Cover image of Manual Issue 5







Issue 5




Purchase Subscribe



Jen Bervin
Jean Blackburn
Gina Borromeo
Laurie Brewer
A. Will Brown
Bolaji Campbell
Dennis Congdon
Jeremy Deller
Jan Howard
Kate Irvin
Maureen C. O'Brien
Emily J. Peters
Siebren Versteeg
Elizabeth A. Williams
C.D. Wright


Issue 5—Unfinished


Loose threads unknotted. Ideas unrealized. Outlines left bare. Function unperformed. Patterns uncut. Luster removed with time and wear. We rarely examine unfinished things. The unfinished is easily overlooked in favor of the fully rendered and complete, but consider those sketchy lines, those fraying ends: the unfinished has potency. The unfinished offers evidence of process, reveals traces of technique, trembles with latent possibility. The essays, images, and projects presented in the fifth issue of Manual attend to the fluid potential of objects that are in some way incomplete.


From the Files

Curatorial assistant A. Will Brown discusses Richard Long's instructions for Mountainside Ellipse


Double Takes

Curator Laurie Brewer and artist Jean Blackburn shed some light on the shadowy figures in Von Kobell's Woman in the Window; curator Maureen C. O'Brien and artist Dennis Congdon consider an Ingres study in three parts; curator Jan Howard and poet C.D. Wright talk about Fiona Banner's Shy Nude behind her back


Object Lessons

RISD professor Bolaji Campbell discusses the aesthetics, meaning, and interrupted function of a Pende mask; curator Emily J. Peters studies Gossaert's unfinished Adam and Eve; Gina Borromeo, curator of ancient art, recovers the identity of an incomplete Roman portrait bust from the first century CE



The jotted down and in-process, the left off and worn out


How To

Curator Kate Irvin discusses a group of unrealized dresses from the 1920s


Artists on Art

Jen Bervin sews an excerpt from the opal seas; Jeremy Deller imagines an Iggy Pop life drawing class; Siebren Versteeg makes a declaration about never finishing school



RISD Museum Director: John W. Smith
Manual Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Ganz Blythe with S. Hollis Mickey
Editor: Amy Pickworth
Art Director: Derek Schusterbauer
Photographer: Erik Gould (unless otherwise noted)



Read Online





Cover image:

Robert Hills

A Study of Trees Through a Vignette (detail), early 1800s

Anonymous gift