The ART21/CUE Book Club Takes a Wild Ride


Lucy R. Lippard

In April, we announced the ART21/CUE Book Club, a new initiative of the ART21 Magazine in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, our neighbor in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The ART21/CUE Book Club invites avid readers to participate in semi-intimate conversations about fiction and nonfiction books relevant to themes of this magazine or ideas tackled by our contributing writers. The ART21/CUE Book Club will meet for the second time on Thursday, June 26 at CUE (137 West 25th Street), 7–8:30pm.

For this meeting, we asked the inaugural group to recommend books, keeping in mind the current magazine theme, “Future.” Their suggestions ranged from science fiction (Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany), to self-help guides (Do You: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success by Russell Simmons), to deeply art historical texts (The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance Art in the Formation of Post-Modernism by Thomas McEvilley). In the end, the majority voted for Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West by Lucy R. Lippard.

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Naomi Reis. From the Vertical Garden series. Courtesy the artist.

Brooklyn-based artist Naomi Reis will lead our discussion of Lippard’s book. Through her labor-intensive studio practice, Reis has produced series such as Vertical Garden—“a contemporary re-imagining of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in the form of an absurdist modernist skyscraper festooned with greenery”—and Geodesics—“a tribute to the spirit of investigation into the frontiers of science and engineering, in particular the innovations of Buckminster Fuller, a futurist and early advocate of sustainability.” Reis’s work has been shown at the Horticultural Society of New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Wave Hill, and Mixed Greens, where her installation Planted is currently on view. This summer, Reis’s work will be included in the group exhibition Back to Eden: Contemporary Artists Wander the Garden at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, NY.

Reis asks ART21/CUE book clubbers to consider what it means to live in cities in the twenty-first century, and our changing relationship to the surrounding horizontal landscape. “As suburban sprawl is replaced with vertical climbing, what will the future of America look like, and what part would we like to play in it as artists and as citizens?” Participants should come with questions of their own—ready to discuss, laugh, and debate over beer and snacks. (There’s also talk of pie.) Space is limited to 25 people; RSVP online.