The Voyage of The Sable Venus / Rescuing Water-Damaged Textiles during the Los Angeles Riots

Selected by Paige Laino

Last meeting, we discussed what I’m sure everyone else getting this email was also talking about that Friday. I don’t see the necessity in naming names, nor is it my intent to fan flames that, hopefully by next meeting, will have been reduced to embers or engulfed the whole house. But I do feel that, rather than continuing the arduous process of parsing the intent of individual actors, the dialogue must be expanded outward. 

The weeks of silence from any party that could provide actions, answers, or even simply acknowledgement has demonstrated, to me, the uniquely sequestered position that institutions, and those with institutional backing, can enjoy. Throughout the discussions that this silence has let fester and foment, a refrain as emerged: “we’ve been here before.”

Have we been here before? Who has been here before–the art, the resistance, or the institution? To address these questions I’ve selected two texts that address both specific and broad examples of institutional isolation. 

  • The Voyage of The Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis, Prologue (attached)
    Full text here:

  • Rescuing Water-Damaged Textiles during the Los Angeles Riots by Dubravka Turkovic-Kiseljev from the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 1995) (attached)

The meeting will be Friday, April 7th, 6:30PM
at the Skowhegan office, 136 W. 22nd Street

For this meeting, please have prepared a response, either a (min 100 word) text or image. 

And snacks, if you’re so inclined. 


#iammuslima / Cultural Representation & Signifying Practices

Selected by Baseera Khan (A '14)

March 3

Special conversation at Participant Inc. with Baseera about her show #iamamuslima.

March 24

Here is a brief article to read before coming into Friday's session. Please also read Hannah Blacks statement to the Whitney Museum. These are very brief texts, as I know we only have a few days before we meet.

Bring in breif statements of your own to share with the group, at least 100 words of how you feel about the subjugation of all sides of this complex issue.

Please familiarize yourself with the work in question, but more importantly the person who was used in the painting.

I am reading thru a Stuart Hall text on issues of representation to help guide the conversation, if you have time to skim the text a link.

If any of you want to skim this text please do, but please take a bit of time to write how you feel and read the Guardian article above, and Hannah Black's letter.


Selected by Ander Mikalson (A '12) (with help)

We had originally planned for our first meeting to attend a performance by the loved & missed reading-group-regular Ander and her collaborator Carey Denniston, but it was rescheduled. It is now this Friday and Saturday at Kate Werble Gallery (more info). 

Ander and Carey compiled a booklet of essays to accompany the exhibition—and, in Ander's words, "It's hard to find tools for dismantling these deeply entrenched systems and these texts have helped us." While all the texts are valuable (I felt the last one in particular was really helpful), it's probably too much for one week. 

For the next meeting we will be reading the first essay in the booklet, White Woman Feminst, which defines and deconstructs "whiteliness" in a way that can be practically useful in navigating contemporary issues with so-called allyship. 

We hope that this essay, with Ander's performance, informs and expands our ideas of "white activism," ideally in a positive, or at least productive, way. 

White Woman Feminist by Marilyn Frye
From Willful Virgin: Essays in Feminism (The Crossing Press 1992), reprinted in White Knuckle exhibition booklet compiled by Denniston Mikalson, pages 2-19 (in the PDF)

Denniston Mikalson, White Knuckle 

Kate Werble Gallery
83 Vandam Street, New York, NY
Friday, February 3rd, 6-8 PM & Saturday, February 4th, 2-6 PM

Friday, February 10, 6:00PM, 136 W. 22nd Street (basement)

please let me know if you're attending!



Paige & Haley & Ander