Virtual Program

Storm at Split Rock: Empathy and Experimentation with FWM

February 4, 2021
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve's (installation detail)
Samara Golden, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Upstairs at Steve’s (installation detail), 2020. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

The word empathy has been used often, especially in the last year. But what is  empathy? Join FWM Curator Karen Patterson and Artist-in-Residence Samara Golden in conversation with New York Times bestselling author Leslie Jamison to discuss how, where, and when empathy reveals itself.

In her critically acclaimed collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, Jamison posed essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about one another? How can we feel another person’s pain? Jamison drew from her own experiences to engage in an exploration of empathy extending far beyond her own life. During her residency at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, artist Samara Golden also reflected upon the challenges of personal and collective experience in an investigation of time, history, and memory over the course of a two-year collaboration with the FWM Studio. Inhabiting her own complex role as interlocutor and translator, curator Karen Patterson—with Senior Project Manager Abby Lutz and the FWM Studio team—brought Golden’s artistic vision to life in Upstairs at Steve’s, the mind-bending installation currently on view at The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

From everyday life to contemporary art installations, this panel discussion between writer, artist, and curator will explore the mechanisms behind empathy and its surprising applications, as well as the search for a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Following the conversation, catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse into FWM’s print studio with Abby Lutz as she prints the thermochromic (heat activated, color changing) design from Samara Golden’s artist multiple, Storm at Split Rock. This edition of 18 blankets with plaid patterning and contrasting ribbon pattern was printed with thermochromic ink to visually demonstrate touch and connection; the blanket and exhibition catalog for Upstairs at Steve’s (also featuring a cover screenprinted with thermochromic ink) are currently available for purchase through our website or onsite in the museum shop.

Event Information

February 4, 2021
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Hosted online via Zoom


$5 general admission
Free for FWM members

About the Participants

Leslie Jamison is the New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams, The Recovering, Make it Scream, Make it Burn,  and a novel, The Gin Closet. She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, and her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter and teaches at Columbia University.

Samara Golden is a Los Angeles-based artist. Her solo exhibition, Upstairs at Steve’s, is currently on view (through February 21, 2021) at The Fabric Workshop and Museum; her work has also been featured in solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and CANADA, New York.  Golden’s work is in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum, New York; LACMA and MOCA, Los Angeles; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; and The Yuz Museum, Shanghai.

Karen Patterson joined The Fabric Workshop and Museum as the institution’s inaugural full-time curator in 2019. Previously, she held the post of Senior Curator at John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC). Her curatorial projects have received critical attention in numerous publications, including Artforum, Hyperallergic, and Art in America. Recent projects include Jonathan Lyndon Chase: Big Wash, Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe, Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez, and Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck: Out, Out, Phosphene Candle.