Reflecting on the dark and confusing times we are living in, we believed it was appropriate to host a salon on Angels, to discuss the people that protect us and guide us, that mediate between individual and established power, that zero in on each soul with surprising intimacy and focus, and do their best. They are lawyers, teachers, ER attendants, firefighters, designers, artists, mentors, mothers and grandmothers, passersby… In this salon we embarked on a thoughtful exploration, to consider what angels can teach us about the human condition and the ways in which they allow us to believe in the potential for change, in new possibilities and narratives.
Some of the questions we strived to answer: Do we need angels? Do they exist? What does their existence teach us about the human condition? What is the historical legacy of angels? Do angels transcend faiths? Are angels problematic? Is a western, Abrahamic conception of angels problematic? What is the connection between angels and violence? What is the modern mode in which they operate? Throughout history, angels have been understood as transitional shape shifters, but can they today truly exist beyond gender, race, class? What forms can an angel take? Are all angels equal? How does the existence of a celestial hierarchy influence the way we conceive of a society that should be inspired by angels? What are the parameters for determining potential hierarchies? Does this mean that hierarchies are inevitable? What is the connection between angels and reality? How does citizenship relate to the presence of transitional beings? What is the difference between an angel and a hero? Are angels always selfless? Are angels inherently good? At what point does an angel become a demon? And do they exist in that binary? Do angels have free will or are they bound by their knowledge, by their visions, by their position as messengers and caretakers? With their given knowledge, do they have a responsibility to share their power and their abilities? What life tools can angels provide us with? How does the existence of angels allow us (mere mortals) to envision imaginary worlds, new potentials for what the future can be?
This salon took place on October 22nd, 2018.
Annette Yoshiko Reed is an Associate Professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Program in Religious Studies at New York University. Her research spans Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, and Jewish/Christian relations in Late Antiquity. Publications include Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity (Cambridge 2005), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (ed. with R. Boustan; Cambridge 2004), The Ways that Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (ed. with A.H. Becker; Mohr Siebeck 2003; Fortress 2007), and Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire (ed. with N. Dohrmann; UPenn Press, 2013). She is currently working on two monographs: one on the origins of Jewish angelology and demonology, and the other on the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the history of “Jewish-Christianity.”
Mustafa Ali Faruki is the founding partner and creative director of theLab-lab, a Brooklyn-based architecture practice that is dedicated to completely reinventing the outputs of architectural design. He was the winner of The Architectural League of New York’s 2017 League Prize for his Intake Facility proposal. For a site on Governors Island, Faruki designed a complex for “an anonymous client” intended to process extraterrestrial settlers (or angels) migrated to New York City from heaven. He created elaborate plans for various “Decelestialization” zones, in which his clients could assimilate to life on earth. TheLab-lab for architecture’s work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at LMCC Arts Center on Governors Island, and at the Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale in Norway, as well as at The Queens Museum and Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, UK. Mustafa is also the 2018-2019 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow, University at Buffalo School of Architecture.
Jacolby Satterwhite is a visual artist whose work weaves together video, 3D animation, printmaking, performance, and dance. Drawing upon the fantastic environments of the video games he played as a child, he incorporates personal ephemera and the drawings of his late schizophrenic mother to fashion his own Bosch-ian dreamscape. His recent developments into 3D animation are a culmination of his background in performance, dance, and more specifically voguing, in conjunction with his training as a painter and his religious upbringing in a home brimming with black magic. His virtual worlds act as entry ways into demonic (and angelic) post-human universes. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is in the public collections at Studio Museum in Harlem, Seattle Art Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Calder Zwicky is an Assistant Director in the Education Department at the Museum of Modern Art, overseeing Teen and Community Partnerships. Over the last decade he has been working to create programming for a wide-range of underserved and historically-overlooked audiences including incarcerated youth, post-incarcerated adults, HIV/AIDS service organizations, and homelessness initiatives, among others. He also oversees MoMA’s free programming for teens, including the long-running In the Making workshops and the MoMA + MoMA PS1 Cross-Museum Collective. In addition to his own studio practice, he has been involved with a variety of museums including the Walker Art Center, the Queens Museum, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Susan Burton is the Founder and Executive Director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, an award-winning organization that has transformed the lives of more than one thousand formerly incarcerated women. Her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women (2017), included a foreword by Michelle Alexander, was the winner of an NAACP Image Award, and was named a “Best Book of 2017” by the Chicago Public Library. Susan has received the Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2010), and was named a CNN Hero (2010) and a Purpose Prize winner (2012). Most recently she was chosen by the National Women’s History Project as one of its honorees for Women’s History Month in the United States (2018).
