The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting

This fall, e-flux celebrated Barry Schwabsky’s (SFSIA co-director) new book is The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting (Sternberg Press), a wide-ranging collection of essays emphasizing the coextensive work of artist and viewer in constructing meaning. Additionally, Carol Szymanski presented Acquiescence, a rumination in images and text on the interplay of power and gender in corporate life, which is the source for her current exhibition “He Said I Thought” at signs and symbols gallery, for which this event also served as the finissage.

Joining Barry and Carol was a group of friends who will each give a brief reading or performance: Rachel Corbett, Katherine Faw, Richard Hell, Joan Jonas, Simone Kearney (Alum Berlin ’19), Sophie Seita (Faculty Berlin ’18), Lane Shiotayonii (Alum NYC ’19), and John Yau (Faculty Berlin ’18).


In The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting, poet and critic Barry Schwabsky looks at the different directions that painting has taken since the turn of the millennium.

He deflates the twentieth-century belief that abstraction and figuration in painting are dichotomous. Instead, Schwabsky argues, they are methods of asking or answering the questions: What is painting? What can painting become in an observer’s encounter with it?



Sunday, November 17, 9pm
Bar Laika
224 Greene Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238