Author Archives: Raphael Rubinstein

The Miraculous: Houston

Heather Bause and Raphael Rubinstein’s “The Miraculous: Houston,” debuts at 2017 CounterCurrentFestival.

Feats of endurance, acts of absurdist wit, public actions that confront political repression and racism, celebrations of the natural world, accidental moments of revelation. All this and more can be found at 50 locations where chapters of this site-specific installation are placed throughout the campus of the University of Houston.

Taken from Raphael Rubinstein’s book The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014), short stories—from one sentence to several paragraphs, recounting acts from the past fifty years of avant-garde and contemporary art—are documented at unexpected spots and in unexpected ways. Visual artist Heather Bause inserts these narratives into the interior and exterior architecture and landscape of the University of Houston campus using large-scale building graphics, outdoor canvases, and vinyl “pages” affixed to paths and stairways.

Whether guided by a map or encountered by chance, viewers can expect to encounter and participate in the transformation of the University of Houston campus into an innovative conceptual art installation.

The website features a virtual map and location finder. Physical maps are also available at all CounterCurrent festival venues.

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“The Active Voice: 12 Poems on Contemporary Art”

The June/July 2013 issue of Art in America featured a portfolio I edited of poems by 12 writers responding to works of contemporary art. It also includes my introduction, where I discuss  the changing relations between the worlds of poetry and art, and provide background for the poems in this mini-anthology. The oldest poem included  (the late Jim Brodey’s “Joan Mitchell”) is meant as a bridge to New York School Poetry.

Cover of Jim Brodey, Heart of the Breath: Poems 1979-1992, Hard Press, 1996, with Joan Mitchell's "Chord I" (1986).

Cover of Jim Brodey, Heart of the Breath: Poems 1979-1992, Hard Press, 1996, with Joan Mitchell’s “Chord I” (1986).

The Active Voice: 12 Poems on Contemporary Art

Poets – Artists included:

Kevin Young – Jean-Michel Basquiat; Norma Cole – Hélio Oiticica; Jim Brodey – Joan Mitchell; Mei-mei Berssenbrugge – Bruce Nauman; Mary Jo Bang – Doris Salcedo; Clayton Eshleman – Leon Golub; Mónica de la Torre – Dorothea Tanning; Marjorie Welish; Vincent Katz – John Moore; Christopher Stackhouse; Kenneth Goldsmith – Damien Hirst; Charles Bernstein – Amy Sillman

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“The Miraculous” Installation at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

4 June – 31 August 2016
Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm

An exhibition relocating the works and lives of the following artists, to the spaces of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop:

Bas Jan Ader, Joseph Beuys, Joseph Grigely, David Hammons, Helmut Heissenbüttel, Alison Knowles, John Latham, Lee Lozano, Marta Minujín, Daniel Spoerri, Cindy Sherman and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.

In an unusual text-and-architecture experiment, New York-based poet and critic Raphael Rubinstein will work with designers Maeve Redmond and Sophie Dyer to transpose short narratives from his book The Miraculous into an installation that permeates the spaces of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Episodes, both legendary and obscure, taken from the artistic avant-garde from the last five decades will reside along studio corridors, within communal spaces and on exterior walls, relocating a range of historic and contemporary artworks onsite via the imaginative space of writing.

Text about David Hammons in "The Miraculous" at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, 2016.

Text about David Hammons in “The Miraculous” at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, 2016.

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“The Silo” at Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, Dec 10, 2015 – Feb. 6, 2016

Participating Artists:

Valerio Adami, Mary Bauermeister, Gene Beery, Biala, James Bishop, Norman Bluhm, Jonathan Borofsky, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, James Collins, René Daniëls, Karin Davie, Noël Dolla, Melvin Edwards, Llyn Foulkes, Paul Georges, Rachel Hecker, Shirley Jaffe, Carmengloria Morales, Stephen Mueller, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Maya Sachweh, Daniel Spoerri, George Sugarman, Nahum Tevet, Gwenn Thomas, Richard Van Buren

installation view of "The Silo" at Garth Greenan, New York, 2015.

installation view of “The Silo” at Garth Greenan, New York, 2015.