Amanda Lawrence is an English actress who has received acclaim for her recent role as the Angel in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America on New York’s Broadway at The Neil Simon Theatre and in London’s West End at the National Theatre. She has appeared in more than fifteen films, including titles such as Pan (2015) and Suffragette (2015), in addition to work on a number of television shows.
Enrique Morones is the Founder of Border Angels, an all volunteer, non profit 501©(3) organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on the US-Mexican border. Border Angels works to dispel the various myths surrounding immigration in the United States, in addition to providing education and migrant outreach including water drops in the desert, food distribution, and free consulting to migrant families in both Spanish and English, amongst other initiatives. Enrique was honored with Mexico’s Othli’s Award and in 2009 received the Mexican Human Rights Award from President Felipe Calderon. Additionally, he has been named one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s “most influential” Latinos in the United States of America as well as one of San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch.”
Ravi Ragbir is a community activist and a nationally recognized leader in the immigrant rights movement. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Ravi’s personal struggle with the immigration system, inspired him to become a dedicated community educator, spokesperson, and advocate. A former volunteer for the Families for Freedom, he went on to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for the organization where he trained other community organizers and elected officials about immigration issues and how to reform the deportation system. In 2010, Ravi became a full-time organizer for the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, one of the largest coalitions in the city focused on immigrant rights, with over 20 faith-based and supporting organizations, representing over 3,000 New Yorkers.
Natalia Oberti Noguera is the Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors that is changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs. Natalia is also Creator & Host of Pitch Makeover, a podcast on startups, pitching, investing, and #morevoices (women, non-binary people, and men of color). She holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale, as well as an MA in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She serves on the boards of Walker’s Legacy, Women 2.0, and iRelaunch. Inc. Magazine selected Natalia as one of “The Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016,” Latina.com included her in their list of “25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech,” and Women’s eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012. StartOut, a network of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, honored Natalia with the 2017 Nixon Peabody Trailblazer Award.“
Mickalene Thomas is a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty, and power. Blurring the distinction between object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary, Thomas constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors to examine how identity, gender, and sense-of-self are informed by the ways women (and “feminine” spaces) are represented in art and popular culture. Thomas received a B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in 2000 and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art 2002. Her work is in numerous international public and private collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago; MoMA PS1, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Yale University Art Collection, New Haven, CT; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Thomas has been awarded multiple prizes and grants, including the USA Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow (2015); Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2013); Brooklyn Museum Asher B. Durand Award (2012); and the Timerhi Award for Leadership in the Arts (2010).
Jennifer Robinson is an Australian human rights lawyer and barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She has acted in key free speech and human rights cases before courts and tribunals around the world, including the European Court of Human Rights and UN special mechanisms, and has conducted human rights missions for the International Bar Association. She founded the Bertha Justice Initiative, a global fellowship program supporting the next generation of human rights lawyers, and International Lawyers for West Papua, which advises the West Papuan movement for self-determination. Robinson is a founding board member of the Grata Fund, Australia’s first independent public interest litigation fund, and serves on the boards of Article 19, the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association.
Wim Wenders is a film director, writer, and photographer. He is also president of the European Film Academy, and an honorary professor at the University for Television and Film in Munich. He became a member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin in 1984, and holds four honorary doctorates from the Sorbonne, Paris (1989); the Theological Faculty of Fribourg University, Switzerland (1995); the University of Louvain, Belgium (2005); and the Architectural Faculty of the University of Catania, Italy (2010). He is considered one of the most important figures to have emerged from the “New German Cinema” in the 1970s and was a founding member of the German film distribution company “Filmverlag der Autoren.” He received the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 1984 for Paris, Texas, the Golden Lion at the 1982 Venice Film Festival for The State of Things, and won best director at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival for Wings of Desire. He has also been nominated three times for the Academy Awards for his films Buena Vista Social Club (2000), Pina (2012), and, most recently, The Salt of the Earth (2015).
