The New Social Environment#584

The Temptation to Exist: Alfredo Jaar

Featuring Jaar and David Levi Strauss


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist Alfredo Jaar joins Rail Consulting Editor David Levi Strauss for a conversation. We conclude with poetry reading by Samuel Breslin.

In this talk

Visit Alfredo Jaar: The Temptation to Exist, on view at Galerie Lelong through June 25, 2022 →

Alfredo Jaar

A portrait of art Alfredo Jaar by Phong H. Bui.
Portrait by Phong H. Bui
Artist, architect, and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar uses photography, sculpture, and film to consistently provoke, question, and search for ways to heighten our consciousness about issues often forgotten or suppressed in the international sphere, while not relinquishing art’s formal and aesthetic power. Over his career, Jaar has explored political and social issues including genocide, the displacement of refugees across borders, and the balance of power between developing and industrialized nations. In 2019, the artist was awarded the 11th Hiroshima Art Prize for his contributions throughout his career to peace construction. An ongoing exhibition Alfredo Jaar: The Structure of Images, is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago through July 3, 2022.

David Levi Strauss

This is a pencil drawn portrait of Writer David Levi Strauss with a shaded black background, drawn by the Rail’s publisher Phong Bui.
Portrait by Phong H. Bui
One of the most urgent and critical art writers working today, David Levi Strauss’s work focuses on the intersection between image and text, and the third space that is created through that interaction. He is the author of Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics (Aperture, 2012), Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography (Aperture, 2014), and other books. His latest work is Co-Illusion: Dispatches from the End of Communication (MIT Press, 2020) exposing a new ‘iconopolitics’ in which words and images lose their connection to reality.⁠

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

Samuel Breslin

A photo of [Samuel Breslin] wearing a blue t shirt, glasses, outside of a window, in front of a summer green tree and a blue sky.
Poet and carpenter Samuel Breslin is author of two self-published chapbooks: Parts of the Passion and Poems about Poland for Americans. He is a co-founder and curator of Light Field, an experimental film festival held annually in San Francisco, and recently received an MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. He is now living in Queens, New York, working on a currently untitled book-length manuscript of fiction, selections of which can be found at

❤️ 🌈 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.