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Art and Architecture: How to See | David Salle, Ben Lerner | An Artist Dialogue Series Event

November 9, 2016

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FREE — Auditorium doors open at 5:30PM.

A riveting conversation between renowned painter David Salle and acclaimed poet, critic and novelist Ben Lerner discussing David Salle’s new book on contemporary art, and the aims and tools of criticism in contemporary art and culture.

How to See book cover

What makes a work of art good? What makes it interesting? In How to See: Looking, Talking and Thinking about Art David Salle strips away complicated theory and describes contemporary art in the plain language artists use when talking to each other. His wide-ranging essays explore concepts such as “the what and the how” (how an artist gives form to an idea), “originators and enforcers” (artists who invent ideas versus those who distill and perfect them), and how artists understand their work as a conversation with art history. His intimate portraits of friends and contemporaries such as Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and John Baldassari help us understand the “personalities” of their great works and give readers new ways to understand and appreciate contemporary art. “A lot of what we call interpretation is really just paying close attention,” he writes. With wit and élan, David Salle shows everyone how to see like an artist.

Copies of How to See (W. W. Norton, 2016) and The Hatred of Poetry (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2016) are available for purchase and signing at the end of the event. 

David Salle helped define the post-modern sensibility by combining figuration with an extremely varied pictorial language. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA Vienna; Menil Collection, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Castello di Rivoli; and the Guggenheim, Bilbao. His paintings are in the collections of many major museums in the United States and abroad.  Although known primarily as a painter, Salle's work grows out of a long-standing involvement with performance. Over the last 25 years he has worked extensively with choreographer Karole Armitage, creating sets and costumes for many of her ballets and operas. Their collaborations have been staged at venues throughout Europe and America, including The Metropolitan Opera House; The Paris Opera;  Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Opera Deutsche, Berlin. In 1995, Salle directed the feature film Search and Destroy, starring Griffin Dunne and Christopher Walken. Salle is also a prolific writer on art. His essays and interviews have appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Modern Painters, and The Paris Review, as well as numerous exhibition catalogs and anthologies. He is a regular contributor to Town & Country Magazine. How to See, a volume of Salle's collected essays, is due for release by W.W. Norton in Fall, 2016.

Ben Lerner is a poet, novelist, essayist, and critic.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry, and has received fellowships from Howard Foundation, Guggenheim, and a MacArthur Foundations. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won the 2012 Believer Book Award. His second novel, 10:04, an international bestseller, won The Paris Review‘s 2012 Terry Southern Prize, was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and the Folio Prize, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by more than a dozen major publications. He has also published several full-length poetry collections including The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. His poetry has also been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry, New Voices, and 12x12: Conversations in Poetry and Poetics. Ranging from sonnets to extended, collage-based prose poems, Lerner’s work often uses scientific structures to explore the relationship between language, form, and movement. In 2011 Lerner became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für internationale Poesie. His most recent books are The Hatred of Poetry and Blossom (a collaboration with the artist Thomas Demand). His essays on art can be found in Art in America, Frieze, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, among other publications. Ben Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.

Initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provide an open forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.

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