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John Ganz

JOHN GANZ is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn.

In Conversation


Recently, John Ganz sat down in Sebastian Black’s Brooklyn studio to talk about his recent show at C L E A R I N G. The conversation quickly turned to thoughts on art history, the limits of language, irony, and the act of painting itself. Black mixes a wry sense humor with a philosophical cast of mind and dedication to the everyday practice of painting.

Tao de France

While the doyens of French philosophy burn through textbooks on set theory and abstract algebra to keep their ontological motors running, Francois Jullien, a sinologist at University of Paris VII-Denis Diderot, has turned instead to Chinese philosophy and literature of self-cultivation to build one of the most compelling—and least talked about—bodies of work in contemporary theory.

Good-Bye To All That

Chris Kraus’s new essay collection is entitled Where Art Belongs. It is not a question, as in, “Where Does Art Belong?”;it is a categorical statement. This, added to the fact that it is released on Semiotext(e)’s recent InterventionSeries, which also includes the anarchist manifesto The Coming Insurrection, gives the reader the expectation that he is about to hear an updated cry for art to return to the barricades.

Painting: Dead and Loving It

The reports of painting’s death may have been slightly exaggerated—that is, if you please. At least that’s the kind of impression you’ll get after reading Painting, a collection of writings on painting from the past 30 years and the latest installment in MIT Press’s Documents of Contemporary Art series.

Light Out for the Territory

Huckleberry Finn was recently on display as one among a series of exhibitions based on American literature at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts; I didn’t see the exhibition, but I do intend to review the catalogue.


Patricia Albers’s new biography of Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter, follows the artist from her privileged, WASPy Chicago upbringing through her tempestuous years on the 10th Street scene to her time spent in France, where she would face a gradual physical and emotional decline but probably achieved her most lasting artistic triumphs.

JAMES CASTLE: Show and Store

I can’t remember being as excited by an art book as I was by James Castle: Show and Store. The reproductions are gorgeous, and the work catalogued within—from a show of Castle’s work at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Spain—is eminently inspiring and moving.

Bubbles: Spheres, Volume I: Microspherology

Sloterdijk’s concern in Spheres is the same as every German philosopher since Kant: What is humanity in the condition of modernity? That is to say: What is humanity without the all-encompassing presence of religion, whose persistence in the modern world is either ineffectually subcultural or violently retrograde, and, in any case, is clearly incapable of offering a satisfying universal?


The first thing that you’ll be sure to notice upon picking up Joshua Abelow’s Painter’s Journal for the first time is that it’s impossible to put down. The overall effect of the book is something equal parts irresistible and nauseating. And probably best compared to eating a bag of potato chips.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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