Nate Lerner Nate Lerner

Fall 2019

Hi all,

I hope each of you had fantastic summers. I had the wonderful opportunity to write for Connecticut Art Review's summer reading list series (read the whole series - I'm in ridiculously good company; while you're there, stay for Jacquelyn Gleisner's beautiful, incisive writing).

Thanks to an invitation from Rysz + Rysz, I ended a decade-long moratorium on live classical music (deeply necessary after leaving that field) and saw Yo-Yo Ma perform Bach's cello suites at Tanglewood in August. His performance was a rushed, hot mess, but the evening was so much fun. More recently we heard Robert Quinney perform a transcendent rendition of Bach's BWV 582 on the impressive organ at Yale's Woolsey Hall, part of the ISM's free concert series.

In other musical news, Rachel and I purchased a neglected harpsichord and are joyfully restoring it. This week we finally completed replacement of its 114 strings. You can follow our unabashedly nerdy progress here.

Finally, the most interesting exhibitions I got to see over the summer were all solo shows: Doris Salcedo's deeply affecting work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art; a survey of Renoir's nudes at The Clark (seeing them all together highlights how insipid his faces are); Urs Fischer at The Brant Foundation in Greenwich; and Zachary Keeting's paintings at Giampietro Gallery, each one a stunning apotheosis of color.

On to the fall...

You can see my work at three spaces over the coming months. Sanctuary Cities And the Politics of the American Dream, curated by Luciana Q. McClure, opens on October 3 at Creative Arts Workshop and is on view through November 9. The grand opening of City Wide Open Studios takes place on October 4 at Artspace, where the piece included here will be on display throughout CWOS. Lastly, I'll be showing recent work at Yale West Campus as part of open studios on November 2 and 3. I've been working on new processes involving transferring images on to tissue-thin gampi paper and water-treated parchment, and am excited to hear your impressions.

As always, other bits of inspiration:

1. Aude Jomini and Sarah Fritchey's Perverse Furniture used the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus as a framework for exploring themes including city planning, bodies at rest and in motion, aspirational assemblages, and the manifesto. This last item is of particular interest to me and caused me to reflect on my own ill-conceived artist statement, revised here. (Rather than a revision, it's really simultaneous eradication and re-presentation of the original text in an attempt to foreground my interest in process. The act of making something good involves being aware that one is mostly excreting garbage, accepting that it will always be thus, that this is both necessary and fundamental, and remaining unafraid.)

2. As part of my 9-5 project of hacking the neoliberal university from within, I've implemented a book club in my department and we've been reading Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing. It's really wonderful to see my colleagues inspired by people mentioned in the text like Pilvi Takala, and to witness them feel validation for attempts to preserve balanced and humane lifestyles in opposition to visions of success dictated by external forces. (Cory Doctorow's lecture here is very good, and related to concerns re: the attention economy.)

3. This harpsichord business has reawakened dormant interests and has had me listening to more music you can't really dance to, including two French composers I never really took seriously in my undergraduate, conservatory days. I had mostly dismissed Messiaen as a wierdo obsessed with Jesus and birds, but I don't mind either of those things now and this has opened the way to appreciating his magnificent Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà …. Dutilleux was a bit too romantic for young Nate (I preferred Boulez and still do), but the hot orchestration and Barbara Hannigan's wonderful singing in this recording make a compelling case for re-evaluating his oeuvre.

That's all for now! I wish all of you happy transitions into cooler days.

In solidary,