Three new exhibitions open now through December 17, 2022
White Columns

Now on view!
Three new exhibitions
November 10 – December 17, 2022

Cay Bahnmiller

Sophie Stone

Other People’s Projects: Pre-Echo Press

A painting sign with wooden pieces sticking out of each side. In red lettering the sign reads “KEEP OUT.” The yellow lettering above and below reads “YOU LITTLE MOTHERFUCKER.”
Cay Bahnmiller, Home Sweet Home, 2003. Oil, latex, Sharpie, dried flowers on metal sign and wood assemblage.  

Cay Bahnmiller

White Columns is pleased to present the first New York exhibition of the work of Cay Bahnmiller (1955-2007). “Painting is inscription, rather than description,” Bahnmiller once wrote. Aptly, her own vast oeuvre saw the prolific painter inscribe upon materials ranging from discarded bits of wood, cardboard and plastic to found street signs and sandwich boards. Pithy, vivid and texturally dense, the ornery, often irreverent content of her work belies the gestural clarity of Bahnmiller’s technique.

A longtime fixture in Detroit’s “Cass Corridor” known as much for her art as for her affecting, if at times thorny, personality, Bahnmiller invoked the geography and architecture of the city in her expansive artistic practice. “There is nothing that interests me more probably than urban spaces and use,” Bahnmiller wrote in a letter to collector Gilbert Silverman.[1] This fixation can be seen in her inclusion of mundane, cast-off bits of the city in her work, an expression of architect Louis Kahn’s idea of “spent material,” as noted by Bahnmiller in her own writings.

Bahnmiller’s paintings came to perform an excavation that brought to the surface a fraught psyche. In the wake of a traumatic event, her work grew more insular, focusing on the psychological alongside the structural. These later works reflect the shift from Bahnmiller’s lifelong preoccupation with urban spaces to a more complex interpolation between notions of the public and the private, the exterior and the interior, the built and the natural. Fiercely protective of her home, Bahnmiller fashioned signage to hang in her yard emblazoned with phrases like “KEEP OUT YOU LITTLE MOTHERFUCKER” or “BEWARE OF THE DOG.” The wry Untitled (Enjoy the raspberries, I/we lace them with arsenic), sardonically defies its purpose as a warning through its illegibility, while works like Untitled (Warning) are even less legible, such that the text serves as pure visual form, simultaneously inviting and repelling attempts to engage with the piece. These works function both as literal warnings to would-be intruders and as symbolic signposts demarcating the boundaries of the artist’s interior world.

A voracious reader, Bahnmiller noted that a text to which she returned often “[became] a painting.” Her many journals and books took on a palimpsest-like quality, with layers of scribbles and oil paint imbuing the original object with new aesthetic life. Sculptural works such as the Ship of Death series also contain myriad and complex literary allusions. Much like Bahnmiller’s own work, the D.H. Lawrence poem from which Ship of Death’s title is taken underscores the necessity of forming a protective sphere within a broader, bleaker world: “Oh build your ship of death, your little ark/ and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine/ for the dark flight down oblivion.” Bahnmiller’s iterative engagement with literary forms reemerges at the bottom of another piece in the Ship of Death series: the painted phrase “AKA THE CAT CAME BACK” is, in fact, a double-reference to a Ted Berrigan poem that makes mention of the Lawrence poem and nicknames it “a/k/a THE CAT CAME BACK.”[2]

Throughout her life, Bahnmiller returned to paintings from earlier years and added to them, often obscuring or altering their original content. The haptic and multilayered quality of her work collapses linear processes of making to create a space in which the painting is continually recreated. In her sprawling inscriptions upon both texts and materials can be seen the workings of a frenetic mind perpetually reaching to bridge the gap between thought and object. “The violated environment is a physical remainder reconstructed through many layers of perception, intense light and obscured, disfigured form,” she wrote. “Thus, the process of painting becomes the coverlet to experience.”

Cay Bahnmiller’s exhibition has been developed in close collaboration with the Estate of Cay Bahnmiller and Daniel Sperry and Alivia Zivich of What Pipeline, Detroit.

Cay Bahnmiller (1955-2007) was born in Wayne, MI. After spending part of her childhood abroad in Argentina and Germany, she lived and worked in Detroit, MI until her death. Bahnmiller graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan in 1976. In her lifetime, her work was shown at Feigenson Gallery and Susanne Hilberry Gallery in Detroit, and was collected by Gilbert and Lila Silverman. Her work is in the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Since her passing her work has been shown at What Pipeline in Detroit. Her work has been written about in Artforum and The New York Times.

