The Brooklyn Rail

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The Brooklyn Rail
Julaug09.jpg
Cover of the July/August 2009 issue
Categories Art, politics, culture, literature
Frequency Monthly
Total circulation
(2017)
500,000
First issue 2000
Country United States
Based in Brooklyn
Language American English
Website brooklynrail.org
ISSN 2157-2151

The Brooklyn Rail is a 501(c)(3) non-profit journal of arts, culture, and politics published monthly in Brooklyn, NY. The journal features in-depth interviews with artists, critics, and curators, as well as critical essays, fiction, poetry, reviews of music, dance, film, and theater. The Brooklyn Rail is free and is distributed in galleries, universities, museums, bookstores, and other organizations including Anthology Film Archives, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA PS1, BAM, La MaMa, The Kitchen, Columbia University School of the Arts, The New School, and Yale University, among others.[1] Among its distinguished list of contributors are winners of the National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature.[2] The Rail operates a small press called Rail Editions that publishes literary translations, poetry, and art criticism. In addition to its small press The Rail has also organized panel discussions, readings, film screenings, music and dance performances, and curated exhibitions through a program called Rail Curatorial Projects.

History[edit]

Originally distributed as reading material for commuters on the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Rail began as a small broadsheet in 1998, with several founders.[3] By 2000 the journal had quickly grown into a full-format publication, with Phong Bui and then-editor Theodore Hamm sharing oversight duties. Bui comments that it's largely due to support from the arts community, and funding from art foundations, that has made it possible for the journal to maintain its creative autonomy. Hamm notes that The Rail's non-profit funding, largely provided by private donors, has preserved the magazine's original aspiration to publish "a crucible of slanted opinions, artfully delivered."[4]

Mission[edit]

Co-founder and Artistic Director, Phong Bui, made a statement in the June 2017 issue about the origin and ultimate mission of the journal.[5]

"In October 2000, I sold a painting for $2,000 to a friend and made the decision to spend the money, with an additional $500 from a friend of Ted’s, to launch the Rail as a real printed journal. Along with Fernanda Smith, who designed the Rail’s logo, Ted (Theodore Hamm), Patrick[6] and I agreed to carry out my proposal that the new format should be two inches longer than the Village Voice—a physical distinction that would highlight the differences in content. As a Vietnamese proverb says, 'When you argue with an intelligent person, you can’t win. But when you argue with a stupid person, you can’t stop.' We came to a mutual agreement that by arguing with real passion, regardless of how divergent our viewpoints may be, as long as we could transform that energy into tangible action, we would find ourselves in a perpetual state of becoming. Having been brought up in a family where divided politics was always a source of conflict, especially after the Tet Offensive in 1968, I recognized the Rail as a place where these kinds of differences could be brought together onto the printed page."

Reception[edit]

The American painter and photographer Chuck Close called The Rail, "This generation's organ of choice in which art historians, critics, and artists themselves weigh in on the most significant art being shown as well as little known and often overlooked work by emerging, middle, and older aged artists."

Robert Storr has called it "the murmur of the city in print." Paul Auster has said that it "covers the waterfront in a highly responsible and original way, mixing controversial political journalism with poetry, the arts, and nearly everything else of importance in this complex, ever-changing city." Former Nation publisher Victor Navasky considered it "a non-establishment paper that questioned the establishment's assumptions without falling victim to the counterculture's pieties."

For the late Nancy Spero, the paper was "an eminently readable, informative, and intellectually wide-ranging publication, alert to current trends, controversies, and ideas, and filled with necessary information." John Ashbery called it "a newspaper that cares about literature and the arts and isn't afraid to say so."

The late Henry Luce III once noted that, "Years ago the most famous newspaper in Brooklyn was the Brooklyn Eagle. The rail is also a bird, and so it is fitting that the Eagle’s successor is The Brooklyn Rail. It is a splendid publication that covers the arts, politics, and culture. I heartily recommend it." [7]

In 2013 the Rail was awarded the Best Art Reporting by the International Association of Art Critics, United States Section (AICA-USA).[8][9]

Rail Curatorial Projects[edit]

In 2013, The Brooklyn Rail established Rail Curatorial Projects, an initiative to manifest the journal's goals within an exhibition context. That same year, The Brooklyn Rail was invited by the Daedalus Foundation to curate an exhibition which resulted in Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year One,[10] a momentous exhibition of hundreds of New York and Brooklyn artists. In 2014, the exhibition was commemorated in a hardcover catalogue. Since then, the Rail Curatorial Projects has curated a number of shows including Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior at Red Bull Studios[11] and Bloodflames Revisited at Paul Kasmin Gallery in 2014,[12] Intimacy in Discourse: Reasonable and Unreasonable Sized Paintings at SVA Chelsea Gallery[13] and Mana Contemporary[14] as well as Social Ecologies at Industry City[15] in 2015, and Hallway Hijack at 66 Rockwell Place[16] in 2016.

Rail Editions[edit]

Previous titles include: On Ron Gorchov, (2008) edited by Phong Bui; Pieces of a Decade: Brooklyn Rail Nonfiction 2000-2010, (2010) edited by Theodore Hamm and Williams Cole; Texts on (Texts on) Art, (2012) a collection of essays by the art historian Joseph Masheck; The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology 2, (2013) edited by Donald Breckenridge; Cephalonia, (2016) a narrative poem by Luigi Ballerini; and Swept Up By Art, (2016) the second memoir of the art historian and critic Irving Sandler.[17]

Notable contributors[edit]

Notable interviews[edit]

Guest art editors[edit]

Special Editions[edit]

  • John Giorno [140]
  • Ad Reinhardt[141]
  • On the State of Art Criticism in Europe[142]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Contributors to The Brooklyn Rail". brooklynrail.org. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
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  5. ^ http://brooklynrail.org/2017/06/cofoundersmessage/Dear-Friends-and-Readers-june2017
  6. ^ https://news.artnet.com/opinion/phong-bui-profile-airbrushes-history-354707
  7. ^ Bui, Phong. "What is the Miami Rail?". brooklynrail.org. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "AICA Announces Best Show Awards for 2013 - News - Art in America". artinamericamagazine.com. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "AICA-USA ARTS AWARDS HONOR EXCELLENCE IN ART CRITICISM AND CURATORIAL ACHIEVEMENT". AICA USA. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Smith, Roberta, "Art, A Balm After the Storm" New York Times, December 12, 2013
  11. ^ http://www.redbullstudiosnewyork.com/exhibition/spaced-out-migration-to-the-interior-curated-by-phong-bui/
  12. ^ http://curatorialprojects.brooklynrail.org/bloodflames-revisited
  13. ^ http://www.sva.edu/events/events-exhibitions/intimacy-in-discourse-unreasonable-sized-paintings
  14. ^ http://manacontemporary.com/2015-intimacy-in-discourse/
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  16. ^ http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/artists-hijacked-brooklyn-high-rise-hallway
  17. ^ https://store.brooklynrail.org/store/category/83
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  106. ^ "LANE RELYEA with Katy Siegel". brooklynrail.org. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
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  109. ^ "In Conversation with PETER LAMBORN WILSON". brooklynrail.org. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
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  142. ^ http://www.brooklynrail.org/special/ART_CRIT_EUROPE/

External links[edit]