Art and Politics:

Dominique Nahas, Margaret Evangeline, Jonathan Goodman, Lily Wei

Wednesday 20 March, 2013
6 - 8pm, $0

New York Public Library, Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42 Street, South Court Auditorium

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Artist Margaret Evangeline, poet and art writer Jonathan Goodman, art critic Dominique Nahas and curator Lily Wei discuss art’s potential to mirror social issues without subverting the aesthetic nature of artmaking. Under discussion is Evangeline’s work Sabachthani, reflective of concerns around her son’s third deployment in Iraq in light of Simone Weill’s 1940 essay “The Iliad or the Poem of Force.” Evangeline’s Southern heritage and exposure to its gun culture has shaped her artistic practice that incorporates gunshot markings on stainless steel canvases that she describes as “painting without paint.” Goodman reads three poems he contributes to Sabachthani addressing love, loss, and war.

On May 1, 2012, artist Margaret Evangeline heard President Obama’s speech broadcast live from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan projecting the end of a ten-year war. She listened with mixed reaction, as for her the sense of jeopardy and urgency shared by families of serving soldiers was lacking in America’s national collective consciousness. The Obama speech sealed Evangeline’s resolve to finish a personal project that she started in 2011 to relieve the constant emotional challenge of her concern for her eldest son Michael, who was in his third deployment to Iraq. The project is a collaboration that linked Evangeline to soldiers on the military outpost, Balad, in Afghanistan. The work, completed in 2011, is unveiled in her new monograph Sabachthani: Why Have You Forsaken Me? (Charta 2012). This deeply personal and emotional work in two parts (The Stations and The Chorus) combines the artist’s signature gunshot markings on stainless steel with poetry and iconic press images of the 1960s.

Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing at the event after audience Q&A.

New York-based, Louisiana-born artist Margaret Evangeline has long experimented with aesthetically resistant material. Her primal battering of form result in a surprisingly feminine voice, attuned to simplicity at the service of complex social and psychic concerns. She is perhaps best known for her use of gunshot and mirror polished stainless steel. Evangeline’s work is widely collected and discussed in the press. Her paintings are in numerous museum collections including New Orleans Museum of Art, Knoxville Art Museum, Rose Art Museum, CU Boulder Art Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Tucson Museum of Art, Hilliard Museum, and Tennessee State Museum.

Dominique Nahas is an independent curator and critic based in New York City. His articles and reviews have appeared in Art in America, ARTnews, Flash Art, and Sculpture, among many other notable publications. Trained as an art historian and curator, Nahas has organized numerous museum and gallery exhibitions, including the first American retrospectives of conceptualist Les Levine and feminist Nancy Spero. He teaches critical studies at the Pratt Institute, and is a Critique Faculty member of the New York Studio Residency Program. His most recent monograph, The Worlds of Hunt Slonem (Vendome Press) was published in November 2011.

Jonathan Goodman is a poet and art writer based in New York City where he teaches at Pratt Institute. The recipient of two grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, he published his first collection of poems, Metropolitan Rooms, in 1994. He is currently working on a second manuscript, intended to be a gathering of selected poems with an emphasis on recent writing. As an art writer, Goodman has contributed to Art in America, Sculpture, and Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator, essayist and critic whose focus is contemporary art. She contributes to many publications in the United States and abroad. Wei writes regularly for Art in America, is a contributing editor at ARTnews and a former contributing editor at Art Asia Pacific. She frequently reports on international biennials and exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta. An exhibition she is co-curating on contemporary Israeli photographers and video artists for the Neuberger Museum of Art opens in August, 2013. Wei was born in Chengdu, China and has an MA in art history from Columbia University.

Conceived and organized by Arezoo Moseni, and in its fourth year, Art and Literature Series events bring forth pollinations across the literary and visual arts with readings and discussions by acclaimed artists and authors.

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