“To move from the oral to the written is to immobilise the body, to take control (to possess it).” -Édouard Glissant
Humans create records. It’s part and parcel of who we are – who we have always been. Once, we were storytellers who spoke our records to the gathered. From there, we moved into the written word, making marks to capture our past, present and future. All along, art remained the steady companion to our storytelling. Now, we capture life in so many ways. There are those who still speak their stories out loud, though few and far between perhaps, and those who write them down. We film and record, keeping ever more precise and lasting records of our actions as individuals, communities, society as a whole.
William Wegman joined us to speak about his show, William Wegman: Writing by Artist at Sperone Westwater, which runs until July 29. Wegman also has a book of the same title. We spoke in particular about his painting OMG 2021, which depicts an internet image (complete with arrows to click left or right) of a knocked-down condo building destroyed by a construction worker who not paid for his work. Wegman embedded some of the phrases the construction worker is reported to have exclaimed as he inflicted destruction on the building. To hear more about this work, Wegman’s show, book and more, listen to the complete interview.
Todd Gray is the recipient of the 2022 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, for which he will complete the prestigious residency in 2023. He also has a show coming up in August at David Lewis Gallery in East Hampton. For the exhibition, he will show The Atlantic Series, which is about the Atlantic slave trade. Gray had a studio in Ghana for 15 years, although he does not know whether any of his ancestors originated there. He does know that his forebearers were slaves from Africa and he has adopted Ghana as a home. He has been photographing slave trails, slave castles and the Atlantic Ocean, comparing those with photographs of things like imperial gardens in the European nations that ran and profited from the slave trade. To hear more about this series and more, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket
Capture your story in many ways to share it along the generations.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews is here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Learn more about Writing by Artist by William Wegman here. Todd Gray has been reading the work of Édouard Glissant
NYX Hotels Art Lives Here Residency is currently accepting applications from artists interested in spending a three-week residency at the hotel in the heart of Warsaw, Poland. Residents have access to studio space and will participate in an exhibition at the end of the residency period. For more information and to apply, visit the website – note that information is first in Polish, then in English further down the page. Deadline is July 7.
is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists, most recently Making it in the Art World.