Welcome to our second annual American issue, which kicks off our more leisurely summer schedule. The idea is that this edition will take a little time to digest – long reads for long summer evenings.
This country and its culture have, for many years, held a deep fascination for me. As a child endlessly impressed by its diet of Pop culture, I determined to move here as soon as possible. Now an immigrant, I am more invested than ever in the complexities of American culture—its openness and energy, its pride and hidden histories.
It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with so many people we admire on this special issue, and we hope you will enjoy their insights. They have each looked at this country through the prism of its art—from the American West to American protest; from motherhood to female sexuality. The contributions take different forms, including our first ever playlist (of Southern Soundscapes) and a powerful photo essay on the legacy of segregation. Some writers have focused on the constantly shifting definitions of who exactly constitutes the American people—from representation in museums to the reminder that America is both North and South—while others have explored the work of singular American artists.
We are grateful to the artist Richard Prince; to the curators Alison Gingeras, Maya Benton and Jeffreen Hayes; to Jay Levenson (director, MoMA’s international program), Naima Keith (deputy director of the California African American Museum) and Trevor Schoonmaker (deputy director at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University); to the critics Antwaun Sargent and Jonathan Griffin; to Professor Esther Gabara; to Art Agency, Partners’ Ed Tang; and to our regular contributors Christian Viveros-Fauné and Pablo Helguera.