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William Wegman and Padgett Powell - Art and Literature


FREE - Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

In this fascinating event, renowned artist William Wegman discusses his stunning new book Hello Nature: How to Draw, Paint, Cook, and Find Your Way. He explores the unique artistic vision behind his work and his highly acclaimed career. He is joined by award-winning author Padgett Powell, whose fiction work also appears in the book, for a conversation, audience Q&A, and book signing.

Perhaps best known for his photography and videos, particularly of his dogs, William Wegman is also an accomplished painter, draftsman, and writer, and an avid outdoorsman. Throughout his work he looks to nature and its treatments in both popular culture and the arts for inspiration. He may use vintage postcards as the starting point for landscape compositions, borrow from the rhetoric of outdoor recreation in his wordplay, or invoke the writings of someone like Henry David Thoreau. In this unique and very personal volume, Wegman considers his artistic formation and with great sophistication examines his relationship to place, creatively incorporating some of the books and materials that are at the root of his aesthetic. In reflecting on nature’s place in the cultural imagination, Wegman often revisits those books which shaped his first outdoor experiences —Boy Scout manuals, field guides, and the like. By creatively incorporating these materials, this book embodies the artist’s quirky and nostalgic aesthetic. Complete with the artist’s commentary, texts by the curators of the related exhibition, and a piece of short fiction by the esteemed author Padgett Powell, Hello Nature provides a marvelous immersion, in image, written word, and design, into what can only be described as Wegman’s world.

Copies of the book is available for purchase and signing at this event.

From Hello Nature, The Hardly Boys Rescue. © William Wegman 2012From Hello Nature, The Hardly Boys Rescue. © William Wegman 2012

William Wegman was born December 2, 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He received a BFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1965 and an MFA from the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana in 1967. Wegman's photographs, videotapes, paintings, and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. Recent exhibitions have included touring retrospectives of Wegman’s work in Europe, Japan, and Korea.  In 2006-2008, Funney/Strange, a retrospective of Wegman’s paintings, drawings, videos, and photographs, toured the US, appearing at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Wexner Center, and the Smithsonian.  His work recently appeared in exhibitions at the Pomona College Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Berkeley Museum as part of Pacific Standard Time.  Upcoming exhibitions include a large scale survey exhibition which will open at Bowdoin College in July 2012 and will travel to Stockholm and Copenhagen as well as a gallery exhibition with Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York.

Wegman is the author of numerous books for children, including New York Times bestseller Puppies. Working with his cast of Weimaraners, Wegman has created projects for Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street, where his videos have appeared regularly since 1989. Wegman’s movie The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Wegman has been commissioned to create works for such diverse projects as a guidebook for MoMA, a line of fabrics for Crypton, a season brochure for the Metropolitan Opera, and an anniversary cover for The New Yorker. His Man’s Best Friend calendar celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Wegman has also created both print and TV ad campaigns for clients including Honda, Panasonic, and Sony. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and with Jay Leno, David Letterman and, most recently, The Colbert Report. Wegman currently lives in New York and Maine.From Hello Nature, The Beach, the Sky. © William Wegman 2012From Hello Nature, The Beach, the Sky. © William Wegman 2012

Padgett Powell has published five novels and two collections of short stories. His latest novel is You and Me. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Paris Review, Grand Street, Esquire, The New York Times Book Review and Magazine, and Oxford American; and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Best American Sportswriting. He is the winner of the Prix de Rome and a Whiting Writers Award. He teaches at the University of Florida, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and the Summer Literary Seminars in Russia, Kenya, and Canada. 

Conceived and organized by Arezoo Moseni, and in its third year, Art and Literature Series events bring forth pollinations across the literary and visual arts with readings and discussions by acclaimed artists and authors.