Friday, December 8, 2023


“Strong people alone know how to organize their suffering so as to bear only the most necessary pain.” -Emil Dorian

If you are reading this, you are strong. If you are reading this, you have allowed yourself a moment away from the chaos of our present moment, a moment to reflect on something other than a news cycle of endless catastrophe and uncertainty. It takes strength to stand up in the face of such swirling madness and say that right now is not the time to dwell – right now is not the time to fear and freeze – to say you will carry on with those things that bring you joy and inform the other aspects of the mind. It takes strength to nourish the mind and fuel hope in a time when we have all been forced to stop awhile.

Suzan Shutan lives in Connecticut where she has spent the majority of the year – as the rest of us have – isolating due to COVID-19. Shutan has faced the disappointment and uncertainty of cancelled and postponed shows and the fallout of illness among stakeholders at places where she had planned exhibitions. Most recently, Shutan curated a show at Hampton Gallery at UMass. Titled Materialized, the show featured work by artists who are motivated by the materials they work with. For example, an artist may be motivated to create by a specific kind of paint or pigment – the sheer alchemy of these materials can shape their work. In her own work, Shutan primarily works with tar roofing paper and pom poms and tends to color code to give meaning to various aspects of her work. To hear more about Suzan Shutan’s curatorial work and her own practice, listen to the complete interview.

Milena Dragićević Šešić spoke to us from Belgrade where she had been for the last six months – an unusual timeline for someone who is a nearly constant traveler. While at home, her work habits have been a bit different in that she has been engaged in desk research rather than field research, though there are virtual components that allow her to “visit” places without leaving the safety of home. Dragićević Šešić is involved in two research projects at the moment, one as part of a cultural diplomacy project initiated by the EU cultural centers. She has been involved with this project since 2016 and works with colleagues from around the world as representative for the Western Balkan countries. Another project, also collaborative, looks at the impact of the pandemic on ways of operating among cultural institutions – particularly museums and theaters. To hear more about Milena Dragićević Šešić’s complex and exciting research work, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

You are stronger than you know – more able to stand up again and again than you could ever imagine.

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 here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Suzan Shutan has a stack of books waiting to be read but recently read Art at the Turn of the Millennium edited by Burkhard Reimschneider, Uta Grosenick, et al.


Phoebe Journal is seeking submissions for its 50th issue. In general they favor work that illustrates a narrative or creates an emotion as they believe in the importance of both visual and textual storytelling. Familiarize yourself with artwork that has been previously selected before deciding whether Phoebe is right for you. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is October 15.



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