Join Nikky Finney, Sonia Sanchez, Jericho Brown, Tyehimba Jess, Elizabeth Alexander, Mahershala Ali, and Kamasi Washington for the launch of LIFT EVERY VOICE, “a year-long nationwide public humanities initiative exploring African American poetic traditions.”*

Presented by the Library of America and the Schomburg Center, the event also celebrates celebrates the publication of the new LOA anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, edited by Kevin Young.

See link below for details.



Thursday, September 17.

3:30 pm–6 pm on the West Coast; 6:30 pm–9 pm East Coast.

From top: Nikky Finney, photograph courtesy and © the author and the University of South Carolina; Sonia Sanchez, photograph courtesy and © the author and Mezzocamin; Jericho Brown, photograph courtesy of the author; Tyehimba Jess, Olio, cover image courtesy and © the author and Wave Books; Jess, photograph courtesy and © the author; Elizabeth Alexander, photograph courtesy and © the author; Kevin Young, editor, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, cover image courtesy and © the Library of America.


I always think of Sojourner as being in conversation with many different objects, wallpapers, surfaces, textures, and banners. By the time viewers watch the film, they have already received so much informational groundwork from the environment that the film can focus on conveying a particular kind of imagery or feeling. When the title credits appear at the end of Sojourner, the room is completely dark, and that’s the moment when people can see the disco ball installation producing a cosmos on the ceiling. I always consider who the work is made for and what I want it to convey. It is so important that people are given an experience that cultivates their intellectual and physical well-being. That’s why I started making installations for my films, instead of simply showing them. — Cauleen Smith

MUTUALITIES—Smith’s first solo exhibition in New York City—has reopened at the Whitney. The show, which includes her 22-minute video installation Sojourner, was organized by Chrissie Iles, with Clémence White.

This week, join Smith and curator Amber Esseiva for a virtual conversation presented by the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard.

See links below for information.


Through January 31, by appointment.

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York City.


Thursday, September 10.

4:30 pm on the West Coast; 7:30 pm East Coast.

Cauleen Smith, Mutualities, Whitney Museum of American Art, February 17, 2020–January 31, 2021, from top: Alexis Hold Audre Lorde, 2020, from the ongoing series Firespitters, gouache, graphite, and acrylic ink on paper; Gregg Bordowitz, 2020, Firespitters series, gouache, graphite, and acrylic ink on paper; Sojourner, 2018, stills (2), video, color, sound; Pilgrim, 2017, still, video, color, sound, Whitney Museum of American Art; Natalie Holds Dionne Brand, 2020, Firespitters series, gouache, graphite, and acrylic ink on paper; Natalie Diaz, 2020, Firespitters series, gouache, graphite, and acrylic ink on paper. Artwork and video images courtesy and © the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York City. Firespitters series photographs by Matthew Sherman, courtesy of the photographer and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Linda Shi—urban environment planner and assistant professor at Cornell—will give a virtual talk exploring “explores whether it is possible to achieve both social justice and environmental sustainability in efforts to mitigate urban flood risk.”

The event is presented by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. See link below to register.


Thursday, September 10.

4:30 pm on the West Coast: 7:30 pm East Coast.

Top: Linda Shi, image courtesy and © Shi. Below: Pond at Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary from the remaining portion of the Doral Apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carlina, photograph by Hannah Wilson, image courtesy and © the photographer.


Robert Silvers was a brilliant, demanding, funny, painstaking, and inspiring editor, a walking chronicle of postwar literary-political history, an intimidating sweetheart, and very dear to me. At the end of an editorial session, once he had identified all your piece’s weaknesses, evasions, and missed opportunities, he would close with a brusque, even peremptory, but always, somehow, hopeful, “See what can be done.” In the world according to Silvers, there was always something to be done. — Michael Chabon

The New York Review of Books was founded in 1963 by Barbara Epstein, Jason Epstein, and their West 67th Street neighbors Elizabeth Hardwick and Robert Lowell during an extended newspaper strike in New York City. They asked their friend Robert Silvers to edit the broadsheet—and he agreed, if Barbara would join him as co-editor.

The Review was an immediate success, and during first decades published Mary McCarthy on Vietnam, James Baldwin (“An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis”), Isaiah Berlin, Hannah Arendt, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Richard Hofstadter, Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, I. F. Stone, W. H. Auden, and many more. Today, Zadie Smith, Yasmine El Rashidi, Zoë Heller, Janet Malcolm, Hilton Als, Darryl Pinckney, James Fenton, Colm Tóibín, and Daniel Mendelsohn continue the intellectual tradition.

Before Silvers died in 2017, Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi filmed the editor in his domain. The resulting film—THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT, narrated by Michael Stahlbarg—documents the history of the paper with in-person interviews and a rich selection of clips. The film is available through HBO Max and is streaming free in September, courtesy of the Review.

See link below.


Directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi.

Now streaming.

From top: Barbara Epstein and Robert Silvers in 1963 in their first office in the Fisk Building, New York City, photograph by Gert Berliner, courtesy and © the photographer and The New York Review of Books; David Moore, Mary McCarthy, New York, 1956, courtesy and © the photographer and the National Portrait Gallery, Australia; The New York Review of Books, May 25, 2017; Gore Vidal (center) with John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy; Nina Simone and James Baldwin, early 1960s, photograph by Bernard Gotfryd, courtesy and © the photographer’s estate and the Library of Congress Collection; Isaiah Berlin (left) and Silvers, photograph by Dominique Nabokov, courtesy and © the photographer; Darryl Pinckney in London, 1991, photograph by Nabokov; Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, The 50 Year Argument (2014), image courtesy and © HBO Documentary Films; W. H. Auden; Joan Didion, photograph by Jill Krementz, courtesy and © the photographer; Francine du Plessix Gray and Silvers, photograph by Nabokov, courtesy and © the photographer.


Linda Nochlin had a towering, completely ferocious, revolutionary intellect. The magnitude of her intelligence—well, there are very, very few people like that. She literally changed everything. I think that with her essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” in 1971, she made women’s and queer studies possible because of how she reformulated the question. She shifted the focus from subjective experience toward an interrogation of the material aspects of culture: What were the conditions that make things the way they are? By restructuring cultural history, she also gave those of us who were marginalized by it a new way to look at literature and other disciplines. — Deborah Kass

Nochlin—the late scholar, critic, and curator—is the subject of an exhibition at NMWA. See link below for details.


Through October 8.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

From top: Linda Nochlin in front of Philip Pearlstein, Richard Pommer and Linda Nochlin, 1968, photograph by Adam Husted, image courtesy and © the artist and the photographer; Deborah Kass, Orange Disaster (Linda Nochlin), 1997, image courtesy and © the artist; Artnews, January 1971, Women’s Liberation, Women Artists and Art History: A Special Issue, cover painting is Marie Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing, 1801, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, cover image courtesy and © the publisher; 1959 art history class at Vassar with Professor Nochlin, Class of 1951, image courtesy and © Vassar College; Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (2015), edited by Maura Reilly, cover image courtesy and © Thames & Hudson; Nochlin in Paris in 1978, photograph by Marion Kalter, image courtesy and © the photographer.