For further information, please contact

[1] Via Loren, C. (2022). Gilbert and Lila Silverman. Three Fold.

[2]  The Berrigan poem was published by The Alternative Press, a Detroit poetry press run by Ken and Ann Mikolowski, close friends of Bahnmiller’s.


A textile piece is hung on the wall, made of a vertically hung rectangular pink bath mat sewn above a horizontal greenish-brown bath mat. Lines of deep blue and lilac purple raffia run through the entirety of the lower bath mat, and the bottom half of the upper bath mat, partially obscuring a terry cloth towel printed with blue figures in various poses. A large gash in the center of the pink bath mat is patched with beads and raffia.  The piece has a vibrant blue woven border.
Sophie Stone, Extended Bath Mat, 2022. Raffia, cotton, wool, terry cloth, plastic, beads.  

Sophie Stone

White Columns is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition by Sophie Stone. The exhibition consists of a series of textile-based wall and floor works that incorporate found materials drawn from the artist’s personal archives. Constructing uncanny assemblages of domestic materiality, Stone’s work revivifies our consideration of the sentimental and the decorative.

The found materials that serve as a foundation of Stone’s practice are variously gleaned from family members, friends, estate sales, flea markets, and mass market stores. Woven together, embellished, or partially deconstructed, these objects find new life balancing on a precipice between art and decor. Several works in the exhibition are presented as pairs, perhaps as a meditation on the tension between the handmade and the manufactured as pertains to reproducibility.

In Extended Bath Mat, large silver and wooden beads interrupt the worn pinkish lines of the titular bath mat, inviting the viewer to imagine how these protrusions might feel underfoot. In fact, they may do more than just imagine: Stone displays a refreshing ambivalence to the quasi-interactive quality of her work, and notes that she has no preference as to whether viewers should step around or on the floor works. The beads, Stone notes, were attached as a means of fixing a hole that had begun to form in the center of the bath mat, which lay for years in Stone’s childhood home. Like patching a sweater, these various embellishments serve to both extend and alter the life of the object. This attention paid to the lifespan of objects displays an innate understanding that for an object to wear over time does not diminish, and may even heighten, its status as an heirloom.

Vine-like appendages hang off of Pieces in Green and Pieces in Pink. These recurring floral motifs go beyond decorative associations to heighten Stone’s examination of the visual expression of our interior lives. In addition to her artistic practice, Stone is a florist. She notes that both aspects of her work concern the adornment of the home, with flowers serving as a more fleeting adornment than rugs, several of which included in the exhibition have been passed down through the years from Stone’s mother and grandmother.

Amidst the coziness lurks a disjunctive quality that forces our reconsideration of this domestic bliss. Floor pieces feature rugs of concentric circles that are cut off in the middle, so that their edges threaten to become undone. The thicker woven sisal at the edges of Infinity Rug calls to mind a welcome mat: an object that marks both the entrance to and exit from an interior space. Likewise, the inclusion of woven newspaper interlinks information from the outside world. Themes of reorientation continue in Gemini in Reverse and Gemini in Reverse (Blue), which, hung disconcertedly low, seem to threaten to slide off the wall. We are left to consider the expectations we place upon objects, to protect, to enshrine, and to even outlast our own lives.

Sophie Stone (b. 1987, Massachusetts) is a New York-based artist. She received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. Recent group exhibitions include Saragossa at Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton, NY; Looking Back: The 12th White Columns Annual, at White Columns, New York, NY; Family Show at Safe Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; By Our Own Hands at Camayuhs, Atlanta, GA; NADA House with Safe Gallery, Governor’s Island, NY, and Tissue at Company Gallery, New York, NY. Her work has been written about in ArtforumFrieze Magazine, Artsy, and Hyperallergic.

For further information, please contact

Matt Connors and Nate Harrington, PRE-XMAS. Cassette.  

Other People’s Projects: Pre-Echo Press

Participating artists

Matt Connors, Brian W. Ferry, Luigi Ghirri, Joe Gilmore, Nate Harrington, Elisabeth Kley, Sanou Oumar, Ryan Preciado, Nick Relph, and Ken Tisa. Organized by Matt Connors


White Columns is pleased to present ‘Other People’s Projects: Pre-Echo Press’, organized by Matt Connors. Pre–Echo Press was founded in 2016 by New York-based visual artist Matt Connors as a platform for “disseminating a diverse and idiosyncratic array of recorded and printed matter.” What follows is a conversation between White Columns’ director Matthew Higgs and Matt Connors in November 2022.

What is the origin of the name ‘Pre-Echo Press’?

