Press Release: “Writing in the Dark”

 Graduate Center James Gallery Moves from Visual to Verbal in New Spring Series

"Writing in the Dark," a series of readings, talks and videos by poets, novelists, critics and anthropologists, kicks off the Amie and Tony James Gallery’s spring project, which opens the gallery for conversation, screenings and performance. Beginning February 12 and running through April 23, Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch have organized three events based on their Interdisciplinary Transcriptions, a 1,036-page anthology of interviews, photos, lectures, collages, drawings, diaries, scholarly articles, blogs and other writings. The James Gallery is located on the first floor of the Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets).

“In the spirit of exploration and experiment that inspired our recent series of artist projects, collectively titled People ‘Weekly’, this spring we will host a variety of performance events that use the James Gallery as an interactive social space,” said Linda Norden, the gallery's director. “Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch's ‘Writing in the Dark’ grew from their interest in ‘transcriptions,’ or the appropriations and translations of work from one medium to another. Cotner and Fitch have reconfigured the text-based entries they assembled for their on-line journal and invited key contributors to enact their transcriptions especially for the James Gallery.”
"Writing in the Dark":
February 12, 7:30 p.m.
Lee Ann Brown
will read poems written in the dark at movie screenings, music concerts and other events. Elaine Equi will present pieces from "Cinema Tarot," a poetic project she began by photographing images on her TV screen. Richard Kostelanetz will discuss his film Epiphanies, which he describes as "a large collection of single-sentence stories" And Dennis Tedlock will translate Mayan hieroglyphs contained in 2000 Years of Mayan Literature.
February 19, 7:30 p.m.
Bruce Andrews
will relive his 2006 confrontation with Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, playing an "Outrage of the Week" video segment. Wayne Koestenbaum will offer a medley of poems and prose. Wendy Steiner will introduce her opera The Loathly Lady, based on Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath's Tale." And Reva Wolf will discuss theft and appropriation in the work of Ted Berrigan.
April 23, 7:30 p.m.
David Antin
, returning to New York from San Diego, will improvise a talk-poem (a home grown medium in which he has worked for more than three decades). Charles Bernstein will read pieces from a forthcoming book of criticism. And Lynne Tillman will present old, middle and new work, mixing reflections on art with a story or two.
Other spring events include:
Cultural Power: Art
March 3, 7:00 p.m.
Peggy Ahwesh & Eileen Myles in Conversation
The James Gallery collaborates with the Center for the Humanities' Great Issues Forum to present filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh and poet & novelist Eileen Myles in an intimate discussion about art and power. Ahwesh's many experimental films and videos include The Third Body, The Star Eaters and Martina's Playhouse. She is Associate Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College. Myles's books include the novel Cool for You and the poems Sorry, Tree. Her collection of essays on art, poetry and queer issues, The Importance of Being Iceland, is forthcoming from MIT/Semiotexte.
A new series of "Walk-By Movies," visible (and audible!) from the street only. The "walk-by" film series on view beginning in March attempts an urban variation on the drive-in theater, allows a rethinking of the problem of screening films in a gallery context, and exploits the extended hours available to a gallery visible from the street.

An encore screening with Thomas Torres Cordova of his film, Everybody Loves the Sunshine.

The presentation of Ed Ruscha's film, Premium, and a conversation  with writer/performer and longtime Ed Ruscha friend Mason Williams, whose 1964 story How to Derive the Maximum Enjoyment from Crackers was the basis for Ruscha's photo novel, Crackers, and the subsequent 1972, 16 mm film, Premium.

Interdisciplinary Transcriptions
, was published as an issue of Intervalles, an electronic review put out by the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée at the Université de Liège, Belgium.  It can be viewed online at  

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: FEB 1, 2009

Category: James Gallery | Press Room