Neil Goldberg: Other People’s Prescriptions is the first volume to be published under our “Esopus Books” imprint and the first monograph of work by the New York City–based artist Neil Goldberg. The 80-page, 13-by-10" book, which includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Louis Menand, will launch at Artbook @ MoMA PS1 on Sunday, April 28th, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Over the past 25 years, Neil Goldberg has created a remarkable series of artworks that incorporate photography, video, installation, mixed media, and performance to explore embodiment, sensing, mortality, and the everyday. New York—in particular, the rituals, gestures, and accoutrements of its inhabitants—has always played a major role in his work, and the city features prominently in Other People’s Prescriptions. This perfect-bound book comprises 40 color images from Goldberg’s recent, photographic series of the same name, the subjects of which are bespectacled New Yorkers photographed from behind to afford viewers a glimpse of the city through their corrective lenses.
In his incisive introduction, Louis Menand walks us through the hall of mirrors Goldberg’s particular choice of subject matter creates: “These people are not seeing the world, we think; they’re seeing what looks to us like a distorted, compressed, miniaturized rendition of the world. […] In Goldberg’s series, this thought—we change perceptions with prescriptions—is given another twist. His subjects are looking through lenses, but he is looking at his subjects through a lens—the camera lens. Looking at the photographs, we are seeing the image created by a lens on lenses. And what are we looking with? Another lens. Eyeballs are the eyeglasses that evolution has given us.”
Other People’s Prescriptions employs the congenial voyeurism that informs so much of Goldberg’s practice. Whether his (often unwitting) subjects are perusing the contents of a bodega’s salad bar, emerging from a subway, carrying groceries from their local Whole Foods, or checking an email on their iPhone through bifocals, Goldberg manages, through his trademark combination of conceptual rigor and deep empathy, to celebrate their humanity while inspiring us to recognize our own.