Phong Bui

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Phong Bui (born September 17, 1964, in Huế, Vietnam) is an artist, writer, independent curator, and Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Publisher of The Brooklyn Rail, a free monthly arts, culture, and politics journal. Bui was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture" by Brooklyn Magazine in 2014.[1] In 2015, "The New York Observer" called him a "ringmaster" of the "Kings County art world." [2] He lives with his wife the painter Nathlie Provosty[3] in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Publisher, Writer, and Editor[edit]

In addition to publishing and editing The Brooklyn Rail, Bui publishes Rail Editions, a venture that features experimental poetry, fiction, artist interviews, and art criticism. Bui contributes essays, reviews, and interviews to the Brooklyn Rail, and creates portraits of each month's featured interviewees.[4][5] He has written articles for Matador Magazine, Art in America, and Riot of Perfume, among others,[6] as well as essays for exhibition catalogues and books on artists. In addition to his writing, he is the producer and host of the program Off The Rail, hosted by Clocktower Radio, where he interviews artists, art historians, writers, and other people of interest.[7]


Phong Bui has curated over 40 monographic and group shows since 2000, including a first anniversary commemoration of Hurricane Sandy: Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1, "a sprawling, encompassing, inspiring exhibition of works by some 300 artists," according to Roberta Smith of the New York Times.[8] The show was ranked as New York's #1 exhibition in 2013 by Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine.[9] In 2013 he initiated the Rail Curatorial Projects which aims to curate exhibitions as social experiments. In 2014, Bui curated Bloodflames Revisited which featured the work of more than two dozen artists at Paul Kasmin Gallery[10][11] and "Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior" at Red Bull Studios, featuring nearly 40 artists.[12][13][14][15] Bui's most recent project is a two-part exhibition entitled Intimacy in Discourse: Reasonable and Unreasonable Sized Paintings taking place at both Mana Contemporary[16] and SVA Chelsea Gallery.[17]

View of "Bloodflames Revisited" Courtesy of Josh Nefsky and Paul Kasmin Gallery

Bui served as curatorial advisor at MoMA PS1 from 2007 to 2010 where he organized monographic exhibitions of artists including Robert Bergman, Jonas Mekas,[18] Joanna Pousette-Dart,[19] Tony Fitzpatrick, Harriet Korman, and Jack Whitten,[20] and numerous group exhibitions including Irrational Profusion: Nicole Cherubini, Marc Leuthold, Joyce Robins, Peter Schlesinger[21] and Orpheus Selection: Nicola Lopez & Lisa Sigal.[22] Bui has curated other exhibitions at various galleries including recent work by Ron Gorchov at Cheim & Read[23] as well as Exquisite Fucking Boredom, a exhibition of Polaroid images by artist and writer Emma Bee Bernstein at Microscope Gallery.[24]


View of "Social Environment #2" at Mana Contemporary, a 2014 installation by Phong Bui. Photo by Zach Garlitos

A graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA,[25] Bui continued his postgraduate studies at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture[26] and studied independently with Nicolas Carone. Bui is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work includes painting, sculpture, and site-specific installation.[27] Since 2012 he has been working on his on-going social sculpture/environment, which attempts to realize "art as social activity" and to reinforce the notion that "the process of art making is the art."[28] In 2006, Bui won the Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Eric Isenbeurger Annual Prize for Installation from the National Academy Museum. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Pierogi, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the North Dakota Museum of Art. Bui has lectured at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Bard College, and taught at Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design,[29] University of Pennsylvania, and the School of Visual Arts where he is currently giving graduate seminars in MFA Writing and Criticism and MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media.[30] He has won an Arcadia Traveling Fellowship, a Hohenberg Traveling Fellowship, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship. In 2014 he was the keynote speaker of The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Visionary Honoree at Art in General's Annual Benefit.[31]


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