The New Social Environment#811

David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor

Featuring Michael Brenson and David Levi Strauss, with Paul Ebenkamp


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Art critic Michael Brenson joins Rail Consulting Editor David Levi Strauss for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Paul Ebenkamp.

In this talk

Get your copy of David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor by Michael Brenson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2022) →

Michael Brenson

Photo of Michael Brenson
Photo by David Lackey
Art critic, scholar, and curator Michael Brenson was an art critic for The New York Times and has curated exhibitions at MoMA PS1 and the SculptureCenter. He has been a Getty scholar, Guggenheim Fellow, Bogliasco Fellow, and Clark Fellow. For many years he was a member of the sculpture faculty in Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and a Visiting Senior Critic in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design’s Department of Fine Arts. His biography of David Smith, David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in October 2022. He is the artistic director of the Jonathan and Barbara Silver Foundation.

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 Paul Ebenkamp reading.

Paul Ebenkamp

Photo of Paul Ebenkamp
Paul Ebenkamp is author of The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015), Parallel Realism (Despite Editions, 2017) and Late Hiss (Desert Pavilion, 2021). With Andrew Kenower he hosts the Woolsey Heights reading series from their home in Berkeley CA. He occasionally releases music under the name Position. Regular Acid Consciousness, a handhewn xeroxed long serial poem published on a clipboard, is forthcoming from Despite Editions (write to if you want a copy). The Bottom-Right Corner of All Things, a pdf of visual art, is forthcoming from Compline 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.