The New Social Environment#694


Featuring german and Amber Jamilla Musser, with Yaz Lancaster


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist vanessa german joins Rail contributor Amber Jamilla Musser for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Yaz Lancaster.

In this talk

Visit vanessa german: THE RAREST BLACK WOMAN ON THE PLANET EARTH, on view at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum through May 28, 2023 →

vanessa german

Photo of Vanessa German
Photo by Joshua Franzos for Heinz Award
Artist vanessa german works across sculpture, performance, communal rituals, installation, and photography. Considered inextricable from her identity as an activist, german’s autodidactic artmaking has its lineage in indigenous and West African folk practices as well as Black Arts movements from the 1960s onwards to propose new models for social healing, utilizing creativity and tenderness as forces to reckon with the historical and ongoing catastrophes of white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and misogynoir. As she re-appropriates, re-conceptualizes, and resiliently transforms both her materials and the symbolic weight of her images, she occasions a transfiguration analogous to healing.

Amber Jamilla Musser

Photo of Amber Jamilla Musser
Dr. Amber Jamilla Musser is professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center. She writes about race, sexuality, and aesthetics. She is the author of Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU Press, 2014) and Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (NYU Press, 2018). She has an MSt in Women’s Studies from Oxford University and received her PhD in History of Science from Harvard University, and has held fellowships at New York University’s Draper Program in Gender Studies and Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. She also writes art criticism for the Brooklyn Rail.

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

Yaz Lancaster

A photo of Yaz Lancaster sitting on the ground in front of a yellow- leafed tree
Photo by Felix Walworth
Yaz Lancaster (they/them) is a Black transdisciplinary artist. They are most interested in practices aligned with relational aesthetics & the everyday; fragments & collage; and liberatory politics. Yaz performs as a violinist, vocalist & steel-pannist, and their work is presented in many mediums & collaborative projects. It often reckons with specific influences ranging from politics of liberation & identity to natural phenomena & poetics. Their ongoing independent studies navigates prison-industrial-complex abolition, Marxist theory, and internet/social media cultures. Their writing appears in various publications including I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, Afternoon Visitor, the tiny, and Underblong, where their poem “Ratios” was awarded the 2021 Blongprize, as well as a Pushcart nomination.

❤️ 🌈 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.