The Miraculous Raphael Rubinstein

Saturday 4 June 2016

‘One day a writer becomes convinced that the artistic avant-gardes of the last five decades present a tapestry of incidents as fascinating and unlikely as any collection of myths or legends. Thinking more of Kafka’s Parables than Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, he composes a series of micro-narratives celebrating the mystery and ingeniousness of these human activities which, for a lack of a better term, we call “contemporary art.”’ [1]

To coincide with the exhibition The Miraculous, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop presents a talk by Raphael Rubinstein discussing the exhibition and the book of the same name on which it is based.

In conversation with assistant curator Peter Amoore, Raphael will speak on his practice as an art critic, his relationship with the politics of representing artists and ideas on the way artworks function in language, both in writing and through conversation. The talk will be a chance to discuss The Miraculous within Raphael’s wider practice as a poet, an art critic, a teacher and an occasional curator.

[1] Raphael Rubinstein, The Miraculous, 2014, published by Paper Monument

The Miraculous is the second in the series of exhibitions, On an otherwise ordinary evening curated by Peter Amoore. Thinking through artist’s practice, the series brings together two artists and one critic engaged with the telling of stories, in attentive homages to other artists – their lives and their works – and in the imagining of improbable encounters between objects.

In April, artist and filmmaker Holly Antrum introduced the artist Jennifer Pike through the filter of her considered camera and in July objects speak after being given voice by artist and comedian Siân Robinson Davies.


Raphael Rubinstein is a New York-based poet and art critic. From 1997 to 2007 he was a senior editor at Art in America, where he continues to be a contributing editor. He is currently professor of critical studies at the University of Houston School of Art and an occasional curator. In 2002, the French government presented him with the award of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2010, his blog The Silo won a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

His numerous publications include A Geniza, Granary Books, 2015; The Afterglow of Minor Pop Masterpieces, Make Now, 2007; Critical Mess: Art Critics on the State of their Practice, Hard Press Editions, 2006; Polychrome Profusion: Selected Art Criticism 1990-2002; Hard Press Editions, 2003 and The Basement of the Café Rilké, Hard Press Editions, 1996.

The Miraculous was published by New York non-profit art press Paper Monument in 2014. Excerpts from the book have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail and The Sienese Shredder. In 2004 a French translation by writer Marcel Cohen was published by Èditions Grèges as En quête de miracle.

Recent curatorial projects include The Silo, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, 2016; Reinventing Abstraction: New York Painting in the 1980s, CHEIM & READ, New York, 2013 and Provisional Painting, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, 2011.