New Open Letters

October 15, 2022–January 15, 2023

Marcel Broodthaers
Octavia Butler
York Chang
Natalie Diaz
Sam Durant
Studio Ercan-Li
Bean Gilsdorf
[hidden track]
Vincent Johnson
Jin Lee
Hirsch Perlman
Sreshta Rit Premnath
Abigail Ramsay
Kathryn Scanlan
Roberto Tejada
Simon Wu





Broodthaers Society of America
520 West 143rd Street
New York, New York 10031

Over the summer, the Broodthaers Society of America acquired sixteen of Marcel Broodthaers’ Open Letters, a string of missives he composed and mailed as the founding Director of the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles. By turns poetic, political, and elegiac, Broodthaers’ Open Letters announced the ambition of his fledgling institution and probed its affective relationship to the wider world.

To celebrate this acquisition, we’ve asked sixteen American artists and writers to compose “new” open letters, letters that will honor the influence of Broodthaers’ original documents by taking up the mantle of speaking to the world now, in 2022.

The show will open on Saturday, October 15th, with Broodthaers’ Open Letters presented in chronological order — an aspect of the form that was very important to him. Over the ensuing sixteen weeks, we will mail out a new open letter by a different artist every week and add one copy of the letter to the exhibition. By January 15th 2023, all sixteen New Open Letters will have joined Broodthaers’ originals in a culminating exhibition, just in time for the 118th United States Congress.

The New Open Letters will be typeset on an IBM Selectric II typewriter and risograph-printed in an unnumbered edition of 116 copies. Of these, one copy will join the gallery exhibition, three copies will enter the archive, and sixteen copies will be mailed to the participating artists. Another 16 copies will be mailed to friends of the artists, and the remaining 80 copies will be mailed to a subscription list. If you would like to receive this unnumbered, snail-mail edition of the New Open Letters, at cost, subscribe here.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS (b. Brussels, Belgium), was a poet, conceptual artist, and museum director
*OCTAVIA BUTLER (b. Pasadena, 1947–2006), was a groundbreaking science fiction writer
YORK CHANG (b. St. Louis) is a trained lawyer and conceptual artist working in Los Angeles
*NATALIE DIAZ (b. Needles, California) is a poet and associate professor at Arizona State University
SAM DURANT (b. Seattle) is a conceptual artist and sculptor working in Berlin
BEAN GILSDORF (b. Philadelphia) is an artist and writer working in Portland
VINCENT JOHNSON (b. Cleveland) is a research-based artist working in Cleveland and Los Angeles
JIN LEE (b. Seoul, South Korea) is a photographer and professor at Illinois State University in Normal
STUDIO ERCAN-LI (b. Brooklyn) is a design studio founded by Nazli Ercan and Eric Li
HIRSCH PERLMAN (b. Chicago) is a conceptual artist working in Los Angeles and a professor at UCLA
SRESHTA RIT PREMNATH (b. Bengaluru, India) is a conceptual artist working in New York and an assistant professor at Parsons the New School
ABIGAIL RAMSAY (b. London, England) is a Fulbright fellow and theatre professional working in New York City
*KATHRYN SCANLAN (b. Iowa) is a writer working in Los Angeles
ROBERTO TEJADA (b. Los Angeles) is a poet and the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston
SIMON WU (b. Yangon, Myanmar) is a curator, writer, and doctoral student at Yale University

*designates an existing text that has been reimagined as an open letter. The Butler excerpt is from an interview with Randall Kenan (1990). The Diaz poem is from her collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). The Scanlan excerpt is from her found text work, AUG 9—FOG (2019).