Search View Archive

Patricia Milder

PATRICIA MILDER is an art and performance writer based in Brooklyn. She was a former Managing Art Editor at the Brooklyn Rail.

In Conversation

CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT with Patricia Milder

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Rail Managing Art Editor Patricia Milder met longtime Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight for a late-November outdoor lunch on Ventura Boulevard, over which they discussed his life and work.

In Conversation

BONNIE MARRANCA with Patricia Milder

On the occasion of the 100th issue of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Bonnie Marranca, editor and publisher, and author of three collections of essays, met Rail Managing Art Editor Patricia Milder to discuss the journal, as well as her life and work


In the viewing room where Rashaad Newsome’s video plays, a couple of women in their seventies sat and discussed which of his vogue dancer’s poses were similar to the positions they took in their yoga class.

SI YEON KIM Barricade

Seoul-based artist Si Yeon Kim places everyday objects into symbolic arrangements so that they become personally poignant melodramas with heavy cultural connotations.

Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960

Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 at the Museum of Modern Art, which features still images of artists performing specifically for the camera, proffers a conservative position with regard to categories of photographic performance documents, which have traditionally been seen as either “documentary” (records of live actions and events) or “theatrical” (performed for the camera).

SPECIALIZED VISION Curating Grace Exhibition Space

What is the difference between performance art, contemporary dance performance, and experimental theater? Ask that question to twenty people and you’ll get twenty different answers, though in general there is a split between people who think these kinds of differentiations are vital and useful, and those who find them limiting or beside the point.

Cover Me with Turtles (after Amy Cutler*)

Fall into the cracks / Where elephant trunks are useful. / Where patterns open at the seams, / Revealing nakedness.

Raphael Rubinstein on Art's Past and the Future of Publishing

In his review of The Last Newspaper, Holland Cotter walked off with these lines: “But a genuinely ‘last newspaper’ is still nowhere in sight. And you read that here.” Yeah, I thought as I read it, here on


What’s in an elbow? The way it moves; the stretching of flesh over bones, then its gathering in tight wrinkles mid-limb. A knee: that complex, delicate system of ligaments that makes walking, running, dancing possible. But these images are non-specific—what of your own elbow? Your sister’s knee? Have you ever really looked at the wrist of someone you admire?

Walking the Elastic City

Becoming suddenly conscious of time and place can inspire melancholy. The experience can also be pleasing, or beautiful; Todd Shalom calls this “heightened awareness.” He says he felt it most profoundly when he was traveling, living for long stretches in Israel and Argentina.


It would be easy to dismiss the overly explicit art historical references in Penelope Umbrico’s work as defensive; the actual material is composed of images pulled from Craigslist and eBay, so intellectual weight needs to come from somewhere, right? But that would be a knee-jerk reaction to press release language—“Judd-like” for example—that’s no worse than average.

WORK OF ART TALK Critics on Bad TV

My father is a painter. When I called him, in a craze after obsessively watching nearly the whole season of Bravo’s Work of Art in one sitting, he told me that being a chef is about keeping a kitchen clean and consistently putting out a solid product day in and day out.

THE PERFECT OBJECT: Circulating the Fine Art Adoption Network

Art objects have long been the centerpiece of many a tale of intrigue. There are innumerable stories replete with counterfeiting, stealing, high stakes trading, and political maneuvering à la the Barnes Collection, any one of which could (if it hasn’t already) be made into a fast-paced Hollywood blockbuster.


When casually recounting—in person, to friends—stories about this or that performance last night, I have often been teased about my proclivity for starting with the less immediately relevant details about who was there, how many, which audience members left halfway through, and whether someone looked back to tell me to please stop talking so they could more fully enjoy David Parsons.

Father Figure: Hasselhoff and America in David Neumann's BIG EATER

Watching Big Eater is an immersive experience, although sometimes spoofs on an academic panel discussion emphasize the gulf between audience and performer.


“I know New Yorkers hate audience interaction,” Jeremy Wade said half apologetically to his small audience before instructing us to get up out of our chairs and engage in a bit of partner-focused aura cleansing.


Both performances were supposed to be the same. They were scheduled to take place a little over an hour away from the city in Beacon, and we definitely missed the 1pm showing. No matter.


Strange Action, Isabel Lewis’s first solo work, is an intentionally uneven, highly personal examination of the act of performing. The emphasis is on “process,” a choice buzzword for institutionalized performance. How, then, can a show riding on this thoroughly worn out idea, distinguish itself? Hint: the answer doesn’t lie in layered, meaning-seeking, pop-cultural references.

Mount Tremper Arts, A Patchwork Impression

Whatever broad definition one can generally make for “critical distance” these days, I know I didn’t have it during the month and a half I was living at Mount Tremper Arts.

A Full Moon to Mark the End: PINA BAUSCH

Lush and lovely, with an expensive, over-the-top interactive set and all the long hair, high heels, and ill-fitting, floor-length gowns a person can take, Vollmond is everything we’ve come to expect from the late Pina Bausch.

Existence and the Body, Three Ways

In a given week in this city, obligation and desire conflict, depression or love or weather get in the way of staying true to a schedule, work comes and goes, and every once in a while, you hit an existential wall. What are you doing this weekend?

Cori Olinghouse of Ninja

Cori Olinghouse is among a number of artists who appropriate existing underground forms in their contemporary art and performance works.

A Soft Space, Label Free

How easily a display of difference can fall into becoming—or at least appearing—exploitative at one extreme, and didactic at the other. The space in between those equally dangerous poles, though, holds great promise; one fulfilled by the tender, quietly physical depictions of self and other by Raimund Hoghe and Faustin Linyekula.

Light and Movement in a Bushwick Loft

It is possible for site specificity to take over a performance to such an extent that an awareness of place becomes, in a sense, the subject of the work itself. There was no denying the Bushwick-ness of Anna Sperber’s Naomi, performed the evenings of September 9 – 11.

Keeping it Realness

Keith Hennessy’s Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal or trauma…) was a high point of American Realness, Benjamin Pryor’s second annual festival of contemporary performance, which spanned the second weekend in January at the Abrons Arts Center.

What to Throw Away, What to Keep

He framed his interest in this song by explaining that Kenny Rogers was a fat American singer, which he segued into by bringing up Mariah Carey, who he also said was a fat American singer.

Increasingly More Movements For L.

I understand why the person next to me drooled all over his shirt, nodding off like so many in the audience. More Mouvements für Lachenmann wasn’t exactly entertaining. It required a certain amount of austerity on the part of the viewer—while prompting a few embarrassing attempts at physical showmanship by its performers.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues