The New Social Environment#616

Rail Curatorial Projects: Singing in Unison

featuring Phong H. Bui, Frank Maresca, Tamara Gonzales, Brian Belott, Sam Messer, EJ Hauser, Vera Lutter, and Lyle Rexer


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Curator Phong H. Bui, gallerist Frank Maresca, and contributing artists Brian Belott, Tamara Gonzales, Sam Messer, EJ Hauser, and Vera Lutter, join Rail Contributor Lyle Rexer for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Carla Harryman.

In this talk

More on Singing in Unison: Artists Need to Create On the Same Scale That Society Has the Capacity to Destroy

Phong H. Bui

Photo of Phong Bui taken by Nicola Delorme
Photo by Nicola Delorme
Artist, writer, and independent curator Phong H. Bui is Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail, the River Rail, Rail Editions, and Rail Curatorial Projects. Among many other awards, Bui received The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Prize for Arts Writers in 2017, was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from University of the Arts in 2020, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts in 2021.

Frank Maresca

An image of Frank Maresca.
American art dealer Frank Maresca is co-founder of Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York City. A long-term advocate of Self-Taught, Folk, and Outsider Art, he has championed and showcased the work of artists creating on the margins of the art-historical mainstream for over 35 years. Through many gallery exhibits, museum collaborations, philanthropic work, and key publications (including American Primitive, 1988, Bill Traylor: His Art, His Life, 1991, American Self-Taught, 1993, and American Vernacular, 2002), Maresca has sought to blur the lines that have traditionally separated conventional categories in visual art and vernacular art. He is currently on the advisory board of Raw Vision Magazine, Fountain House Gallery, Intuit in Chicago, and the Art Dealers Association of America.

Brian Belott

Portrait of Brian Belott balancing an apple on his fingers
Artist, curator, performer, and publisher Brian Belott is based in Brooklyn, New York. His work playfully situates dissimilar objects, ideas and found oddities alongside one another in order to see what they might create. Belott’s work has been exhibited at institutions in New York including the Whitney Museum of American Art (2019); and The Jewish Museum (2015); as well as elsewhere and internationally at COBRA Museum, Amstelveen (2018); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2018); The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield (2018); and MoCAD, Detroit (2017). He is the lead archivist of the Rhoda Kellogg International Child Art Collection, and a lifelong collector of child art.

Tamara Gonzales

A photo of artist Tamara Gonzales.
Artist Tamara Gonzales works with a variety of painted patterned motifs both in figuration and abstraction. Textiles and nature often inspire her works, while others are created through her own generative mark-making on paper or canvas. Over the last ten years Gonzales’ travels to Peru, and her visionary experiences and friendships with the Shipibo people have become a source of both inspiration and collaboration in her work. Working in her studio in Brooklyn and upstate New York, Gonzales develops her own visual language, resulting in a wonderful mixture of exuberant color, energetic line, and archetypal imagery.

Sam Messer

A portrait of Sam Messer.
Portrait by Phong H. Bui
Artist Sam Messer received a BFA. from Cooper Union in 1976 and an MFA. from Yale University in 1982. Mr. Messer has received awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant in 1984, the Engelhard Award in 1985, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 1993, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996. He most recently collaborated with the poet Sharon Olds on a print project, and past collaborations include working with Paul Auster on The Story of My Typewriter, and with Denis Johnson on Cloud of Chalk. Sam’s recent solo exhibition I Sing To You was on view in Athens, Greece at the Allouche-Benias Gallery.

EJ Hauser

EJ Hauser
Painter EJ Hauser lives and works in Brooklyn and is represented by Derek Eller Gallery and Philipp Haverkampf Gallery. Her paintings are graphic yet open to interpretation, teetering between iconography and something familiar but abstract. This imagery shifts between omnivorous references both ancient and current, her paintings are mysterious talisman, employing buzzing pallets and marks that dance. Stuttering lines form a visual code like musical notes, which coalesce with atmospheric layers to create ineffable messages. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions in New York and in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Frieze, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. EJ is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Columbia University in the Graduate Department.

Vera Lutter

Photo of Vera Lutter
While she has gained international recognition for her uniquely produced camera obscura images of industrial and architectural sites around the world, Vera Lutter continues to feature New York City as a recurring subject in her practice. In addition to her work with the camera obscura, she has made video work that focuses on how light and sound articulate time’s passing. Her work has been published in Art Forum, BOMB, and other publications, as well as many books on contemporary art. Lutter has received several awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2002) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2001). In early 2017 Lutter was announced as LACMA’s first artist in residence.

Lyle Rexer

Lyle Rexer
Photo by Jerry Spagnoli
Independent critic, curator, and writer Lyle Rexer is the author of The Critical Eye: 15 Pictures to Understand Photography (Intellect Ltd 2019), The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography (Aperture 2009), and Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes, (Harry N. Abrams 2002) and others. He has published hundreds of catalog essays and articles on art, architecture, and photography and contributed to such publications as The New York Times, Harper’s, Art in America, among others. He has lectured at many institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yale University, among others, and he teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at SVA.

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

Carla Harryman

Black and white photo of Carla Harryman looking out a window
Poet Carla Harryman is the author of twenty-five books of poetry, prose, and performance writing. Recent publications include Cloud Cantata (Pamenar, 2022) Sue in Berlin and Sue á Berlin (PURH, 2017) and the play “Good Morning,” which appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. A recent interview on an early performance of Celia Thaew-Zukofsky’s and Louis Zukofsky’s “A-24” was published in the open source journal Transatlantica. She lives in the Detroit Metro Area and serves on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University.

❤️ 🌈 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.