Published in Macalester Today
Her parents named her Legacy, she says, “so I’d have a name to live up to.” And Legacy Russell ’08 certainly seems to be doing that—as a writer-artist-curator and creative producer who’s actively building an impressive body of work in each of those roles. The lifestyle Web site refinery29. com recently named her one of “The Ten Most Inspiring Young Artists in New York City Right Now.”
Inspiration has been evident in a number of her recent projects. Her performance piece “The Initiation” has its world premiere Dec. 20-21 at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, as part of the museum's Risk x Reward series. Her essays and creative writing have appeared in dozens of magazines and Web sites, including Guernica magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, and ArtSlant. As a curator, she was granted a fellowship with the renowned public arts presenter Creative Time, working under the tutelage of Nato Thompson and Anne Pasternak.
Clearly, this talented young woman enjoys wearing many hats, a characteristic that helped lead her to Macalester. “I loved the way the school created intersections between internationalism and other practices. Those bridges between the domestic and global realms really influenced my work, then and now,” she says, adding that it was a great place “for understanding how to operate in an interdisciplinary way.”
Her college extracurricular activities—as editor of Chanter, arts and culture editor for The MacWeekly, art gallery employee, and Art Alliance organizer—allowed her “to experience many different voices, and to engage in dialogue and critique about the act of writing and literary practice.”
After graduating with a double major in art and English, Russell returned to her native New York City, where her day job is working as an art editor at BOMB magazine’s online journal, BOMBLOG. Based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the magazine is within walking distance of the living and studio space Russell shares with partner Candace Martin ’05, a lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions. When asked what a writer-artistcurator and an attorney have to talk about, Russell says, “Actually our work overlaps a lot. As more artists experiment within the digital and reproduction realms, the more the law comes into contact with art production and questions of ownership.”
This fall Russell left New York temporarily to spend the academic year at Goldsmiths College in London, where she’s continuing her studies in visual and cultural arts and art history. She’s eager to work with admired teachers such as Eyal Weizman, visual cultures professor and director of the Centre for Research Architecture, whose work she describes as “looking at modes of trauma and how they impact architectural structures and the geographies in which they operate,” and Simon O’Sullivan, an art history/visual cultures lecturer whose project “Plastique/Fantastique” “makes use of shrines as a vehicle within contemporary art practice.”
Her Macalester teachers also made a big impact on her, says Russell, and the impression was mutual. Creative writing professor Wang Ping, for whom Russell completed an honors project, says, “Her writing was always experimental and courageous—very refreshing.” Art professor Ruthann Godollei describes Russell as “intelligent, articulate, and energetic,” and English professor James Dawes says simply, “I remember thinking in the very first class I had with Legacy that she’s the kind of person who is going to change things.”
Given what she’s already achieved, he’s probably right. Stay tuned.