Deadlines and Divine Distractions


Ebecho Muslimova, FATEBE DRAWING, 2016. Private collection. Image courtesy of the artist.

Deadlines and Divine Distractions is an ongoing epistolary project, which brings together letters between friends and strangers, the living and the dead. In this special iteration, letters penned by six artists, writers, and filmmakers—each accompanied by a phone recording—will intervene weekly in the Renaissance Society’s regular cadence of email announcements.

The project’s co-editors—Negar Azimi, writer and Editor in Chief of Bidoun, and Pati Hertling, Deputy Director of Performance Space New York—have made this selection of letters on the occasion of the Renaissance Society’s current exhibition, Smashing into my heart, which explores friendship as a framework for interrogating how we live and work and exist in the world.

Audrey Wollen

New York, 2018

Screen reader-compatible PDF transcript available here.

Audrey Wollen is a writer from Los Angeles, currently living in New York City. Recently, her work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, Artforum, The New York Times, Bookforum, and The Nation.

Ariana Reines

New York, October 2018

Screen reader-compatible PDF transcript available here.

Ariana Reines is author of A Sand Book (Tin House, 2019), the play Telephone (Wonder, 2018), and The Origin of the World (Semiotext(e) for the Whitney Biennial, 2014) among other works as a poet, theatrical playwright, translator, and performing artist.

Natasha Stagg

New York, 2002

Screen reader-compatible PDF transcript available here.

Natasha Stagg is author of Surveys: A Novel and Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011-2019 (both Semiotext(e)).

Eileen Myles

New York, November 2014

Screen reader-compatible PDF transcript available here.

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently novelist, public talker and art journalist. A Sagittarius, their 22 books include For Now, evolution, Afterglow, I Must Be Living Twice/new & selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. In 2019 they wrote and directed an 18-minute super 8 film, The Trip, a puppet road film. See it on youtube. They live in New York and Marfa, TX.

This page will be updated with letters and recordings as they come out each week. Sign up for our mailing list to receive the missives directly in your inbox.