An exhibition featuring artists who make publications and establish platforms for publishing. This presentation marks the first exhibition at Wagner Foundation Gallery and celebrates the foundation’s grantmaking support of artist publications.

Why do artists publish? An oft-repeated phrase is that to publish is to make public. When artists make a public, they are not only producing a feedback mechanism for their work to be seen, heard, digested, and responded to, they are also making new discourses and contexts for their work to be understood. These publics can include the widest possible audience of willing participants or manifest as an intimate, direct exchange. Through publishing, artists can speak in code, sending secret missives to those who most need to hear them; they can quietly resist being legible, creating a space for withdrawal and rest, a space to escape being read in order to read. Publishing is a process of self-determination, a political practice of building new ways of speaking, a way for artists to find and support each other and to create cultural access beyond traditional exhibition contexts.

The artists in this exhibition, who address the forms and performativity of speech through drawing, photography, poetics, and text, are all also publishers. In their extended bodies of work, they gather and disseminate new publics and ideas; they engage in mark-making, obfuscation, having a voice, and hearing and seeing each other. Their work lives in this everyday negotiation of public and private exchange, of refusal, and insists on the necessity of shaping the discourse towards what demands to be said. By creating spaces of connection through the act of publishing, establishing platforms for artists’ ideas to emerge, they each build new worlds of social and political exchange and possibility.

As Kimi Hanauer writes in how is speech a desire a hope a promise, from which the title of this exhibition is drawn:

speech lives in a series of daily attempts. speech tries to mark impossible to reach destinations. speech tries to shift and bend the structures that be. attempting to mold them into streams that pull and push some formations of an us into the horizons we desire.

This exhibition marks the first in a series of exhibitions and public programs by Wagner Foundation that highlights how arts and culture are essential to our collective wellbeing. We support visionary artists and arts organizations that believe in expanding cultural access in service of a healthy society, including through artists’ publications.


Joseph Grigely, Kimi Hanauer, Steffani Jemison, Adam Pendleton,Gabriel Sosa, Ulises

Organized by Abigail Satinsky, Program Officer & Curator, Arts & Culture


Wagner Foundation Gallery is located at the foundation’s office at 485 Massachusetts Ave, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Wagner Foundation Gallery is open to the public by appointment only on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12–5 p.m. To arrange an individual self-guided visit, please visit this link. If you would like a group visit or tour, email [email protected]. Admission is free and this venue is fully accessible.

This exhibition will travel to Essex Art Center in Fall 2024.

Click here to access the exhibition pamphlet.