Award-winning Author and Cultural Critic to Appear at Carleton

April 29, 2009
By Libby Nachman '12

Acclaimed writer and wide-ranging cultural critic Lawrence Weschler will appear Wednesday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Boliou Hall Auditorium on the Carleton College campus. Entitled “Two Giants of Contemporary Art with Conflicting Ideas about How to Best Illuminate Human Perception,” Weschler’s presentation will focus on Robert Irwin and David Hockney—two artists with long histories of experimentation in human perception. Following Weschler’s lecture, he will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase at the event. Weschler’s appearance is free and open to the public.

Although they never met, Irwin and Hockney engaged in a lively debate about art that played out through Weschler's thirty years of published conversations with each of them. These conversations are collected in a recently released expanded edition of Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Over Thirty Years of Conversations with Robert Irwin (University of California Press, 2009), and True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney (University of California Press, 2009).

A long-time writer for "The New Yorker" and a self-proclaimed passionate advocate of wonder, Weschler is also the author of Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences (McSweeney's, 2007), a collection of ruminations about surprising visual coincidences. Awarded the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, the book explores an artist who draws and “spends” images of money, a storefront museum of ostensible natural history and the problems that can arise when you ghostwrite letters to your daughter as a Borrower, among many other topics of curiosity and amazement.

A graduate of Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz, Weschler is a two-time winner of the George Polk Awards (for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992) and was also a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award in 1998. Since 2001, he has been the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, and in 2006 he became artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Weschler’s appearance is made possible with support from the Christopher Light Lectureship Fund, the Carleton Committee for Studies in the Arts and the Carleton Humanities Center. For more information, call the Department of Art and Art History at (507) 222-4341.