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Gagosian Quarterly

Summer 2021 Issue

Social Works:Carrie Mae Weemsand Maya Phillips

A pairing of photography and poetry from “Social Works,” a supplement guest edited by Antwaun Sargent for the Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly.

Carrie Mae Weems, Lewitt’s Wall, 2006

Carrie Mae Weems, Lewitt’s Wall, 2006

Maya Phillips

Maya Phillips was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literary Review, At Length, the Baffler, boaat, the Gettysburg Review, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and others. Her second book, Nerd: On Navigating Heroes, Magic, and Fandom in the 21st Century, is forthcoming in the summer of 2022 from Atria Books. Photo: Molly Walsh

Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems is considered one of the most influential American artists working today. She investigates family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. Weems has received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships, including the Prix de Rome, the Alpert, Anonymous was a Woman, and a MacArthur “genius” grantPhoto: Rolex/Audoin Desforges

After Carrie Mae Weems’s Museums Series, 2006–

I’d like to be beautiful
Held by the attention of white walls and yet

I forget the statue of my body the artifact I am
Black and woman my survival is studied
A lesson I relearn every day of my life

I slip into the fabric of morning and already know
how the world will greet me
What a bold shoulder or taut bit
of cloth around the hips will invite in the imagination

Who asks admission into the rooms of my body

Art’s mercy divorces the artist from her image
her body’s exhibition
I’m saying not I but the subject is the woman is not I is the topic of discussion
That is to say I am only me when I’m found
in the mouth of another

What nomenclature will you give all my blackness
all my woman What will I represent

What other thing than the fact of myself
Every other thing than the fact of myself

Social Works: Carrie Mae Weems and Maya Phillips

Carrie Mae Weems, The British Museum, 2006


After Carrie Mae Weems’s Roaming Series, 2006


Have you ever thought how the sight of a woman
wandering faceless in a long dress
always looks like a haunting?

Where can I be both a woman and safe
from the horror of my image?

Through this and more I travel unaccompanied
fearsome—
through the scene and the square frame
Defiant! I am to command
the work’s focus and yet keep myself
private

To demand something of the gaze that makes
and remakes me a woman

I am
and again I am disturbing
the scene

The figure of a woman sharp
in all its weaponry itself
without footnote

I stand over the city over the sea in the middle of the street as though offering my body
as a challenge to the gods

I have never owned my own country

But here in the black and white
landscapes that bow around me I stand
something haunting and extraordinary an

interruption
in a black dress

I make myself known watch me becoming

If this thin slice of a world is all I’m granted
then I’ll keep it
and myself no I
won’t turn around

Social Works: Carrie Mae Weems and Maya Phillips

Carrie Mae Weems, Pyramids of Rome—Ancient Rome, 2006


After Carrie Mae Weems’s Kitchen Table Series, 1990


In the half-light half-lidded my mother
at the table in front of a vanity
mirror She is thorough
in her examination saying
Her dark skin is—

The falling light in the room a pause
in the middle of a sentence

You might call this twilight
if the inside of a room could own
a piece of sky There is something flightless
in my mother who complains of the cracks
in the ceiling powders herself with concealer traces
the suggestion of her eyebrows
with the fine point of a pencil
She holds the tip to the flame

I am afraid of what may mark me
My own skin
blemished and splotchy the tiny black hairs
in an audience on my chin
I shouldn’t have to admit this but

I’d rather a house with no rooms
in which to linger, no interrogation
of what blackness I bring
to the space, whole or half, light or dark—

My mother wakes in the morning
before the sun and in the darkness
flicks the light on above the vanity
she traces she erases
She is often called beautiful

Social Works: Carrie Mae Weems and Maya Phillips

Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Woman and daughter with makeup), 1990

Artwork © Carrie Mae Weems, courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Social Works: Curated by Antwaun Sargent, Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street, New York, June 24–August 13, 2021

