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Art Talks: LOUISE NEVELSON | Laurie Wilson, Arezoo Moseni | An Art Book Series Event

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FREE — Auditorium doors open at 5:30PM.

In celebration of the publication of Louise Nevelson: Light and Shadow, art historian and biographer Laurie Wilson discusses the remarkable life and art of one of the great sculptors of the 20th century in a presentation that considers the key elements of Nevelson’s work, the links between her childhood experiences and adult life as an artist, the major influences on her evolving style, the challenges she faced to be taken seriously, and the relationship between her public face and the flesh-and-blood woman.

Mike Nevelson installing Sky Cathedral at the Thorndike Hotel, 1959.
Mike Nevelson installing Sky Cathedral at the Thorndike Hotel, 1959.
Artwork © 2016 Estate of Louise Nevelson, Artists Rights Society, New York.
Photograph by James Moore.

Following the presentation, Laurie Wilson and Arezoo Moseni converse about Nevelson’s unshakeable self-confidence, even in the face of failure, her relationship to other artists of her era (Mark Rothko, Diego Rivera, Willem de Kooning ), and the gallerists, curators and critics who shaped her career, most especially The New York Times critic Hilton Kramer and the  art dealer Arne Glimcher, founder of the Pace Gallery.

The story of Louise Nevelson’s remarkable life and art—the first biography of this major artist to be published in 25 years--draws on hours of personal interviews with Nevelson and her colleagues, friends and family to offer an intimate portrait and extensive new detail. Nevelson struggled in poverty in the art-world wilderness for 30 years before she was finally “discovered” at age 59 and celebrated for her groundbreaking abstract-expressionist sculpture.

Louise Nevelson with Bobby Giza, at Lippincott, Inc. 1975. Photograph by Roxanne Everett.
Louise Nevelson with Bobby Giza, at Lippincott, Inc. 1975. Photograph by Roxanne Everett.  
© Roxanne Everett and Lippincott’s, LLC.

She took the art world of the sixties and seventies by storm, and retained an enduring popularity for the next 30 years until her death at age 89. Louise Nevelson was a pioneer environmental artist with room-size installations composed of series of boxes, and later in her career was celebrated for her  majestic, large-scale Cor-ten steel structures that are now spread all across America. From czarist Russia at the turn of the century to a Jewish immigrant childhood in Maine; a repressive marriage to the life of an artist, she was always a formidable personality, a woman who made it entirely on her own in an art world dominated by men.

Louise Nevelson with Willem de Kooning, 1986. Photograph by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.
Louise Nevelson with Willem de Kooning, 1986. Photograph by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.

As her good looks faded Nevelson developed a unique persona, dressing like a gypsy queen and adorning herself with mink eyelashes. She found that when people were seduced by her charisma and startling appearance, they would soon enough find themselves also looking at her art. Throughout her life, Nevelson prized creativity above all else. Her deepest desire was to share her creativity with the world and to encourage everyone to participate in what she believed was the highest possible human achievement—art. As Nevelson understood it, art was something that should be accessible to all—not just an elite few. —Laurie Wilson

Advance copies of LOUISE NEVELSON: Light and Shadow (Thames & Hudson, 2016) are available for purchase and signing at the end of the event

Laurie Wilson is a New York-based biographer and art historian, and the author of Alberto Giacometti: Myth, Magic and the Man, published by Yale University Press in 2003. Her new book is Louise Nevelson: Light and Shadow (Thames & Hudson, October 2016), which draws on her longtime involvement with the artist, dating back to the 1970s when she spent fifteen hours interviewing Nevelson for her doctoral dissertation.  She has written over a dozen chapters, articles and essays on Nevelson for professional journals and publications, including essays for the 1980 Whitney Museum exhibit (for which she conducted additional interviews with the artist) and the catalogue essay for an exhibit at the Phoenix Museum of Art. She is also a practicing psychoanalyst on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education affiliated with NYU School of Medicine.

Louise Nevelson with Arne Glimcher, 1980s. Photograph by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.
Louise Nevelson with Arne Glimcher, 1980s.
Photograph by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.

Arezoo Moseni is an artist. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at major venues in the U.S. and abroad such as FIAC 2014, and it is held in numerous public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Bibliotheque nationale de France, and Musee de La Photographie. She is the recipient of several fellowships and grants including the Carnegie Corporation of New York | New York Times award, Kentler International Work on Site grant, Yaddo Fellowship and Artists Space Independent Project grant. She received a BFA at Utah State University, a MA and MFA at the University of New Mexico, and a MLIS at Pratt Institute. She curates exhibitions and events at The New York Public Library where she has initiated several exhibition and program series featuring the work of emerging and renowned artists, architects, authors, critics, designers, poets and others.

In its eighth year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.

The event is free and advanced registration is recommended. 

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.

Louise Nevelson with Virgil Thomson and Edward Albee, 1984. Photography by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.
Louise Nevelson with Virgil Thomson and Edward Albee, 1984.
Photography by and courtesy of Diana MacKown.