Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Art and Mindfulness | Enrique Martínez Celaya, Gabriella De Ferrari | An Artist Dialogue Series Event


FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Artist Enrique Martínez Celaya has pursued a singular vision through painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, poetry, and prose. His work examines the complexities and mysteries of individual experience, particularly in its relation to nature and time, and explores the question of authenticity revealed in the friction between personal imperatives, social conditions, and universal circumstances. These examinations often result in comprehensive projects addressing memory, familiarity, attachment, love, death, and longing.

To celebrate the publication of two books, Art and Mindfulness and Martínez Celaya, Work and Documents 1990-2015, the artist is joined in conversation by art historian, curator and writer  Gabriella De Ferrari to discuss the themes and motifs that he has explored over the course of his twenty-five year career as revealed through these two recent publications, his distinctive approach to art, and his passion for teaching and the important role it plays in his life and work.

An artist is a perishable idea. That someone is an artist today does not mean this will be true tomorrow. So begins Martínez Celaya’s afterword to Art and Mindfulness: Notes from the Anderson Ranch, a provocative and challenging collection of comments, observations, and reflections recorded by a student from his lectures at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, Colorado from 2005-13. Through such topics as “Being an Artist,” “Notes on Ethics,” “Risk and Failure,” and “Dangers and Fears,” Martínez Celaya explores what makes an artist and artist, concluding, as he does in the afterword, that an artist is found in an “initial spark” that “ignites in the friction between talent and character.” A contemporary version of Robert Henri’s The Artist Spirit (1923), these notes serve as a practical and accessible guide not only for artists but also for anyone who wishes to live a mindful, productive life. 

Martínez Celaya, Work and Documents 1990-2015 offers a unique perspective on the artist’s expansive twenty-five year career. Drawn from original research from the studio’s archive, this retrospective monograph documents the development of Martínez Celaya’s thought through rare and previously unpublished photographs; sketches and drawings for his public projects and exhibitions; archival notes and writings from his journal; and selections from critics. The publication traces the development of Martínez Celaya’s exploration of the complexities and ambiguities of experience, feeling, and thought through his abiding commitment to painting.

Copies of Art and Mindfulness (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) and Martínez Celaya, Work and Documents 1990-2015  (Radius Books, 2016) are available for purchase and signing at the end of event.

Enrique Martinez Celaya, The Crown, 2015, oil and wax on canvas, 100 x 78 inches. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Enrique Martinez Celaya, The Crown, 2015, oil and wax on canvas,
100 x 78 inches. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Enrique Martínez Celaya is trained as an artist and a physicist. He initiated his formal training as an apprentice to a painter at the age of 12, studied Applied & Engineering Physics at Cornell University and Quantum Electronics at the University of California, Berkeley, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University and Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska. He is a Trustee of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College.

His work has been widely exhibited internationally and is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig, among others. He is the author of Collected Writings and Interviews 1990-2010; The Blog: Bad Time for Poetry, published by Whale & Star Press; and October, published by Cinubia. As a physicist, Martínez Celaya published scientific papers on superconductivity and lasers, and is the inventor of several laser devices and of an often-cited patent. Martínez Celaya founded Whale & Star in 1998, an evolving idea of social and intellectual interaction. At present, it has an imprint, maintains a project of public lectures, hosts several working visits each year for poor and at-risk children, supports a modest residency and intern program, and offers four modest scholarships.

Gabriella De Ferrari has led major museums, art institutions, and cultural organizations as a curator, director, board member, and advisor. Born in Tacna, Peru to Italian parents, De Ferrari studied marketing and economics at St. Louis University and Tufts University, where she earned an M.A. She also received an M.A. in art history from Harvard University and served as Curator of Exhibitions and then Director of The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. She also served as a curator at Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum as well as assistant director of Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. 

De Ferrari is  the founding chair of the Board of Governors of the Colby College Museum of Art (Waterville, Maine). She has served as philanthropic advisor to the Chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corporation. She has also served on advisory and governing boards of Board at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Harvard University Art Museums; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa (Italy). She is Founding Chair of the Vera List Center for Art & Politics at the New School and served as Chair of the Board of Creative Time and the CUNY Graduate Center Foundation, in New York City. She has also been active as a writer, serving as contributing editor of Travel + Leisuremagazine and her many essays on art and culture have been published in such magazines as Bomb, House & Garden, and Connoisseur. In addition, her novel, A Cloud on Sand, published in 1990 by Alfred A. Knopf, received significant critical acclaim.

Enrique Martinez Celaya, The Cascade, 2013, bronze sculpture, five steel beds, fiberglass, and pine needles, dimensions variable, Collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Enrique Martinez Celaya, The Cascade, 2013, bronze sculpture, five steel beds, fiberglass,
and pine needles, dimensions variable. Collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

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. 

Events at The New York Public Library may be photographed or recorded. By attending these events, you consent to the use of your image and voice by the Library for all purposes.

Chat with a librarian now

Keep Up With NYPL Events

Subscribe to our newsletters:

NYPL Programs

NYPL Family Programs

Programs for educators:

Teaching & Learning