This selection of works springs from Phong Bui’s larger, ongoing series of site-specific social installations, which began as early as 2000—the year the acclaimed publication The Brooklyn Rail was officially conceived. Until 2007, most of his works had been responses to given sites, spatially and temporally contingent upon the installation’s time constraints. Since then, he has increasingly dedicated himself to the challenge of transforming the Rail from mere, ephemeral printed matter into a work of art: a social sculpture, as described by Beuys, in which an organic process that resists political or aesthetic dogma perpetually asserts itself, while being inclusive and interactive. While his exertions have become ever more onerous—he now makes a portrait of all the Rail’s featured artists and writers, and juggles a hectic array of curatorial, reading, and teaching projects—his playful and child-like temperament has become more and more pronounced.
Phong Bui is an artist, writer, and independent curator (curatorial advisor at MoMA P.S.1, from 2007 to 2010). He is also the co-founder, editor, and publisher of the monthly journal The Brooklyn Rail and the publishing press Brooklyn Rail Editions, as well as the Host/Producer of Off the Rail on Art International Radio. He has taught and lectured at Skowhegan, Columbia University, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, Parsons the New School for Design, University of Texas in Austin, University of Pennsylvania, and Bard College. He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts Graduate Program in Art Criticism & Writing and MFA in Photography, Video, and Related Media, and at Yale University School of Art’s MFA in Painting/Printmaking as Core Critic.
This exhibition is dedicated to Elizabeth Baker and Shoja Azari