THE ORIGIN OF (ABRAHAMIC) ANGELS
Burge, S.R., Angels in Islam: A Commentary with Selected Translations of Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī’s Al-Ḥabā’ik fī akhbār al- malā’ik (The Arrangement of the Traditions about Angels), The University of Edinburgh (2009)
Fleming, John, The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology, Theclassics.Us (2010)
Konieczny, Peter, Angels in Art: Angels Through the Ages, Medievalists.net (2018)
Young, Robin D., Angels: Here, There, and Everywhere: Robin Darling Young on Ellen Muehlberger’s Angels in Late Ancient Christianity, Marginalia (04.28.2015)
Sommer, Benjamin, Angels in the Hebrew Bible, Bible Odyssey (10.16.2018)
Reed, Annette Y., “Introduction,” in Demons, Angels, and Writing in Ancient Judaism, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)
Reed, Annette Y., Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity, Cambridge University Press (2015)
Gondar Homiliary, The Walters Art Museum (2018)
Islam: Basic Articles of Faith, BBC Religions (07.19.2011)
ANGELS WITHIN / SPIRITS IN BETWEEN (SOME NON-ABRAHAMIC ANGELS)
Bachor, Kenneth, Thailand’s Intriguing Luk Thep Doll Culture, Time (06.03.2016)
Chukwukere, I., Chi in Igbo Religion and Thought: The God in Every Man, Anthropos, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, pp. 519-534 (1983)
Koremaru, Sakamoto, Introduction: Kami, Encyclopedia of Shinto, Kokugakuin University, Japan
Morris, Brian, Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge University Press (2005)
Redish, Laura and Lewis, Orrin, Native American Nature Spirits of Myth and Legend, Native Languages of the Americas (2015)
Teeter, Emily, The Presentation of Maat: Ritual and Legitimacy in Ancient Egypt, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, No. 57 (1997)
Wilson, Audrey, Big in Thailand: Fake Kids: Middle-class women treat the “child angels” as though they’re real, taking them to get blowouts at salons and even giving them their own seats at restaurants, The Atlantic (05.2016)
Creating and re-creating life, Working with Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and their Communities (02.19.2017)
Kami, BBC (04.09.2009)
ANGELIC NATURE / THE DEVIL INSIDE (GOOD VS EVIL)
Auerbach, Nina, Woman and the Demon, The Life of a Victorian Myth, Harvard University Press (1982)
Barolini, Teodolinda, “Paradiso 29: The Line of Becoming,” Commento Baroliniano, Digital Dante, Columbia University Libraries (2014)
Eder, Richard, India’s Fallen Angels review of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Los Angeles Times (02.12.1989)
Marlowe, Christopher, Rev. Dyce, Alexander (eds.), The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus(1604), Project Gutenberg ebook
Moyers, Bill, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: ‘Masks of Eternity,’ Moyers and Company (06.26.1988)
Pinsker, Joe, Frugality Isn’t What It Used to Be: What use is there today for one of the oldest virtues?, The Atlantic (10.22.2016)
Richtel, Matt, That Devil on Your Shoulder Likes to Sleep In, The New York Times (11.01.2014)
Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Salman Rushdie: The Angel and the Toady, The Guardian (02.13.2009)
ANGELS IN ART & CULTURE
Als, Hilton, “Angels in America”: Brilliant, Maddening, and Necessary, The New Yorker (04.16.2018)
Bolton, Andrew, The Metaphorical Nature of Creation: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (04.23.2018)
Brantley, Ben, Review: An ‘Angels in America’ That Soars on the Breath of Life, The New York Times (03.25.2018)
Cascone, Sarah, Hieronymus Bosch Meets Madonna’s Daughter in Jacolby Satterwhite’s Epically Trippy New Video at Gavin Brown, ArtNet News (03.10.2018)
De Santis, Silvia, William Blake and The Divine Comedy, Digital Dante, Columbia University Libraries, (2018)
Grady, Constance, How 2018 reshaped Angels in America: The ghost of Trump is always next to Roy Cohn in the new production of Angels in America, Vox (06.10.2018).
Meganck, Tine L., Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Fall of the Rebel Angels: Art, Knowledge and Politics on the Eve of the Dutch Revolt, Silvana (01. 28.2015)
Schulman, Michael, “Angels in America” Rises Again: Marianne Elliott wrestles with a notoriously difficult play, and with Tony Kushner, The New Yorker (03.26.2018)
Stewart,Courtney A., Six-Winged Angels and Other Christian Imagery in Arts from the Ottoman Empire, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (10.06.2015)
WHO CAN BE AN ANGEL?
