Event Details

Established in the early 18th century, Russia’s first Kunstkammer triggered a profound debate over religious and existential questions. The Orthodox Church, faced with a collection of Cyclopes, Siamese twins, and creatures that looked like lions or leprechauns, could not justify nature’s unsuccessful attempts at human life and deemed their souls lost: they could not go to heaven, hell or limbo–they were dead on arrival and had nowhere to go.

Lena Herzog was granted access to the Wunderkammern around the world and has photographed the mysteries they contain with a sense of beauty, wonder and tenderness. Her subjects are mostly infants born with genetic defects that prevented their survival, and although they have been preserved as scientific specimens, some for hundreds of years, they are profoundly transformed through Herzog’s lens into beings that mirror our own fears and existential dilemmas. Lost Souls records Lena Herzog’s journey into a world rarely seen by outsiders which includes oddities have been closely guarded for centuries.

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Lena Herzog the author of photography books includingTauromaquia, Flamenco and Pilgrims. Her portfolios have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Paris Review, Harper’s magazine and have been exhibited in Europe and in the United States. Her new monograph Lost Souls is published in conjunction with the exhibition at the International Center of Photography.






Lawrence Weschler graduated from Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1974. He was a staff writer at The New Yorker from 1981-2002. His books include The Passion of Poland, A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers, and Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin, David Hockney’s Cameraworks, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder; A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces, Boggs: A Comedy of Values, Robert Irwin: Getty Garden, Vermeer in Bosnia, and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences. Weschler has taught at Princeton, Columbia, UCSC, Bard, Vassar, NYU, and Sarah Lawrence and he is currently director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He is a contributing editor to McSweeney’s and the Threepeeny Review.

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This event is located in the South Court Auditorium of The New York Public Library. Enter on 5th Avenue between 40th Street and 42nd Street and proceed to South Court.

Box office opens at 5:00pm, Doors open at 6:15pm, Program begins at 7:00pm. Arrive early for seats!