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In the Presence of Absence: Exhibition Closing and Publication Launch

  • EFA Project Space 323 W. 39th, 2nd floor New York, NY 10018 USA (map)

On the last day of In the Presence of Absence, we will mark its passing with a series of readings on the themes of grief and loss.

Writers and artists Raha Behnam, Erica Cardwell, TR Ericsson, Michelle García, Diane Mehta, and curator Jillian Steinhauer will share original work on grief and loss.

The event will also celebrate the release of the exhibition’s accompanying publication, designed by Partner & Partners, with essays by Michelle GarcíaJessica Lynne, and Jillian Steinhauer.

As at a wake or a shiva call, there will be refreshments and a chance to mingle and reflect.  Please join us.

About the Readers:

Raha Behnam is an Iranian-born, Canadian-raised, US-based artist; a first-generation immigrant to occupied Indigenous land. She is the daughter of Iranian artists, Darab Behnam Shabahang and Mahvash Vatankhahi. Her current work investigates the breakages and absences in knowing in regards to culture, belonging, and connection, particularly around her Iranian lineage. Raha is concerned with systems and practices for collective healing, and engaged in liberation work through community-based counseling. Last year, Raha and collaborator Mollie Moorhead launched Heirloom, a zine containing reflections on cultural loss and healing by twelve contributors.

Her performance work has been presented at venues including Danspace Project, The Knockdown Center, and Performance Studies international 2017 conference. She is a member of the Future Historical Society, lead by Yazmany Arboleda - a collective that honors the legacy of Ft. Greene, Brooklyn residents; and also a member of the Undoing & Doing Collective, instigated by Lorene Bouboushian.

Erica N. Cardwell is a writer, culture critic, and radical educator based in New York. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College and is a 2015 LAMBDA Fellow in Nonfiction. Erica teaches in the English Department at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) and a Social Justice capstone for the Gural Scholars Program at The New School. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, Rewire, Contact Sheet 187: Light Work Annual, Green Mountains Review and elsewhere. Erica is on the editorial board of Radical Teacher Journal. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife Zhaleh and their turtle, Smiley Mousa.

TR Ericsson’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad including those with Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Switzerland; Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, NY; Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY, and Harlan Levey Projects, Brussels. Ericsson’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Yale University Library (Special Collections) and the Progressive Art Collection as well numerous private collections.

“Crackle & Drag,” a ruthlessly honest, yet tender portrayal of his mother has been the subject of a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art and an award-winning monograph published by Yale University Press (2015), as well as a solo exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art (2017).

Michelle García is a journalist and essayist. She is a current Soros Equality fellow and Dobie Paisano writer-in-residence. She is working on a book about borders. She is a frequent contributor to the Oxford American and Guernica. Her work has appeared in, Guardian, The New York Times, The Baffler and numerous other publications. She reported from the New York bureau of The Washington Post and she is a former Texas correspondent for Columbia Journalism Review. Member of Pen America. She is based in Texas and New York City and you can find her at and on twitter at @pistoleraprod.

Diane Mehta’s debut poetry collection, Forest with Castanets, came out this March. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Bombay and New Jersey, Mehta studied with Derek Walcott and Robert Pinsky in the nineties and has been an editor at PEN America’s Glossolalia, Guernica and A Public Space. Her book about writing poetry was published by Barnes & Noble books in 2005. She is finishing a historical novel set in 1946 India and a collection of essays. She lives in Brooklyn.

Jillian Steinhauer is a journalist and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has appeared recently in the New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation, and The Art Newspaper, among other publications. She won the 2014 Best Art Reporting Award from the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics for her work at Hyperallergic, where she was formerly a senior editor. She writes mainly about art and politics, or the intersection of art and the world, but has been known to go on at length about cats, as in an essay commissioned for the 2015 book Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong (Coffee House Press). She received her master's in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU.