This collection of essays came together as I asked perhaps a simple question. How do we recognize, honor, protect, and cultivate mentorship in contemporary art? This is an urgent question for all of us that wont fit in history books; we who make and write in a language that is not our own. Political, social, cultural, epistemological, systemic, violence has happened, is happening. The ground is shaking. Im not unique in this. Were surrounded by a world full of artists navigating this relation.
It pains you terribly to hear it. The word. It was dropped casually, as if of no importance. The moment it hit your ears, your heart got stoned. The immediate reaction was a full silence. It weighed on you as you turned mute. You wanted to throw it out, back to where it came from, but to no avail. All you could hear yourself uttering were some rasping throat sounds.
What a pain to hear a young woman cry, a thousand wishes gone. A child weeps for the father he has lost. These children did not choose where to be born. And yet, here we are. They are paying the biggest cost for this war of the world. To be witness to the explosion of a bomb in front of the girls school; one can never imagine. Their only crime was the desire to learn. This picture should be a source of shame for the world; it is a pure pain for us.
So, Rina, we share many differenceslike religionbetween us that draw us both to seeing the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, skirted by three rich, culture-bearing continents. So, I am thinking As an artist and citizen, what three social/cultural histories make most of the foundation of your actions and the objects/outcomes of your doing?
As inspiration, Ill focus on three subjects that you have been mentioning in the past years: music, revolution, and failure. Starting with music, I want to hear your thoughts on Nina Simones Flo Me La (1960). You have a painting from 20172018 that carries the same title. The three utterances Flo-Me-La become the whole lyrics for Nina Simone.
I entered Dorothea Rockburnes studio; I am an artist sitting in front of an artist I admire. I had never met her before. Yet, shes always been a mentor, even as I only knew her through her work.
The following narrative is made of conversation fragments stitched togetheran attempt to capture a day. This is how conversations often happen: hours pass, we talk about everything and nothing, our voices move in and out of focus. It was a Thursday, like many others. I start my day teaching a six-hour class. Rirkrit Tiravanija and Tomas Vu, collaborators and co-conspirators, began this conversation over a game of golf. Me and my voice recorder entered the scene long after the game ended. It took a few train rides and an uber to find the two deep in Long Island.
Alteronce Gumby is a painter of (be)dazzling abstractions. Painstakingly constructed from glass tesserae, his shaped paintings evoke drifts of cosmic dust. Imagine a confab between Alma Thomas, Jack Whitten and Howardina Pindell deep in the Hall of Gems. I first met Alteronce when he was an undergrad painter at Hunter College. His devotion to the monochrome and a kind of pure abstraction was striking even then. Gumby has spent the past decade developing a body of work that mines both the sensation and symbolism of color.
Towards the end of 2019, India witnessed massive protests that spread across the country. This was the first time in a hundred years that Indians had taken to the streets pervasively to protest the erasure of Islamic lifeworlds in India.
They and them being We-Me.They were sitting by the black chair, on the floorThere they were, with their legs stretched out and their marigold yellow shorts as consistent as the center of the fire that now sits next to this orange heart.The oceanic dusk to dawn linked by white shells, spiraling white moons
Can language solve our problems as young Black people, and if so, what form(s) of language?