The “Social Works” supplement also includes: “Notes on Social Works” by Antwaun Sargent; “Lauren Halsey and Mabel O. Wilson”; “The Archives of Frankie Knuckles: Organized by Theaster Gates”; “Sir David Adjaye OBE”; “Allana Clarke and Zalika Azim”; “Rick Lowe and Walter Hood”; and “Linda Goode Bryant and DeVonn Francis

Peter Lindbergh photograph of four women

Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories

The traveling retrospective gathering the work of legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh will be on view in A Coruña, Spain, from December 4, 2021, through February 28, 2022. Featuring work created over four decades of his expansive career, the exhibition was curated by Lindbergh before his death in 2019. Here, the artist’s son Benjamin Lindbergh speaks with Derek Blasberg about the project.

Logo for Black Art Library

Asmaa Walton: Black Art Library

Asmaa Walton, independent curator and founder of the Black Art Library—a mobile living archive of global Black creativity—speaks with Gagosian director Antwaun Sargent about the origins of her book-based project. Walton tells Sargent about a recent collaboration with Bottega Veneta in a former Detroit firehouse and shares her hopes for the future of this endeavor, in terms of community and curation.

Manuel Mathieu, Siblings 2, 2021, mixed media, 70 × 62 inches (117.8 × 157.5 cm)

Social Works II: Manuel Mathieu | The Delusion of Power

Artist Manuel Mathieu reflects on Haiti, Francisco Goya, and conceptualizations of power, examining their roles in his practice.

Lee “Scratch” Perry, c. 1980

Game Changer
Lee “Scratch” Perry

Connor Garel celebrates the outsized impact of this legendary musician on the world of music and beyond.

Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener

Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener

Dance artists Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener join art and dance historian Megan Metcalf in a conversation about dancing with Gerhard Richter paintings, their evolving relationship to language, and hidden “Easter eggs” in their work.

Image of kneeling nun, still from Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta (2021)

Cannes Film Festival 2021

Carlos Valladares shares his early look at five of this years standout films.

Hao Liang, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang—Relics, 2015–16, ink on silk, 72 ½ × 152 ⅜ inches (184 × 387 cm).

Hao Liang: To Forge the Chain of Being

Fan Jingzhong analyzes the classical concepts and references in Hao Liang’s paintings.

Still from "Hao Liang: Poetics of Li Shangyin"

Behind the Art
Hao Liang: Poetics of Li Shangyin

Join Hao Liang in his Beijing studio as he discusses the inspiration behind his latest series of paintings, rendered in ink and color on silk. Evoking the tradition of literati painting, the three works picture imagery conceived in response to passages of poetry by the ninth-century poet Li Shangyin.

Martha Buskirk and Peter Ballantine speaking with one another

In Conversation
Peter Ballantine and Martha Buskirk on Donald Judd

Peter Ballantine, Donald Judd’s longtime fabricator of plywood works, and Martha Buskirk, professor of art history and criticism at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, discuss the development, production, and history of the largest plywood construction Judd ever made, an untitled work from 1980.

Rendering for Prompts for a City: Whitechapel, minaret/pew and podium/market table (2021), Sumayya Vally’s project for Social Works II. Image: Sumayya Vally, Counterspace

Social Works II: Sumayya Vally and Sir David Adjaye

Sumayya Vally speaks with Sir David Adjaye about rethinking and expanding the definition of architecture. The conversation forms part of “Social Works II,” a supplement guest edited by Antwaun Sargent for the Winter 2021 issue of the Quarterly.

Cy Twombly, Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catallus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), 1994, oil, acrylic, oil stick, crayon, and graphite on three canvases,

Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor

Thierry Greub tracks the literary references in Cy Twomblys epic painting of 1994.

Portrait of Sir John Richardson, New York, 2005. Photo: Janette Beckman/Getty Images

The Art of Biography: Sir John Richardson’s “The Minotaur Years”

Pepe Karmel celebrates the release of A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years, 1933–1943, the final installment of Sir John Richardson’s magisterial biography.