back to Rethinking Feminism

Art Criticism & Agendas: Soft Talk & Solidarity

A.I.R. Gallery, 155 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, NY


A conversation with Annie Godfrey Larmon and Leslie Dick, moderated by Mira Dayal

A.I.R. Gallery and SOHO20 are pleased to announce a collaborative programming series, Art Criticism & Agendas, to be held at both spaces this spring, as a conceptual extension of SOHO20’s “Rethinking Feminism” initiative. Art Criticism & Agendas will consider how different writers position their criticism as an act of solidarity, for whom, and on what terms. In one of its earliest uses, solidarity—a complicated term whose meaning has shifted over time—was tied to the concept of debt, signifying that each involved party could be held financially responsible for another. By implication, mutual support was a kind of social obligation. In thinking about this logic with respect to criticism, what does it mean to have an “agenda” while writing? While “having an agenda” is usually seen as a detriment or conflict, these conversations will consider how this implied level of planning and obligation might be productive for feminist objectives.

The first panel in the series, Art Criticism & Agendas: Soft Talk & Solidarity, on April 14th at A.I.R. Gallery, features Annie Godfrey Larmon and Leslie Dick, moderated by SOHO20 Curatorial Fellow Mira Dayal. The two terms in this panel’s title, “soft talk” and “solidarity,” are key to Larmon’s recent essay “Dirt is Clean When There is a Volume,” published in apricota, and Dick’s “Soft Talk,” published in X-TRA. Both Larmon and Dick suggest, in different contexts, that critique is a method of support, but that support should generate both tension and discovery. Both writers also contend with other artists’, professors’, institutions’, or authorities’ responses to the described critical approaches.

Attendees will be invited to read these selected essays in advance for context, although all are welcome to thoughtfully respond to the discussion regardless of preparation.

Read “Dirt is Clean When There is a Volume” by Annie Godfrey Larmon here.
Read “Soft Talk” by Leslie Dick here.

Annie Godfrey Larmon is a writer and editor based in New York. Her writing has appeared in apricota, Artforum, BBC Culture, Bookforum, CURA., Even, Frieze, MAY, The Miami Rail, Spike, Texte zur Kunst, Topical Cream, Vdrome, WdW Review, and The White Review. The recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for short-form writing, she is the editor of publications for the inaugural Okayama Art Summit and a former international reviews editor of Artforum. Last year, she was a writer in residence at the LUMA Foundation in Arles, France and at Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy. She is currently at work on her first novel and a monograph on the work of Beverly Pepper.

Leslie Dick is a writer who has taught in the Art Program at CalArts since 1992. Currently she also works as a Visiting Critic in Sculpture at Yale School of Art. She published two novels and a book of short fiction, and her writing on art has appeared in various magazines, journals, and catalogues. Recent publications include: “Soft Talk: Thoughts on Critique,” X-TRA; “Marisa Merz: Unavailable,” X-TRA; and “Intentional Accidents: Reflections on Sarah Charlesworth’s Stills,” X-TRA. Her piece “The Interpretation of Dreams” was reprinted in Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997, eds. Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian (Nightboat, 2017).

Mira Dayal is an artist, critic, and curator based in New York. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Art Criticism, co-curator of the collaborative artist publication prompt:, and an assistant editor at Artforum. Dayal’s studio work has focused on the routines and materialities of language and the body. Her most recent solo exhibition was at Lubov gallery in January 2019. Past shows include Material Metaphors at NARS Foundation, Spectral Imprints at A.I.R. Gallery on Governor’s Island, and Volley at Abrons Art Center. Extending and researching these interests, Dayal has previously curated programming and exhibitions on the subjects of intimacy, material residues, and commemoration for venues including Helena Anrather Gallery, A.I.R. Gallery, the Pfizer Building, and Barnard College; she also assisted New Museum curator Margot Norton with research for Sequences VIII: Elastic Hours, a biennial in Reykjavik. Dayal’s curatorial practice primarily engages the work of emerging and underrepresented artists. In September 2018, she curated a show of Lizzy De Vita and Hong Seon Jang for 5-50 Gallery, followed by Formula 1 at CUE Art Foundation, where she is a Curatorial Fellow, in April 2019.

This program is funded in part by the NY Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a conceptual extension of the +/- Project Space.


Comments are closed.