An Evening of Readings: The Clamor of Ornament

Please join us for an evening of conversation and readings with Shola von Reinhold, McKenzie Wark, Olivia McKayla Ross, Chloë Bass, and Clarivel Ruiz, presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Clamor of Ornament. Centered on the multilayered theme of ornament, the event will include readings by each of the participants.


Shola von Reinhold will read from Reactions to Ornament—a series of thoughts, notes, and reactions commissioned by The Drawing Center on the occasion of the exhibition—as well as readings from her debut novel LOTE, which won the James Tait Black Prize and Republic of Consciousness Prize in the UK in 2021.

Author McKenzie Wark will speak on the topic of ornament and crime. In her words, “In a famous essay called "Ornament and Crime," Adolf Loos gave the game away: that modernist design contains within it a police action, and as with many police actions, where he says ‘crime’ he really means blackness. This was a hard lesson for me, not least as I'm the child of a modernist architect who learned about Le Corbusier quite literally at a father's knee. But the modernist canon had a Black window in its white facade: Black music. To the extent that I have learned to undo the white modernist box in which I was raised, it along a line that passes through jazz, and—strange as it might sound—techno.” Wark is the author, among other things, of Capital is Dead (Verso), Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotexte) and Philosophy for Spiders (Duke). Her book Raving will be published by Duke in Spring 2023.

Olivia McKayla Ross is a Caribbean American video artist, programmer, and poet from Queens, New York City. Her work is inspired by the relationship between electronic video and vanity--by deep fantasy, Instagram filters, glamour magic, mirrors, and the fantasies and anxieties of video transmission: immersion, absorption, surveillance, and control. She hopes her practice as a “cyber” doula will encourage her generation to nurture a critical relationship with technology. Olivia is a recent alum of the School for Poetic Computation and has taught at Black Girls Code, BUFU, POWRPLNT, Ethel’s Club, and Pioneer Works. Her work has been featured in Well Now WTF, Transfer Gallery, Bitch Media, Refinery 29, i-D UK, and i-D Italy.

Chloë Bass is a multiform conceptual artist working in performance, situation, conversation, publication, and installation. Her work uses daily life as a site of deep research to address scales of intimacy: where patterns hold and break as group sizes expand. Her projects have appeared nationally and internationally, including recent exhibits at The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Mass MoCA, Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, BAK basis voor actuele kunst, the Knockdown Center, the Kitchen, the Brooklyn Museum, CUE Art Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the James Gallery, and elsewhere.

Clarivel Ruiz (we, us, you) child of the African and Indigenous Diaspora, parents from Ayiti Kiskeya (aka Hispaniola, aka the Dominican Republic and Haiti), raised in NYC on the ancestral bones and covered shrines of the Lenape people. Clarivel is an interdisciplinary artist. We make art to honor the truth of Black Indigenous people whose histories are marginalized, subverted, and consigned to the fringes of memory. In 2016 we initiated Dominicans Love Haitians Movement to celebrate our commonalities, developing our artist-activists practice through Culture Push's Utopian Fellowship & Hemispheric Institute's EmergeNYC program. In addition, we participated in the Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matters performance group that developed work for Simon Lee's gallery exhibit at the New Museum. And the Brooklyn Museum's closing event, We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985. Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative worked as an Associate Artist for Ebony Golden's 125th Street and Freedom showcased through The National Black Theatre. We participated in the Civic Practice Seminar at The Met and, in 2020, conducted a public performance called "Super Human 91", attaching 91 pieces of sugar cane to protest statelessness and immigration rights. We are alumni of Hemispheric Institute's EmergeNYC, Culture Push's Utopian Fellow, a Civic Practice Seminar participant at the Metropolitan Museum, The Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship at CCCADI, a Brooklyn Arts Council award, and Unicorn Fund awardee through Media Democracy Fund. Clarivel is an MFA graduate of CUNY, City College.