Joseph Grigely

  • “Infinite Ear”

    Several years ago, during a meeting in a Paris café, Grégory Castéra and Sandra Terdjman asked me how being deaf offered different ways of hearing sound, and how sound’s absence creates an invitation to reconceive the sonic field. The result of our conversation and further curatorial research is titled “Infinite Ear,” an exhibition that perceives hearing disabilities as enabling—not disabling—and turns the museum into a sensorium of reimagined sound. This newest incarnation of their project—a version was presented at the Bergen Assembly

  • Pierre Bismuth, Following the Right Hand of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, 2007, marker on Plexiglas over C-print, 32 × 49". From the series “Following the Right Hand of,” 2007–.


    AUDREY HEPBURN ON THE PHONE. It’s a quintessential image of the soundscape of daily life. She waves her hand through the air as she talks, punctuating every word with a gesture, embodying language as a physical act. What makes this so special is the fact that it’s sound we see, not sound we hear.

    The soundscape is expansive. It’s everywhere. People, dogs, birds, trees, cars, radios, rain, Jimi Hendrix spilling out of a boom box, Adele leaking out of headphones, Thomas the Tank Engine chortling from a Kindle—it’s an immeasurable and unholy mix of frequencies, both heard and beyond hearing,

  • Portrait of Sanford Friedman in Richard Howard’s library, New York. Photo: David Alexander.

    Sanford Friedman’s Conversations with Beethoven

    Conversations with Beethoven, by Sanford Friedman. New York: New York Review Books, 2014. 304 pages.

    THERE'S AN IRONIC MOMENT in J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye when the solipsistic Holden has a scheme for eliminating from his life the bother of people and conversations. It occurs at the end of the novel, just before Holden meets up with his kid sister, Phoebe, to say good-bye. He’s fed up with phonies, and he’s fed up with everyone and everything. So he sits on a park bench and concocts this plan to get away: He’ll go down to the Holland Tunnel and hitchhike far out West where it’s sunny