James Trainor’s writing covers a broad range of topics, including the ecological costs of publishing an art magazine, art tourism and the American West, the quixotic quest for the “center of the world,” a forgotten land art site in the forests of northern Maine, radical playground design of the 1960s–1970s, graphic novel journalism in war zones, urban farming and the anti-lawn movement, and the question of relevance in contemporary art.
James Trainor’s columns, essays, editorials, interviews, and reviews have appeared in frieze (where he was US editor and staff writer from 2004 to 2009), Artforum, Art in America, Cabinet, ArtAsiaPacific, Border Crossings, Contemporary, Metropolis, Programma, and other periodicals. He has lectured at Columbia University, Cornell University, the University of Southern California, City College of New York, and Bezalel Academy of Art, Tel Aviv. Since 2012, he has co-taught, with artist Andrea Zittel, the Institute for Investigative Living, an experiential-learning field seminar in the Mojave Desert, based at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, California. Selected writing and other projects can be found at www.jamestrainor.net.