Tan Lin
Luis Camnitzer

Discussing the binds between form, content and context that shape the impact of public language.

Luis Camnitzer is an artist and writer. His work ranges from gallery installations to cultural criticism. His work explores systems of power, ideologies of education, and the public value of art through an overtly political model of Conceptualism. Tan Lin is a poet and artist. His work ranges from fiction writing to video, from ‘ambient literature’ to memoir. His work explores the hybridity of cultural experiences through personal, material and technical processes of recall. Together, they discussed the binds between form, content and context that shape the impact of public language.

Each Public Event was an open conversation. So we could start those conversations with some shared understanding of how each speaker has explored the cross-overs between sculpture and poetry in relation to their event's topic, we asked them to suggest a recent project for preparatory watching/reading/listening.

Luis Camnitzer wrote a new, short essay titled, ‘Henry Moore Would Have Understood’. It recalls the impact of a passing comment made by Henry Moore about asymmetry, and the role language came to play in artworks that aim to make something happen in the viewer’s mind. It distances his own conceptual approach from any tradition of ‘the poetic’, instead staking it in the search for the essence of what is poetic beyond any prescribed form such as ‘poetry’.

Read the full essay here.

Tan Lin nominated an experimental video work he made in 2002, titled 11 Minute Painting. The work folds together the aesthetic of a desktop presentation, automated speech and data visualisations with a verbal enquiry into why paintings are mute. It uses time-based media to make a blue painting that speaks in the name of a poem and the form of a slide show.

Watch and listen to the full video here, courtesy of the artist and PennSound, Philadelphia.

Commissioned WritingCorridor8

The Ideal Work of Art is a Hyperrealist Linear Narrative

Read in Full

A prose-poem about selfhood, fear and reading, which explores the authorial process and the tension between constraints that are creative and those enforced by life circumstances, written by Jazmine Linklater.

Responsive commissions supported by Arts Council England.

Related Resources


None of the Art Stuff Makes Sense Anymore

Luis Camnitzer interviewed by Rachel Weiss, discussing art education, Latin America and his belief in productive anarchy, published by ArRTMargins Journal in 2021.


New York Graphic Workshop

A narrative history of the New York Graphic Workshop, which was co-founded by Luis Camnitzer in 1964, written by Sophie Halart for Tate Research Publication, 2018.


The Mediocrity of Beauty

Illustrated bilingual (EN/ES) catalogue PDF for Luis Camnitzer's solo exhibition 'The Mediocrity of Beauty' at Alexander Gray Associates (New York) in 2015.


The Edge of Summer Cleans Autumn

Tan Lin's experimental HTML poem for screen from 1998, hosted on UBUweb.


A False Accounting

Tan Lin's experimental autofiction work, 'A False Accounting', published in the April 2016 issue of Brooklyn Rail.


Archive of Readings, Discussions and Video Work

An archive of Tan Lin's readings, discussions and some experimental video work on PennSound, from 1995 to the present day.


A Book is a Technology

Tan Lin interviewed by Angela Genussa in 2012 for Rhizome, discussing the technologies of inscription and publishing in his practice, from PowerPoint to street chalk.



Tan Lin's short-form poem 'Linguistics', published in the summer 2017 issue of Poetry Magazine.


Last Words

An extensive essay on Luis Camnitzer's use of words and quotation in his art work, by Patrick Greaney, published in the Germanic Review, 2014, available here as a PDF direct download.


Poema Colectivo Revolución

A dicussion about poetry, mail art and politics between Luis Camnitzer and Alexander Alberro about the exhibition 'Poema Colectivo Revolución', curated by Camnitzer at the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (New York) in 2021.