Friday, December 8, 2023


“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” -Jean-Paul Sartre

Freedom as a condemnation, as a sentence which we must all carry out – this is perhaps not the way in which we typically consider our ability to move about the world as we please. There is a weight of responsibility to our freedom, one that is often overlooked as we pursue ever more independence, desiring to break free of the humanity that binds us and exert our own power. There is an inherent necessity to be free responsibly lest our freedom impinges on that of others.

An-My Lê spoke to us in early July. She had just opened đô-mi-nô at Marian Goodman Gallery, which runs until August 20, 2021. Her older series, 29 Palms, is a series of photos of U.S. Marines training in the California high desert in preparation at the start of the war with Iraq in 2002. A self-described landscape photographer, An-My Lê says that the landscape itself is as important in the photos as the subjects therein. Through her photography, she engages with notions of the past, present and future. To do this she describes as much detail as possible in her prints using a large-format camera and 5×7″ negatives. To hear more about her process and work, including her current show at Marian Goodman, listen to the complete interview.

Kevin O’Brien spoke to us from Brisbane, Australia on Tuesday, July 8, although in Brisbane it was already Wednesday, July 9. When we spoke, Australia was in lockdown due to COVID cases. An architect, O’Brien is busy with multiple projects. He is collaborating with architects from New York on a tower for Atlassian in Sydney as well as working on research for the University of Sydney. O’Brien also works in theatrical design and as an artist in his own right designing sets and creating his own installation projects. One such installation project for the Queensland Bleach Festival is comprised of 3-D printed shrouds. The inspiration for this project came from a 2005 project in which O’Brien was challenged to consider what he would remove from the city rather than add to it. He decided that he would remove parts of the city to reveal the concept of Country – read more about it here. And to hear more from Kevin O’Brien himself, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Freedom is a right, a privilege, and perhaps in its way a burden.

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. An-My Lê is reading Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty by Ben Ratliff. Keven O’Brien is working his way through Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre by Walter Kaufmann.


Aesthetica Magazine is accepting submissions for the 2022 Aesthetica Art Prize. They focus on artists whose work demonstrates innovation and creativity. There are cash prizes as well as a group exhibition and publication in an anthology. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is August 31.

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.



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