New York

Jack Risley


The only thing more gratuitous than making art is talking about it, and there’s something beautiful in that. In a recent Vogue memoir of his friend Francis Bacon, John Russell expressed dismay at the meager attention Bacon paid to his commentary: “‘It’s very good,’ he [Bacon] would say when one had knocked oneself out over this exhibition or that . . . ‘but, after all, what is there to say?’” When the work is working, it evokes silence, when it doesn’t, words can’t fix it. “There is no sexual relation,” according to Jacques Lacan, and there is no relation between art and art writing.

By persisting in his focus on the cardboard carton, Jack Risley is evolving a rich, expressive, nonverbal language. I’ll omit interpretation of the carton as statement about the object as empty container and cipher reflecting the spectator’s meaning or meaninglessness, Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes, fear of

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