Staff Picks:

Art Writing Mentors Edition

This week we checked in with two Art Writing Incubator mentors from 2019, and two mentors from 2020 to see what virtual events, music, podcasts, and more they are doing this week. Art Writing Incubator applications opened last week, be sure and apply!

Aria Dean.

Aria Dean, editor and curator of Rhizome, 2019 Mentor

May 25th @ 6:15pm – Aesthetics, Raciality, and Dispossession with Rizvana Bradley at Kunstmuseum Basel.

The F Word at Hunter Museum

I just finished reading Necropolitics by Achille Mbembe for first time! Totally slaps for “the present moment.” And reading a lot of [Samuel] Beckett. I’ve been listening to backlogs of the BBC In Our Time podcast.


For further Achille Mbembe, read “The Universal Right to Breathe“, on the COVID – 19 pandemic and our future, and his thoughts on climate change. In Our Time discusses Samuel Beckett, Surrealism, and Maths in the Early Islamic World.


Kristina Kay Robinson, curator, artist and Burnaway New Orleans editor-at-large, and Ade J. Omotosho, writer and Burnaway editor-at-large, Miami, 2020 Mentors

Still from Cane River, a recently restored lost classic of American independent cinema, which focuses on the lives of Black people in Louisiana.

Rereading “Black visuality and the practice of Refusal” by Tina Campt from Women&Performance.


Listening to Sun Ra – Trying To Put The Blame on Me.


Exploring Indigenous artists who would have been shown at Indian Market, the largest showcase of Indigenous art in the US, which has been postponed due to COVID-19.


Watching Cane River on the Criterion Channel and the short films of Edward Owens.


Reading  Kamau Brathwaite’s Zea Mexican Diary.


Tausif Noor, Spiegel-Wilkes Curatorial Fellow at ICA Philadelphia, 2019 Mentor

Watching: I am trying to be more of a completist under quarantine, at least when it comes to film, a medium I am embarrassingly behind on. A couple months ago, I went through all of the films of Kelly Reichardt (slowly paced with gorgeous shots of the Pacific Northwest), then it was Éric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, and more recently, the fantastic plots of Pedro Almodóvar. What I love about the latter’s films is that no one part of the plot seems to lead logically to the other; in this, they remind me a little of the convoluted plot of say, Helen De Witt. I recommend All About My Mother (1999) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), both of which feature gorgeous fashion and interior decor.


Still from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Cooking: A ton of Italian, and variations on my mother’s Bangladeshi staples: curries, vegetable bhajis with parathas, chicken curries. I’ve been a fan of group meals that approximate brunch on weekends, preferably ones that can be made in a single skillet: tiny roasted potatoes and mushrooms with eggs baked on top, shaksoukas, pancakes. It’s fine if you eat it at 3 pm. 


Reading: I am going to finish Middlemarch despite my aborted reading group. I need to read multiple genres at once, so I’m also reading Kathi Weeks’s The Problem With Work and Julia Bryan-Wilson’s Art Workers. I was very glad to hear that my friends over at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have recently unionized. Next on my list are six novels by Colette and Henry Green’s Party Going.


Life: Helping my boyfriend garden, staring at his pet snake Goose in his tank, wrapping up my job: all things that I approach with a certain half-heartedness but then get really into in the middle of it.


Applications for Art Writing Incubator 2020 are due June 1st! Apply here.