Writing & Talking

Writing Workshops

Workshops are free and open to artists working in any media. To apply, please submit a brief statement of interest, and the workshops you would like to attend in order of preference by Friday, October 8th at 10am to writing@theartistsinstitute.org. Space is limited. We will do our best to accommodate as many artists as possible.


Graduate Seminar

Sasha Frere-Jones is teaching a writing class this fall for graduate students in the Hunter Department of Art & Art History. We welcome you to follow along with the readings here.


Public Talks

Talks are free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and is first-come, first-served. All events take place at 132 E. 65th Street unless otherwise noted.


December 20, 3pm–6pm, RSVP

Mary Gaitskill: Favorite Stories

In this three-hour seminar, Gaitskill will talk about some of the favorite stories she’s written and about the craft of writing in general.

December 14, 7pm

Maggie Nelson & Ben Lerner

Join us for a conversation between Maggie Nelson and Ben Lerner as they discuss the relationship between their writing and visual art. Seating is limited, and first come, first served.

December 3–7, 10.30am–1.30pm, RSVP

Percival Everett: Writing Intensive

This five-day workshop will focus on the craft of writing, including style, point of view, narrative technique, and language. Participants will each submit a piece of writing for the group to workshop.

December 1, 2pm–5pm, RSVP

Ben Lerner: The Verbal and the Visual

This workshop will focus on the verbal and the visual, how writing can represent or complement or obscure visual art. Participants will submit writing for feedback from Lerner ahead of the meeting, and the group will discuss assigned readings, including the description of the Shield of Achilles in the Iliad, Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and Barbara Johnson’s essay “Muteness Envy.”

November 28, 7pm

Fred Moten & Stefano Harney: All Incomplete

Stefano Harney and Fred Moten discuss their ongoing collaboration and their new work All Incomplete. Ranging from ‘new habits of assembly,’ to logistics and logisticality, to debt and study, to violence and individuation, this talk elaborates their exploration of undercommon social life.

November 28, 3pm–6pm

Fred Moten & Stefano Harney: Deviant Complicity

In this workshop we will consider the theory and practice of deviant complicity and experiment with some protocols for the material (re)enactment of the aesthetic sociality that making art and life always bears.

November 15, 7pm

Rivka Galchen: Weird Science: Finding the Surreal in the Real

The seemingly simple project of describing reality has so often stumbled into being startling art. In this talk, we’ll consider what we as writers and artists can learn from the luminous work of varied inquirers, such as the late 19th century German naturalist Ernst Haeckel and the bantering language of 20th century mathematician Paul Erdos.

November 14, 3pm–6pm, RSVP

Rivka Galchen: Fairy Tales

In this workshop, artists will look at two short fairy tales by The Brothers’ Grimm and then assemble their own short stories from visual prompts.

November 2, 6.30pm

Hollis Frampton’s “A Lecture,” 1968

With Bill Brand, Christoph Cox, and Lucy Raven
Hunter College North Building, Room 1604

On October 30, 1968, filmmaker Hollis Frampton delivered a performance at Hunter College titled “A Lecture.” At once a film screening and a meditation on the ontology of cinema, the performance encapsulated Frampton’s conception of meta-cinema and introduced what he would later call “infinite film.” Fifty years later and in the very same room in which Frampton first presented it, the Artist’s Institute will stage a new performance of the lecture, featuring a new recording of the text by artist Lucy Raven. Following the performance, philosopher Christoph Cox will discuss the piece with the filmmaker Bill Brand—Frampton’s friend, student, and preservationist.

Please note this event takes place off-site. Directions: Enter on the north side of 68th Street, between Park and Lexington Ave. Look for the entrance marked “Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College” and follow interior signage for directions to Room 1604.

October 24, 7pm

Dan Fox: Limbo

This is a talk about getting by when you can’t get along. A talk for writers and artists who find themselves in No-Man’s Land, the Twilight Zone, the Upside Down, the wasteland, the badlands and the boonies. On the sidelines, on the bench, on hold, on standby, out-of-sync, in the wings, up the creek, in a ditch, in a fix, in a funk, in stasis.

Drawing on his new book Limbo—a memoir, a meditation on creative block, a cultural history of limbo, and companion for the isolated, delayed, stranded, stymied and those in the dark—Dan Fox considers the role that fallow periods and states of inbetween play in art. In a world that demands faith in progress and growth, what happens when you’re plain stuck? How do you get out of your own way? Questions will be asked. Answers will be stumbled over in the dark and cursed at.

October 22, 3pm–6pm, RSVP

Wayne Koestenbaum: Improvisation

In this workshop, we will muse together on strategies for incorporating improvisation into our various artistic activities.  Individually and collaboratively in the workshop we will do several improvisatory exercises and experiments. Writers and artists should bring materials with which to play, including paper, pens, drawing materials, etc.  Participants are also welcome to bring sources of inspiration for these experiments, whether scraps, objects, photographs, books, or other ephemera.

October 10, 7pm

Wayne Koestenbaum: Camp Marmalade on East 65th Street

Inspired by stanzas in his recently-published book, Camp Marmalade, the second volume of Koestenbaum’s “trance trilogy,” the poet will perform improvisatory Sprechstimme recitative, with free-style musical accompaniment—keeping open, in the evening’s séance, to the assistance of such ghosts as Charles T. Griffes, Alexandre Tansman, Germaine Tailleferre, and Witold Lutoslawski, though these invitees have not yet RSVP’d, and may decline to attend.  The poet will also project a very brief instructional video.