Michael Newman
Writer in Residence

Michael Newman and Esa Kirkkopelto.

Michael Newman is Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Among his current projects is a long essay on measure, measurement and the unmeasurable, which is at the interface or art, science and ethics. He has used the residency at the Mahler & LeWitt studios to bring this to fruition whilst also initiating a new project, working with his collaborator Esa Kirkkopelto, stemming from the work of Sol LeWitt. Newman says:

Sitting in the Torre Bonomo, the Sol LeWitt studio and the apartment opposite the Palazzo Comunale, we have taken Sol LeWitt’s drawings – on walls and in posters – as an inspiration and starting point for our conversations. These ranged from measurement to measure, through line, point, diagram, gesture, and colour. We considered the drawing as a whole as a gesture, how the diagram is a kind of gesture where all points are potential, and how the drawing potentialises the wall. What does it mean that the operations that produce the work lead to something to be contemplated: what is the relation between the sequence of operations and the viewer’s experience of the work as a whole. We discussed what we considered to be a shift from a work that could be exhaustive and totalised, to an ‘open work’. We thought about how LeWitt’s works are art, how this involves an ascesis, and how his work involves a relation to infinity.

Newman holds degrees in English Literature and Art History, and a PhD in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He has published numerous essays on modern and contemporary artists, including Tacita Dean, as well as thematic essays on the wound, the horizon, contingency, memory, drawing, and nonsense. His most recent essays are ‘The Long and the Short of It: boredom after the end of the great boredom’, in On Boredom, Rye Dag Holmboe and Susan Morris (eds.), (London: UCL Press, 2021); ‘Sensation and the Measure of Timbre: Florian Hecker’s Resynthese FAVN Revisiting Mallarmé’s Scene’ in Florian Hecker: Halluzination, Perspektive, Synthese (Sternberg Press & Kunsthalle Wien, 2019), and ‘Decapitations: the portrait, the anti-portrait … and what comes after?’ in Anti-Portraiture: Challenging the limits of the Portrait, Kirstie Imber and Fiona Johnstone (eds.), (London: Bloomsbury, 2020). He is the author of the books Richard Prince Untitled (couple) (2006), Jeff Wall: Works and Writings (2007), Price, Seth (2010) and ‘Stuart Brisley: Performing the Political Body and Eating Shit’ in Stuart Brisley (2015). He is co-editor of Rewriting Conceptual Art (1999) and The State of Art Criticism (2007). The exhibitions he has curated include Tacita Dean at York University, Toronto, and with Robin Klassnik Revolver2 at Matt’s Gallery, London. He is the co-curator of the exhibition FIGURE/S: Drawing After Bellmer at The Drawing Room, London, 2021. His essay ‘Hans Bellmer: Thresholds’ has appeared in the companion volume ON FIGURE/S (London: Ma Bibliothèque, 2021).