Eligon, John, Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling With Problems and Promise, The New York Times (08.24.2014)
Goodman, Lizzy, How Dev Hynes, English Misfit, Became Blood Orange, R.&B. Miracle Worker, The New York Times (08.23.2018)
Gore, Sydney, Behold Kai the Black Angel, the Face of Blood Orange’s ‘Negro Swan,’ Highsnobiety (08.20.2018)
Miller, Colette, The Global Angel Wings Project created in 2012 to remind humanity that we are the Angels of this Earth, Colette Miller (2012)
Siddiqui, Sabrina, Darren Wilson Testimony: Michael Brown Looked Like ‘A Demon, HuffPost (11.25.2014)
Sullivan, Margaret, An Ill-Chosen Phrase, ‘No Angel,’ Brings a Storm of Protest, The New York Times Magazine (08.25.2014)
Thomas, Dexter, Michael Brown was not a boy, he was a ‘demon,’ Al Jazeera (11.26.2014)
Waddell, Kaveh, New York Times Says Michael Brown Was ‘No Angel.’ Twitter: No One Is, The Atlantic (08.25.2014)
Waldman, Annie, Michael Brown ‘no angel’ controversy, BBC (08.25.2014)
ANGELS AS GUIDES: TO CARE AND EMPOWER
A list of human rights organizations
A history of NAACP
A history of ACLU
Beck, Julie, ‘Any Addict Who Asks for Help Will NOT Be Charged,’ The Atlantic (05.11.2015)
Bella, Timothy, Ravi Ragbir Doesn’t Want to Be a Symbol, Intelligencer (01.29.2018)
Carroll, Aaron E., What Barbershops Can Teach About Delivering Health Care, The New York Times (05.21.2018)
Clark, Kate, Cleo Capital sets $10M target to fund female entrepreneurs, TechCrunch (08.2018)
Gabbatt, Adam and Elk, Mike, Teachers’ strikes: meet the leaders of the movement marching across America, The Guardian (04.16.2018)
Linzer, Danielle, Munley, Mary E., Hirzy, Ellen (Ed.), Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums, Whitney Museum of American Art (2015)
Price, Susan, Pipeline Angels Makes It Easy For Women To Become Angel Investors, Forbes (02.06.2016)
Prior, Karen S., ‘Let It Be’: Mary’s Radical Declaration of Consent, The Atlantic (12.24.2012)
Quinton, Sophie, How Immigrant Doctors Became America’s Next Generation of Nurses, The Atlantic (02.20.2014)
Ross, Terrance F., The Guardian Angels of Student Debt: Calling a strike—against college loans, The Atlantic (02.23.2015)
Tsui, Diana, The Venture Capitalist Funding Female-Led Companies, The Cut (07.03.2018)
Vasquez, Mariana, You left water in the desert for illegals?, San Diego Reader (08.16.2017)
Wang, Vivian, To Get a Job, a Nice Suit Can Help. These Are Free, The New York Times (10.20.2017)
Zwicky, Calder, Profound Choice: On Balancing Access, Advocacy + Exposure to the Arts, Art History Teaching Resources (09.23.2017)
ANGELS WHO SPEAK
Brantley, Ben, Songs of Devotion, Songs of Rapture, The New York Times (05.29.2014)
Raymond, J. (Ed.), Conversations with Angels: Essays Towards a History of Spiritual Communication, 1100-1700, Palgrave Macmillan UK (2011)
Rockwell, John, A Whole Lot of Sublimation Going On, The New York Times (11.25.2011)
Seymour, Harry, Iconic Angels in Art History, AnOther Magazine (12.30.2015)
Mother Ann’s Work, or How a Lot of Embarrassing Ghosts Visited the Shakers, New England Historical Society (2018)
WATCH / LISTEN
Bragg, Melvyn, Angels, BBC (03.24.2005)
Barker, Sister R. Mildred, Early Shaker Spirituals, The United Society of Shakers: Sabbathday Lake, Maine (1996)
[The AI Now 2018 Symposium: Ethics, Organizing, and Accountability])https://symposium.ainowinstitute.org), AI Now Institute, New York University, October 16, 2018.
Faruki, Mustafa A., Intake Facility for an Anonymous Client, TheLab-lab (03.23.2015)
Kitt, Eartha, Angelitos Negros ( “Paint Me Black Angels”) (1953, 1970)
Nichols, Mike (dir.), Angels in America, 6-episode version adapted from Tony Kushner’s play, HBO (2003)
Hynes, Dev (Blood Orange), Jewelry on ‘Negro Swan’ Album, Domino Record Co. (08.24.2018)
Robertson, Darryl, Chloe X Halle Release Angelic Video “Happy Without Me” Feat. Joey Bada$$, Vibe (06.25.2018)
Satterwhite, Jacolby, The Matriarch’s Rhapsody (2013)
Wenders, Wim (dir.), Wings of Desire Der Himmel über Berlin (‘The Heaven Over Berlin’), Road Movies Filmproduktion, Argos Films, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (1987)
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Gallery Views—The Met Fifth Avenue: Medieval, Byzantine, Lehman Galleries, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (04.18.2018)
Kevin Livingston Supports Men Seeking New Opportunities with 100 Suits, Now This (02.26.2018)
The Children Treating Gunshot Wounds on Chicago’s South Side, Daily Vice (02.26.2018)
SOME “ANGELIC” ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THIS SALON
[Female Founders Fund(http://femalefoundersfund.com)