Join me at The Brooklyn Rail Silent Art Auction, hosted by Pace Wildenstein, on September 5, from 6-9pm, where you can bid on my painting (at left, see details below), as well as many other extraordinary pieces donated by well-regarded artworld bigs, including local favorites Chris Martin, James Siena, Amy Sillman, and Joe Amrhein. The impressive list of contributors confirms the arts community’s steadfast support for this monthly, non-profit, artist-run journal.
According to publisher Phong Bui, the Rail was named by the playwright (and first Rail theater editor) Emily Devoti in the fall of 1998. It was initially created as a weekly pamphlet for L-train riders, a Xeroxed broadsheet folded in half, with slanted opinions printed in four columns on the front and back. During the planning of the new publication, the four original editors, Ted (Theodore) Hamm, Joe Maggio, Christian Viveros-Fauné and Patrick Walsh (all of whom he met at The Brooklyn Ale House), invited Phong to write art criticism. Eventually they asked him to help shape the editorial content of the journal. He was reluctant to contribute so much time and energy to an activity that might interfere with his own ambition as an artist, but they were such passionate and knowledgeable individuals, and the Rail was becoming such a singular critical voice in the arts, politics, and the world in general, that he soon found himself envisioning a “Promised Land” where artists and writers could meet, share ideas and collaborate, as they used to years ago.
The Rail’s senior editors seek to avoid the predictability that comes with any overarching aesthetic or bias, and section editors are free to control the content of their respective domains as they see fit. But all value experimentation over complacency, and lucidity over jargon. As Rail film editor Jonas Mekas said in his “Anti–100 Years of Cinema Manifesto,” in times when everybody wants to succeed and sell, we should celebrate those who embrace social and daily failure to pursue the invisible, the personal things that bring no money and bread and make no contemporary history, art history or any other history. We must make art for each other, as friends.
Sharon Butler, “Untitled, 11,” 2007, oil on canvasboard, 18″ x 24.” This painting is one of a 34-panel series which is the subject of a new artist book, The Tower Paintings: Keeping Our Distance. The book, which includes one of my essays and images of all 34 paintings, is in the final proofing stage and will be available in late September.
“The Brooklyn Rail Two-Day Silent Art Auction,” organized by Phong Bui, James Siena, and countless others. Pace Wildenstein, 534 West 25th Street, New York, NY. September 4: Viewing 12-6pm, September 5: Viewing 12-6pm, Silent Auction 6-9 pm. See you there.