquisitions for the Department of Media and Performance. He also leads the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, the Museum’s space dedicated to performance, music, sound, spoken word, and expanded approaches to the moving image. Some of his recent projects at MoMA have included Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen? (2021), and member: Pope.L, 1978–2001 (2019), among others. He is co-curator of Signals: Video and Electronic Democracy. Comer was co-curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2014 Biennial and he served as the first Curator of Film at Tate Modern, London, from 2004 to 2013.

Rachel Federman

A portrait of Rachel Federman
Curator Rachel Federman is Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at The Morgan Library & Museum. Before joining The Morgan in 2016, she was Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, where she helped organize the retrospective BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE. She also curated the museum’s inaugural galleries of California art. Since arriving at The Morgan, she has curated By Any Means: Contemporary Drawings from The Morgan (2019) and Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet (2019). She has published essays on Bruce Conner, Richard Diebenkorn, Paul McCarthy, Allen Ruppersberg, and Andy Warhol, among others. Rachel holds a PhD in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Laura Hoptman

A portrait of Laura Hoptman by M. Seck
Photo by M. Seck
Executive Director of the Drawing Center in New York Laura Hoptman has been a curator of contemporary art and a leading participant in the international art conversation for three decades. She joined the Drawing Center after eight years as a curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she began her career in the 1990s as a curator with a specialty in drawing. Among the dozens of exhibitions that Hoptman has curated are Drawing Now: Eight Propositions (2002) as well as The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World (2014). Hoptman has also curated several retrospectives by artists including Bruce Conner, Yayoi Kusama, Isa Genzken, Henry Taylor, and Elizabeth Peyton.

Constance Lewallen

Constance Lewallen
Curator and writer Constance Lewallen is Adjunct Curator at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, where she has curated many contemporary art exhibitions, including Ant Farm (1968-1978), 2004 (co-curated with Steve Seid), A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, 2007, and most recently co-curated Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and the End for the Manetti Shrem Museum at UC Davis. She is the author of 500 Capp Street: David Ireland’s House and co-author with Dore Bowen of Bruce Nauman: Spatial Encounters, both published by UC Press. She is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail.

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

Anselm Berrigan

Anselm Berrigan
Anselm Berrigan is the poetry editor for the Brooklyn Rail, and author of a number of books of poems, most recently Pregrets, from Black Square Editions.

❤️ 🌈 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.