Engaging Art: Essays and Interviews from Around the Globe
This book explores the tangled texture of the art world, a curious and mysterious space. In 60 essays, drawn from around the globe, it reveals new dimensions about how artists make their art, resist censorship and retain an independent, creative spirit.
The essays ask and answer several crucial questions: How do artists in Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin and South America find space to live and work? How do artists follow their talent to make and exhibit original art in a politicized world where artistic freedom is often limited? How do smaller artistic venues survive the economic pressures and competition in the art market?
Focusing on under-the-radar subjects, the reports, interviews, and essays illuminate the pain and pleasures of artistic production and the challenges faced by artists, curators, and gallerists.
Roslyn Bernstein is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She holds a PhD in English Literature, and was the founding Director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program at Baruch College. She is the author of Boardwalk Stories, a collection of 14 fictional tales set from 1950 to 1970, and the co-author of Illegal Living: 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo, written jointly with the architect Shael Shapiro. Since the 1980s, she has been reporting from around the globe for such print publications as the New York Times, Newsday, the Village Voice, New York Magazine, Parents, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has also reported for various online publications, including Medium, Tablet, Huffington Post, and Guernica, focusing primarily on cultural reporting and contemporary art, with in-depth interviews of artists, curators, and gallerists.
“Roslyn Bernstein takes you around the world in this collection, from SoHo to Vietnam, from Jerusalem to Costa Rica, and it’s a delightfully personal tour. The emphasis always is on the artists and their work, but along the way you develop a feel for your guide: her life, her politics, and most of all her passion. This is a rich and rewarding book, animated by its author’s hungry eye.”
Author, Amsterdam and The Island at the Center of the World
“In this collection of astonishing scope, Roslyn Bernstein delves into archives, exhibits, the built environment, and the lively characters who create them. She keenly engages the creativity that enriches, probes, and inspires the world.”
Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
“Cultural critic Roslyn Bernstein writes about arts from around the world - from Israel to Poland to Cuba and across the United States. But her special focus is lower Manhattan, where she has lived and taught for decades. Her smart, wide-ranging, and insightful new book collects 60 of her essays, several of which touch on Jewish subjects. Among them are three pieces that originally appeared in Tablet, about a bungalow colony in the Catskills, the Educational Alliance’s history and present on the Lower East Side, and Abraham Lincoln’s Jewish connections.”
The Tablet, July 2020
“An enlightening look at poet Allen Ginsberg's photography. A somber visit to museums in Krakow, Poland, not far from Auschwitz. A wide-ranging talk with Kenya-born artist Wangechi Mutu in her Brooklyn studio. The art essays collected here were written by Bernstein over the past decade for such publications as Guernica and Tablet, and include pieces reported in Cuba, Scandinavia, Vietnam and Israel.”
Brandeis Magazine, 2020
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