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
through the scene and the square frame
Defiant! I am to command
the work’s focus and yet keep myself

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

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

Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977, long-term installation, western New Mexico. Artwork © Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: John Cliett, courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York, and © Estate of Walter De Maria

Light and Lightning: Wonder-Reactions at Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field

In this second installment of a two-part essay, John Elderfield resumes his investigation of Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977), focusing this time on how the hope to see lightning there has led to the work’s association with the Romantic conception of the sublime.

Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006), on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2021

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021

The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.

View of the Valentino Haute Couture offices, Paris, including couture and artworks. Photo: © Gregory Copitet

Fashion & Art: Valentino Des Ateliers

Author and curator Gianluigi Ricuperati speaks to the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier about his curatorial involvement in Valentino Des Ateliers, a collaborative project devised by Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, in partnership with Ricuperati. Working in a symbiotic manner, Piccioli and the Valentino Haute Couture team engaged in a dialogue with artists Joel S. Allen, Anastasia Bay, Benni Bosetto, Katrin Bremermann, Guglielmo Castelli, Maurizio Cilli, Danilo Correale, Luca Coser, Jamie Nares, Francis Offman, Andrea Respino, Wu Rui, Sofia Silva, Alessandro Teoldi, Patricia Treib, and Malte Zenses, along with the participation of Kerstin Bratsch, to arrive at a singular couture collection.

Spencer Sweeney, Self-Portrait Morning Gown, Records, 2019, oil on canvas, 66 x 42 inches (167.6 x 106.7 cm)

Mixtape: Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney shares a selection of songs that have punctuated his journey through the pandemic and ponders the expressive powers of a playlist.

Taryn Simon, “Folder: Broken Objects” (detail), from the series The Picture Collection, 2012, framed archival inkjet print, 47 × 62 inches (119.4 × 157.5 cm) © Taryn Simon

The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection

Joshua Chuang, the Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography at the New York Public Library, discusses the institution’s singular Picture Collection, the artist Taryn Simon’s rigorous engagement with it, and four instances of its little-known role in the history of art making.

Installation view, Nancy Rubins: Fluid Space, Gagosian, Beverly Hills, June 24–August 6, 2021.

Conclusions Never Reached: Nancy Rubins in Fluid Space

Sara Softness reflects on a new series of sculptures by Nancy Rubins, Fluid Space (2019–21), “visual poems” that hint at the invisible and the unknown.

Theaster Gates, A Song for Frankie, 2017–21, 5,000 records, DJ booth, and record player

Social Works: The Archives of Frankie Knuckles Organized by Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, steward of the Frankie Knuckles record collection, is engaging with the late DJ and musician’s archive of records, ephemera, and personal effects. For the Quarterly’s “Social Works” supplement, guest edited by Antwaun Sargent, Gates presents a selection of Knuckles’s personal record collection. Chantala Kommanivanh, a Chicago-based artist, educator, and musician—and the records manager for Rebuild Foundation, Chicago—provides annotations, contextualizing these records’ importance and unique qualities. Ron Trent, a dear friend of Knuckles’s, speaks to the legacy evinced by these materials.

Taryn Simon, details from An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007; A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, 2008–11; A Cold Hole, 2018; An Occupation of Loss, 2016; and Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015

In Conversation
Taryn Simon and Teju Cole

This spring, as part of the Lambert Family Lecture Series at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Taryn Simon joined Teju Cole for an online conversation about her artistic practice and creative process.

Gregory Corso, New York, 1986. Photo: Allen Ginsberg

Gregory Corso: A Most Dangerous Art

On the occasion of the forthcoming publication of The Golden Dot: Last Poems by Gregory Corso, Raymond Foye reflects on the poet’s enduring engagement with the human condition and explores the unique structure of this final collection.

Dennis Hopper, 1969. Photo: Columbia Pictures/Album/Alamy Stock Photo.

Dennis Hopper’s Taos Ride

Douglas Dreishpoon reflects on speaking with Hopper at the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico, in 2009.

Rick Lowe, Black Wall Street Journey Manifesto #1, 2021, acrylic and paper collage on paper, 141 × 115 inches (358.1 × 292.1 cm).

Social Works: Rick Lowe and Walter Hood

Rick Lowe and Walter Hood speak about Black space, the built environment, and history as a footing for moving forward as part of “Social Works,” a supplement guest edited by Antwaun Sargent for the Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly.

Rick Lowe, Black Wall Street Journey #5, 2021, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 108 × 192 inches (274.3 × 487.7 cm)© Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Thomas Dubrock

Notes on Social Works

Antwaun Sargent presents a collection of thoughts and images, gathered from conversations with artists, curators, architects, and educators, as well as essays, social media, and the news, that inform the exhibition Social Works. The essay serves as an introduction to the corresponding supplement guest edited by Sargent for the Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly.