Join Caroline Randall Williams, Elizabeth Alexander, Paul M. Farber, and Viet Thanh Nguyen in conversation. This second online Monuments Project discussion will address “provocative questions about the making of our commemorative spaces, including what a monument is, how myth-making has shaped the process of memorializing, and why new commemorations will expand the American Story.”*
AIDS completely changed American culture. People always say “pop culture.” As if we have some high culture to distinguish it from. The effect of AIDS was like a war in a minute country. Like, in World War I, a whole generation of Englishmen died all at once. And with AIDS, a whole generation of gay men died practically all at once, within a couple of years. And especially the ones that I knew.
The first people who died of AIDS were artists. They were also the most interesting people. I know I’ve said this before, but the audience for the arts—whether it was for writing or films or ballet—also died and no longer exists in a real way. So all the judgment left at the same time that all this creativity left. And it allowed people who would be fifth-rate artists to come to the front of the line. It decimated not just artists but knowledge. Knowledge of a culture. There’s a huge gap in what people know, and there’s no context for it anymore. — Fran Lebowitz*
Daniel Mendelsohn will moderate the panel THE POWER OF THE ARTIST at the Kitchen.
This week at the Whitney, Lorna Simpson and Elizabeth Alexander will discuss the artist’s new bookLORNA SIMPSON COLLAGES.
“Using advertising photographs of black women (and men) drawn from vintage issues of Ebony and Jet, Simpson’s collages explore the richly nuanced language of hair—as Alexander writes in her introduction: ‘Black women’s hair are galaxies unto themselves, solar systems, moonscapes, volcanic interiors.’ ”*
After the Q & A, Simpson will sign books.
LORNA SIMPSON IN CONVERSATION WITH ELIZABETH ALEXANDER, Wednesday, July 18, at 7:30 pm.
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York City.
“What better way is there to memorialize a writer than to read what he has written and remember who he was in all those worlds of words he was brave and confident enough to imagine in the first place?” Hilton Als on Derek Walcott
Join Elizabeth Alexander, Robert Antoni, Carolyn Forché, Lorna Goodison, Jamaica Kincaid, Karl Kirchwey, Yusef Komunyakaa, Glyn Maxwell, Caryl Phillips, and Als in this celebration and remembrance of the late poet.
A CELEBRATION OF DEREK WALCOTT, Thursday, January 18, at 7:30 pm.
KAUFMANN CONCERT HALL, 92ND STREET Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York City.