Tell Me Something Good: A Roundtable with The Brooklyn Rail

Monday November 13: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Buy a copy of Tell Me Something Good or a $15 gift card in-store at the Strand's main floor registers or at the door to attend. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor, accessible via the main store elevator or the stairs and elevator next door at 826 Broadway.

Since its inception, co-founder and artistic director Phong Bui and the Rail’s contributors have interviewed over four hundred artists for The Brooklyn Rail. This volume brings together for the first time a selection of sixty of the most influential and seminal interviews with artists ranging from Richard Serra and Brice Marden, to Alex Da Corte and House of Ladosha. While each interview is important in its own right, offering a perspective on the life and work of a specific artist, collectively they tell the story of a journal that has grown during one of the more diverse and surprising periods in visual art. There is no unified style or perspective; The Brooklyn Rail’s strength lies in its ability to include and champion difference.

Selected and coedited by Jarrett Earnest, a frequent Rail contributor, with Lucas Zwirner, the book includes an introduction to the project by Phong Bui as well as many of the hand-drawn portraits he has made of those he has interviewed over the years. This combination of verbal and visual profiles offers a rare and personal insight into contemporary visual culture.

Join us in the Rare Book Room for a panel discussion featuring Brooklyn Rail publisher Phong Bui along with Jonas Mekas, Shirin Neshat, Shahzia Sikander and Jack Whitten, who are included in the book, moderated by Lucas Zwirner!


Jonas Mekas was born in Semeniškiai, Lithuania and has lived and worked in New York City since 1949. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative, and in 1964 the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema, and a screening venue. He has written more than 20 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages, and has taught at the New School for Social Research, the International Center for Photography, Cooper Union, New York University, and MIT. He has received numerous awards from institutions such as the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Albright Knox Gallery. Since 2000, Mekas has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), MoMA PS1, Documenta Kassel, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and the Venice Biennale.

Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran and lives and works in New York. She recently was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Award in Tokyo, and has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. She is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York.

Shahzia Sikander was born in Lahore, Pakistan and currently lives and works in New York. She holds a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Sikander’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She is represented by Sean Kelly Gallery.

Jack Whitten was born in Bessemer, Alabama and lives and works in Queens, New York. He holds degrees from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York. He was recently awarded the Aldrich A2A Award and the Skowhegan Medal for Painting. He has had solo exhibitions at Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; MoMA PS1; Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. He is represented by Hauser & Wirth in New York.

Phong Bui is an artist, writer, and independent curator. He was a curatorial advisor at MoMA PS1 from 2007 to 2010. He is a co-founder, publisher, and artistic director of The Brooklyn Rail, the publishing press Rail Editions, and the Rail Curatorial Projects, as well as the host/producer of Off the Rail on Art International Radio. He is a board member of The Miami Rail, The Third Rail of the Twin Cities, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, the International Association of Art Critics United States, Anthology Film Archives, and Studio in a School, among others. 

Lucas Zwirner is editorial director at David Zwirner Books, where he recently began the ekphrasis series, dedicated to publishing short texts on visual culture by artists and writers, rarely available in English. He has also written on numerous contemporary artists and translated books from German and French.

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