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LEGACY New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas Consortium

Cover Image:

Mary Walling Blackburn, Christian Fingers, 2016, from the Cape Breton Island articulation of the project North American Ending (2016–ongoing). Research photograph. Courtesy the artist

Presented as part of the Spring 2016 R&D Season: LEGACY

Special guests: Mary Walling Blackburn, Shonni Enelow, and Tracie Morris

LEGACY Seminar participants: Kerry Downey, Tara Hart, Christopher K. Ho, Daria Irincheeva, Kenya Johnson, Paige Laino, Peter Murray, Edward Schexnayder, Shane Aslan Selzer, Emily Shanahan, Charles Shields, Cory Tamler, Erin Thompson, Rachel Valinsky, Lauren Young, Johanna Burton, Emily Mello, and Alicia Ritson

On Monday, May 23, the participants in New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas will host a multipart public program that will grow out of the Seminar’s twelve-week investigation into the Spring 2016 R&D Season theme, LEGACY. Throughout the spring of 2016, Seminar participants have been exploring the dynamic concept of LEGACY to consider the ways and means by which our connections to the past are actively produced, evaluated, maintained, reproduced, and refuted.

For this culminating event of the LEGACY semester, artist Mary Walling Blackburn, scholar Shonni Enelow, and poet and performer Tracie Morris have each been invited to put forth an “object” of cultural production for consideration by the group and by you, our audience. These objects will serve as specific loci, focal points, or positions for exchanges of ideas that are intended to open up dialogue and lead us to a better understanding of the multiple readings and histories of LEGACY. Walling Blackburn’s chosen “object” is her text “Reluctant Interviews with Bad Workers (77 BCE–2043 ACE),” commissioned for the fourth issue of Grafters’ Quarterly (forthcoming, June 2016); Enelow has selected Ron Vawter’s 1992 performance of Roy Cohn/Jack Smith at the Performing Garage; and Morris has selected Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut, a response to which is included in her recent experimental poetry collection, handholding: 5 kinds (Kore Press, 2016).

Attendees will receive preparatory readings via email after purchasing tickets.

About the New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas: Operating as a peer-led initiative, the New Museum Seminars meet on a weekly basis to parse the Season theme through the lens of theoretical and literary texts, performances, exhibitions, and ephemera. Over the course of the semester, the group develops a joint bibliography comprising texts, artworks, and cultural ephemera that attend to the polyvalent resonances of the Season theme.


Mary Walling Blackburn was born in California and lives and works in New York. She is the founder of the Anhoek School, a pedagogical experiment, in Brooklyn, NY, and WMYN, a pirate feminist radio station. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Sala Diaz, San Antonio, TX; University Arts Gallery, University of California San Diego; testsite, Austin, TX; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco; among other locations. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and events both nationally and internationally, at venues including Art in General, New York; SculptureCenter, New York; the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY; Tate Modern, London; 1a space, Kowloon, Hong Kong; the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin; the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Walling Blackburn’s work and writing have been featured in publications including Afterall, BOMB, Cabinet, and e-flux journal.

Shonni Enelow is an assistant professor of English at Fordham University and the author of Method Acting and Its Discontents: On American Psycho-Drama (Northwestern University Press, 2015). She has recently published articles on the literary aesthetics of performance documentation (in Theater, 2013), and James Baldwin’s dramatic literature (in Theatre Survey, 2012), and is coauthor, with Una Chaudhuri, of Research Theatre, Climate Change, and the Ecocide Project (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Recently, Enelow’s other writings have appeared in Reverse Shot, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Aufgabe. She holds a BFA in Theater from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor, and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York; Silent Barn, New York; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, New York; and the Drawing Center, New York; among other galleries and museums. In 2013, she presented a poetry session as part of Thomas Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument commission for Dia Art Foundation. She leads her own eponymous band and is a lead singer for Elliott Sharp’s group, Terraplane. Morris is the author of handholding: 5 kinds (Kore Press, 2016); Rhyme Scheme (Zasterle Press, 2012); Intermission (Soft Skull Press, 1998); and Chap-T-her Won (TM Ink, 1993); among others. She has contributed to and been written about in several anthologies of literary criticism including: The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (Fence Books, 2015); The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015); What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America (University of Alabama Press, 2015); The &NOW AWARDS 3: The Best Innovative Writing (Northwestern University Press, 2015); I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing By Women (Les Figues Press, 2012); eco language reader (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs and Nightboat Books, 2010); American Women Poets in the 21st Century (Wesleyan University Press, 2002); and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (University of Michigan Press, 2002). She is coeditor, with Charles Bernstein, of Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press, 2016). Morris is Professor, Humanities & Media Studies, at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.


New Museum Seminars are made possible through the generous lead support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Generous endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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