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Margot Samel presents group exhibition: To be a giant and keep quiet about it

July 14 – August 17, 2022

by Howard Nemerov
To be a giant and keep quiet about it,
To stay in one’s own place;
To stand for the constant presence of process
And always to seem the same;
To be steady as a rock and always trembling,
Having the hard appearance of death
With the soft, fluent nature of growth,
One’s Being deceptively armored,
One’s Becoming deceptively vulnerable;
To be so tough, and take the light so well,
Freely providing forbidden knowledge
Of so many things about heaven and earth
For which we should otherwise have no word—
Poems or people are rarely so lovely,
And even when they have great qualities
They tend to tell you rather than exemplify
What they believe themselves to be about,
While from the moving silence of trees,
Whether in storm or calm, in leaf and naked,
Night or day, we draw conclusions of our own,
Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath,
And perilous also—though there has never been
A critical tree—about the nature of things.

The opening line of Howard Nemerov’s poem Trees, “To be a giant and stay silent about it,” serves as the inspiration for the title of this group exhibition. The introduction is a poetic depiction of non-human dignity that captures the mid-20th century’s emerging environmental awareness and environmental imagination. Nemerov, a well-known American poet laureate from New York who frequently wrote about the duality of nature, published Trees in 1977 (from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov, University of Chicago Press). It is a foreboding argument that challenges the idea that humans have a special place in the universe.Nemerov’s personal moments, pulled from introspection and imaginative empathy, reestablish a sense of earthly discovery despite the fact that it was written after the first photos of planet earth from the moon irreversibly altered temporal and visual perception in relation to landscape. Art has frequently asserted the existence of this experience of discovery.


Alicia Adamerovich, Miguel Cardenas, Andrew
Cranston, Justin Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Glaessner,
Merlin James, Olivia Jia, August Krogan-Roley,
Ella Kruglyanskaya, Sarah Lee, Daisy Sheff,
Nicolas Party, Stephen Polatch, Kathy Ruttenberg,
Andrew Sim, Autumn Wallace, and Areum Yang

Margot Samel
295 Church St
New York, NY 10013
+1 212 597-2747
[email protected]