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Sadie Rebecca Starnes

Sadie Rebecca Starnes is an artist, writer, and editor from North Carolina. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, LA Review of Books and Artforum, among others, and she’s held many solo exhibitions in both Tokyo and NYC. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

In Conversation

with Sadie Rebecca Starnes

“Our understanding of the agency of non-human creatures, be they animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, whole organisms, or cells, needs to be stretched and nurtured. Rats laugh, bacteria can be happy. We need to consider our connections in so many ways.”

TREVOR PAGLEN: A Study of Invisible Images

Throughout his career, Trevor Paglen has made artwork out of the “invisible.” An expert in clandestine military installations, Paglen has trained his eye on places and programs that, officially, do not exist—from military black sites to NSA headquarters, drone surveillance to the CIA’s abduction outfits.

CAROL RAMA: Antibodies

These pictures remind us of society’s compartmentalization of madness, and the gendered “hysteria” prominent in the late 19th century yet employed even today, albeit under different names.

The Incomplete Araki

The opening of Nobuyoshi Araki’s latest exhibition, The Incomplete Araki, in February of 2018, welcomed a diverse mix of admirers, bondage enthusiasts, and blushing academics, decorated here and there by a column of kimono. Unable to see the art in such a swarm, I enjoyed watching visitors’ eyes—especially those of the more staid—dilate between lust and analysis.

David Bowie Is

Having opened in London five years ago, this final presentation of David Bowie Is is the most comprehensive, and by far one of the Museum’s largest shows to date. From Brixton to Berlin to Blackstar, the ambitious exhibition—now an immersive eulogy—meticulously navigates the wild diversity of influences that shaped David Bowie, including David Robert Jones himself.

Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape

A view of a landscape opens with Kevin Beasley’s relief, The Reunion (2018), a heavy “slab” of guinea fowl feathers, Virginia soil, and cotton built up and suspended in polyurethane resin.

Ruins in Reverse

As the wealthy move into higher apartments, put their generators on the roof and wait for the worst, our government tells the rest of the country, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” This America, as myopic as it is visionary, as destructive as it is boundlessly creative, leaves us in freefall.

Untitled (On amber, archers, cinnamon, horses and birds)

Developing in parallel, visual art birthed our most beautiful writing systems. The Korean alphabet, Hangul, imitates the positions of the mouth when pronouncing each letter’s sound, while the Chinese character for rain falls.

Tomokawa Kazuki
at Greene Naftali

The sixty-seven-year-old poet, singer, actor, artist, and “screaming philosopher,” Tomokawa Kazuki, made his American debut on a Thursday in early November.

Playlist for Prefab Houses: YouTube and the Revitalization of Japanese Ambient Music

Liz Pelly’s recent article for The Baffler, “The Problem with Muzak,” bemoans music journalism’s embrace of Spotify. Algorithmically fueled, mood-based playlists such as “Ambient Chill,” she argues, are nothing more than “emotional wallpaper” for the distracted, disengaged masses.

From Space to Environment, Fluxus to Furniture Music: The Women of Kankyō Ongaku

This two-part essay takes an expansive look at the female artists that both prefigured and forged kankyō ongaku across disciplines, as well as the myriad influences informing their work.

From Space to Environment, Fluxus to Furniture Music: The Women of Kankyō Ongaku (Part II)

These are just a few of the women who worked at the height of kankyo ongaku. Today, younger artists like Aki Tsuyuko and Midori Hirano carry on the ambient tradition, while their predecessors continue to expand the genre into the 21st century.

Hosono Haruomi

Hosono has pioneered a plethora of genres—from psychedelia to exotica, pop to ambient—as both musician and producer. Yet despite a half century in music, this was his first solo tour in the US

In Conversation

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO with Sadie Rebecca Starnes

On the year’s first honest spring day, I watched an old Honey Locust cleave the roof of a parked car in the West Village, just next to the home of famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Show Me Your Original Face: On Tsai Ming-liang’s Your Face

Framed in phone booths, freeways and supermarkets, a Tsai Ming-liang film gazes with moist, unblinking eyes at everyday life—the slightest glint directing us towards the curiosities that line it.

Adam Bartos and Colin MacCabe, Studio: Remembering Chris Marker

Known intermittently as Stalker Sandor, Hayao Yamaneko, or Sergei Murasaki, filmmaker Chris Marker (1921–2012) was an elusive, shy, and decidedly feline individual.

Stan Brakhage: Metaphors on Vision

Avant-garde cinema and modern poetry have long shared the same arable ground. Each measured by its own “feet,” they both move through montage—a technique as common to T.S. Eliot as to Eisenstein. Among the greatest of the kino-poets is Stan Brakhage. Despite his poor eyesight and poverty, the Missouri-born filmmaker pushed his art beyond the apparent, behind the eyelid and the shutter, and on into the “Impossibility of it all.” In a new edition of Brakhage’s philosophy of seeing, Metaphors on Vision, we are reminded of the artist’s seminal innovations—especially of his meter that set the very rhythm of American experimental film for future filmmakers.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues