Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tear it all Down

“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us…It was all about letting go of everything.” -Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

What does it mean to seek annihilation? I suppose that could look different to different people. For some, it may mean actual self-destruction and harm, which is inevitably a cry for change. But often, this can mean simply leaning into the things in life that terrify us, embracing the uncertainty and refusing to break gaze first. Acceptance, perhaps, of who we are and what our particular struggles happen to be. The willingness and courage to embrace them rather than fight against them with distractions. This can be revolutionary behavior in our modern times.

Ricky Armendariz sat down to discuss his recent exhibition, The Gods Wait to Delight in You, which ran until April 19 at Ruiz-Healy Art. The title comes from the poem The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski. As a kid, Armendariz was drawn to his works and the work of others, which seemed to encapsulate the view of the underdog. To learn more, listen to the complete interview.

Natasza Niedziółka joined us to talk about her first big show at Sean Kelly Gallery, 273 Days. The title references the number of days between her first meeting with Sean Kelly when they invited her to do an exhibition and opening day on March 15, 2024. During that period, she worked almost every day on the pieces for the show, which are a mix of drawing, painting and fabric arts. To learn more, listen to the complete interview.

A few words to keep in your pocket

Perhaps annihilation can be a good thing…


Join me at Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android, please click here. All weekly essay pieces are here in a shareable format. The full archive of interviews is here.

More books to read

Ours is a community of readers. Tell us what books you’re reading now by adding your titles to our reading list here. Praxis member Jane Freeman is reading The Golden Bowl by Henry James, having just finished his work The Ambassadors with plans to re-read The Wings of the Dove next.


The Lumen Prize, now in its 14th year, has awarded over $100K in prizes, fostering global artist opportunities. Partnering with Lumen Studio, the Lumen Prize works to orchestrate exhibitions, commissions, and events worldwide. For more information, visit the website. Deadline is May 25.


Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics and is currently faculty at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He has written seven books for artists, including Making it in the Art World. His seventh book, The Problems in the Art World: An Artist’s A-Z Action Guide, is available now. 


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