Ethan Philbrick is a cellist, artist, and writer. He holds a PhD in performance studies from New York University and has taught at Pratt Institute, Muhlenberg College, New York University, Wesleyan College, Yale University, and The New School. He is currently curator-in-residence at The Poetry Project.


Group Works: Art, Politics, and Collective Ambivalence (2023)

“Philbrick’s book manages to preserve both the powerful fantasy of assembly alongside its more noxious aspects. Assembly can be hopeful; it can unleash new forms of power; it can create a new sense of being. But it can also exclude, block, deny, rule, silence, corrupt, and destroy. By finding moments of unconventional grouping. . . Philbrick takes the failure to cohere as a marker for the dissonant ensembles that our moment requires and that we can find in odd groupings of dancers, dreamers, slackers, and reluctant revolutionaries” -Jack Halberstam, Bomb Magazine

“Group Works offers not only a rich and fascinating academic exploration of artistic small-group formations past and present but also a tentative scaffolding to experiment with our forms of reading and study. By asking how we come into and out of groups, how they coalesce and disassemble, the book invites readers to join in and elaborate its collective impulse.” -Laura Nelson, e-flux

“Philbrick steps into the role of the historian, showing us that the group is not only a medium, but a lens through which we can understand the past. Group Works gestures towards “ambivalence” by flickering between historical account and manifesto, between representation and personal investigation driven by his own negotiations with “group-ing” as an artist and musician.” -Macaella Gray and Zoe Roden, The Brooklyn Rail

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(with Ned Riseley)

Flower Spider Cow (January 2023 reading at KAJE)


The Waterfront Journals
(with Justin Wong)

Wesleyan University Center for the Arts (2023)

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Slow Dances

(with Anh Vo, Tess Dworman, Niall Jones, Tara Aisha Willis, nibia pastrana santiago, and Moriah Evans)

The Kitchen Video Viewing Room (2020)

Montez Press Radio (2022)


The Gay Divorcees
(with Robbie Acklen, Lauren Bakst, Lauren Denitzio, Paul Legault, Joshua Thomas Lieberman, Ita Segev, and Julia Steinmetz) (2021)


March is for Marches
(with Morgan Bassichis)

Triple Canopy (2019)



Disordo Virtutum

“In [Philbrick’s] cosmology, we are devil and virtue all at once, toggling between damnable history and the ability to act with morality, a concept more intricately dynamic than the monolithic largesse the word traditionally implies. He frames his orchestration of sound as a political action of diffusion, enabling us to comprehend higher power as manifest in the myriad minor scores that attend solitude. Sometimes our private actions are so small that we ignore their weight and consequence, but alongside the more easily apparent seismic shifts in culture, a reorientation is transpiring—in our minds and at our fingertips.” -Jess Barbagello, Artforum


10 Meditations in an Emergency

The Poetry Project (2019)

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2020)


Choral Marx: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party in Eight Movements

“At times overwhelmingly beautiful, the performance is nevertheless extremely strange—this is, after all, a room where Karl Marx’s sentiment that “all that is solid melts into air” becomes a refrain both hypnotic and monotonous.” -J.W. McCormack, The Nation


Suite for Solo Cello and Audience