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Collaborative poem-painting inspired by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy

Painting as a Nonprofessional Experiment (2014, latex on canvas, 8 by 6 feet) is a painting by Heather Bause that revises a poem by Raphael Rubinstein that itself is a slightly edited (“poem” replacing “band”) transcription of an interview with James Murphy about his band LCD Soundsystem.

Painting (not Poetry)_small reproduction printing image copy



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Reading of “A Geniza” in Houston, April 10, 2016



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Poem about The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce

From my unpublished collection Dead Troubadours, this poem (composed exclusively of YouTube comments) about the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce, posted on the 20th anniversary of his death.


Jeffrey Lee Pierce


Who was in the band at this time?

On bass it’s his Japanese girlfriend (or wife?), Nori.

Romi Mori…im not sure if they ever got married..

i heard she broke his heart though..


my band supported them in 1984 here in Adelaide.

Always remember Patricia’s handshake

being firmer than JLP’s.

They had half of the Johnnys in the band

as a couple from Gun Club weren’t let into Oz.

Awesome…and sorely missed.


I meant that I met him in ’86 at Manchester gig

when he was promoting his solo album..

I was hungover for two days afterward!


I met jeffrey at the electric ballroom once,

he was really cool, a gent,

one of the great vocalists without being a real singer

if you know what I mean

all that in tune rubbish you get now,

underrated guitarist by a mile. RIP


Well he didn’t o.d. He died of a brain aneurysm,

and I believe he was trying really hard

to stay away from drugs when he died.

I heard he still drank a lot, but don’t you drink a lot too?

What’s your vice?


This was in 1986….We had access to the ‘rider’.

I mixed spirits that night…Not touched them since!


am sad he’s gone. Thank you for posting this.


they were my favourite favourite band in the eighties.

I used to put their records on at teeny-bopper parties

and clear the dancefloor.

Today’s kids seem a lot more receptive to this kind of stuff,

which is one of the sadder aspects of Pierce bowing out early.

He might have made some money at last.

Meanwhile, his friend Nick Cave

goes on to film scripts, model wife etc.

But he’s a cartoon character by comparison.

Pierce was the true genius, musically and lyrically.


Jeffrey Lee Pierce died of liver failure in the nineties

because of America’s disgrace of a healthcare system.


Jeff was a great guitarist.

I met him at the hammersmith arms

and we talked about the league of nations.

My dad was in a japanese camp and his gal was japanese.

We went to his flat and he talked alot about hendrix,

basically I think he was intrigued with playing off the 3rd or 4th

and looking to tear into all our blues.miss ya jeff…


Jeff is the best i had see the at Rodon club Athens in 1987 great!!!!


I wish I could have seen this band live.


He may not be as great as Ian Curtis but how is that relevant to anything?



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included in Best American Poetry 2015

Poem Begun on a Train” is among the poems chosen by Sherman Alexie in Best American Poetry 2015. The poem previously appeared in Harper’s Magazine.

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Review of “The Miraculous” in Bomb Magazine

The Summer 2015 issue of Bomb Magazine includes a review, both imprint and online, by Anthony Graves of The Miraculous. Graves writes that “the book gestures toward a kind of restitution of the subject of art (the artist) while today so many narratives merely gesture at the transformation of artists into human capital.” You can read the entire review here.

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Granary Books publishes “A Geniza”

Granary Books has just published A Geniza, a fragmented “poem in a box” that delves into the history of the city of Cairo as a multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan and contested site. The presiding presences of the poem are  Edmond Jabès, Uum Kalsoum, Waguih Ghali and Maurice Blanchot. Each copy of the edition, which is limited to 40 copies, includes 108 fragments individually printed letterpress on more than a dozen different papers accompanied by a 36-page pamphlet containing an introduction, which details the context and compositional process of the poem; biographical and bibliographical notes on the sources of the work; and the first printing of a provisional ordering of the poem based on one reading of the fragments.

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