Snapshot of a light-skinned woman and young child standing naked in a bed of ferns at the edge of a forest. The woman smiles, both covering themselves with fern fronds.

Issue 16 






Issue 16 — Digital Preview




Where It Hurts

Carl Phillips


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To You

Stephen Truax


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Angela Dufresne and Diane Seuss


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“Our cradleboards are living beings”
A Conversation with Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings and Carl Jennings


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Ahmari Benton
Gina Borromeo
Marisa Angell Brown
Wai Yee Chiong
Angela Dufresne
Matt Garza
Christopher K. Ho
Carl Jennings
Vanessa Jennings
Dominic Molon
Carl Phillips
Troy Richards
Laurie Simmons
Judith Tannenbaum
Stephen Truax
Jessica Urick
Nafis White


Issue 16—Intimacy


Intimacy reveals something deeply human in us. We need each other on a practical level, which means having to trust strangers. It’s analogous to what I understand prayer requires and what writing poems requires: an openness to the unknown, coupled with trust, a belief that we won’t be hurt. It’s at once akin to and the same as devotion.

—Carl Phillips


The RISD Museum’s sixteenth issue of Manual touches on the bonds of intimacy and its many expressions. This issue complements the exhibition Any distance between us, co-curated by Stephen Truax and Dominic Molon, on view at the RISD Museum through March 13, 2022.



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From the Files

Gina Borromeo probes love and death in an ancient Greek alabastron

Judith Tannenbaum reencounters a series of photographs of two women dancing


Artists on Art

Christopher K. Ho and Troy Richards open up the Book of Ours

Matt Garza meditates on an untitled portrait of a same-sex couple


Double Takes

MariNaomi and Wai Yee Chiong get cozy with Kunisada’s Bed of Awakening: Nocturnal Pillow Talk

Diane Seuss and Angela Dufresne bond with Lydia (1776)

Laurie Simmons and Marisa Angell Brown embrace the complications of Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

Nafis White and Ahmari Benton join forces over Hair Necklace 4 (Chain)



Familiar connections and passionate flings from across the museum’s collection


Object Lessons

Stephen Truax lovingly documents the lineage of recent queer figurative painting in Any distance between us

Vanessa and Carl Jennings sing a little lullaby to a Kiowa cradleboard

Dominic Molon spends time with Annika von Hausswolff’s Where everything begins and ends #2


How To

Jessica Urick navigates conservation’s one-way intimacy




RISD Museum Interim Director
and Manual Editor-in-Chief:
Sarah Ganz Blythe
Editor: Amy Pickworth
Art Director: Derek Schusterbauer
Graphic Designer: Brendan Campbell
Rights Manager: Sionan Guenther
Photographer: Erik Gould
Printer: GHP

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A publication lies open on a white surface. Resting in the middle of the page is a rainbow-colored bookmark, the word “Manual” stamped onto it.





Cover image:


Untitled, August 1944

Gelatin silver print

6.3 × 8.9 cm. (2 ½ × 3 ½ in.)

Gift of Peter J. Cohen in honor of Luke Cohen,  

RISD BFA 1971, BArch 1972, Architecture 2015.91.19