The New Social Environment#700

Alchemy, the Metaphysical, and Psychic Automatism

Featuring Ann McCoy, Olga Spiegel, MM Serra, and Andrew Woolbright, with Bianca Rae Messinger


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Rail Editor-at-Large Ann McCoy, artist Olga Spiegel, and filmmaker MM Serra join Rail contributor Andrew Woolbright for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Bianca Rae Messinger.

In this talk

Visit Ann McCoy, Paulina Peavy and Olga Spiegel, on view at Andrew Edlin Gallery through December 3, 2022 →

Ann McCoy

Portrait drawing of Ann McCoy
Portrait by Phong H. Bui
New York-based sculptor, painter, and art critic Ann McCoy is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. She lectured at the Yale School of Drama for 10 years, and taught in the Art History Department at Barnard College for 20 years. Ann’s work is included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. In 2019, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Ann McCoy worked with Prof. C.A. Meier, Jung’s heir apparent for twenty-five years in Zurich. She has studied alchemy since the early seventies in Zurich and in Rome at the Vatican Library.

Olga Spiegel

Photo of Olga Spiegel
Artist Olga Spiegel was born in France while her family was in hiding after fleeing Belgium during the war. She moved to New York City in 1964. Nurtured by psychedelic art, surrealism and science fiction, Spiegel has created a unique visual language where she can present, in her words, “…spaces of wonder that point to ever changing notions of the Universe and our sense of Being….” Spiegel studied briefly at the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Brussels before enrolling at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London from 1962 to 1964. Her work has been exhibited widely, most recently in the New York-based group shows Field Trip: Psychedelic Solution, 1986-1995 at the Outsider Art Fair and Psychedelic Landscape at Eric Firestone Gallery.

MM Serra

A headshot of MM Serra.
Experimental filmmaker, curator, author, and educator MM Serra is the Executive Director of The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, the oldest and largest archive of independent media in the world. She has created over 30 films, and the first five were preserved and digitized by the Anthology Film Archives Preservation series Re-Visions: American Experimental Film 1975-1990. Awards include a 2016 grant from the New York Council for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. Her writings have appeared in Framework Journal, Millennium Film Journal and other publications, and her films have been presented at many screenings and events around the world. Serra lives and works in New York, where she continues to curate programs, make films, and create community.

Andrew Woolbright

Andrew Woolbright
Artist, curator, and critic Andrew Woolbright is based in Brooklyn, New York, and is an MFA graduate from RISD in painting. Woolbright is the founder and director of the gallery Below Grand located on the Lower East Side in New York. In addition to curating, he is an Editor-at-Large at the Brooklyn Rail. In 2021, Woolbright curated the show Density Betrays Us with Angela Dufresne and Cash Ragona at the Hole; and curated shows at Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and Hesse Flatow in the summer or 2022. He currently teaches at School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute and is a 2021-2022 resident at the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program in Dumbo.

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

Bianca Rae Messinger

Photograph of Bianca Rae Messinger
A poet and translator living and working in Buffalo, NY, Bianca Rae Messinger is the author of the long poem The Land Was V There (Poetry Will Be Made By All, 2014) and the chapbook, “The Love of God” (Inpatient Press, 2016). Her chapbook “parallel bars” was the winner of the 2021 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize. Her translations of South American authors have been published for the Berlin Biennale, Monster House Press, among others. She writes for ramona (Buenos Aires).

❤️ 🌈 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.