The phrase ‘pre-echo’ originates from an audio phenomenon that I remember from when I was a kid and listened to mostly cassettes. Sometimes, when there is a very loud or strong sound at the beginning of a song, especially if the tape is really worn out, you’ll hear a faint echo of it somehow before the song starts. It’s the actual tape/information bleeding through itself when it is tightly rolled up. Since I found out that this could be called a ‘pre-echo,’ I’ve really loved it as a sort of self-canceling mindfuck, the simultaneous before/after idea of it. It feels very pertinent to our world(s). I also used the phrase as a title for one of my first solo shows. I love reusing and recasting words and titles.

Pre-Echo Press launched in 2016. If someone had asked you then “What is Pre-Echo Press?”, how would you have answered that question? And would your answer be different now? 

Now and then, I’d say it’s me (with my friends and loved ones) looking around and asking if there is, or should be, a book (or record, or other printed matter) made of something we love that isn’t currently represented that way, and if not, let’s make one. A big part of the press is to really have no relationship to normal notions of success or failure or logic or time frames of selling or making things. Sometimes I ask someone if there’s an idea that no one would likely put into motion or production, and that’s the origin of a project.

As an artist-run press, were there any notable precursors for your approach?

Yes, so many. I grew up working at record stores, so record labels and musicians with strong identities (sonic and visual) were always so important to me— 4AD, Factory, Sub Pop, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV, etc. In terms of presses, there are also so many. Jonathan Williams’ Jargon Society Press has really been on my mind lately. Contemporary publishers like Roma Publications out of Amsterdam, Primary Information and The Song Cave in New York keep me excited to keep making things (among so many others).  

Do you see Pre-Echo Press as an extension of your studio practice as an artist? If so, in what ways?

I do, mainly in that both have fascination as an origin point and are or try to be extremely improvisatory and focused on question-asking, problem-solving, play and poetics.

You publish both books and recordings (music.) As both a fan and a publisher how do you approach these different mediums? Do their audiences overlap?

I approach them the same way. We haven’t made a record in a while, but I tend to consider both the content of books and recordings as well as the materiality of the objects themselves. The synthesis of the two is really the focus. The audiences definitely overlap in my opinion, or I want to force them to!

How would you characterize your collaborators, which includes artists as distinct as Ken Tisa, Elisabeth Kley, Sanou Oumar, Nick Relph and Peter Shire, and musicians such as Alexis Taylor or Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Does anything connect them? 

It’s hard to answer this question— I would just imagine that what connects them is me, maybe? The course of my life and friendships and connections has somehow magically brought me into contact with each of these amazing humans. I’m not so worried about a ‘vision’ for the press. Maybe a pattern will emerge later, maybe not.

Small presses are invariably labor-of-love enterprises. What are the best parts of running the press, and what are the biggest obstacles that you face as an artist-publisher? 

I don’t want to add stress or anxiety to anyone’s world, or to create a situation where anyone is rushing to finish something, making compromises or not getting compensated for their work, etc. These can quite often be the basic conditions of publishing and of small presses especially. Thinking of it as a real labor of love and an extremely personal endeavor, I’ve tried to just go really slow and to discard deadlines if they don’t make sense, to not follow any schedule, and to just follow the logic and timeframe of the project and anyone working on it, all of whom are usually artists working on a million other things at the same time. This has made it all very ‘stop and start’, and along the way I realized I needed help in order to continue, so I sought out that help. Therefore I hope I’ve been able to avoid most of the heartache and headache usually involved in all of this. Fingers crossed.

You just released ‘Monsters‘, a second book with Nick Relph, what can we look forward to in the near future from Pre-Echo Press?  

We have a book ready to go with my friend the filmmaker Matt Wolf, based on his beautiful film ‘Recorder‘, and we are deep at work on our biggest project to date in collaboration with one of my favorite curators/writers, Jordan Stein; a major monograph on the painter Miyoko Ito. We are all extremely, ecstatically excited about this.

Finally, if you could work on a project with any artist or musician – living or dead – who would it be?  

I’d love to do something with Vini Reilly/the Durutti Column, but… you know, I think that idea of the fantasy or dream project is the actual impetus of the whole project!

Matt Connors would like to thank Marnie Briggs, Joe Gilmore, Josie Keefe, Jacob Robichaux, and Grant Schofield, as well as all of the participating artists and galleries, for their support.

Matt Connors and White Columns would like to thank Maharam for their generous support of this exhibition. For more information about Elisabeth Kley and Sanou Oumar’s wall coverings please visit

To learn more:

White Columns
91 Horatio Street
New York, NY 10014
Tuesday–Saturday, 11 AM–6 PM