Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Over Thirty Years of Conversations with Robert Irwin

The first incarnation of this book was published a quarter century ago, its happily engrossing pages detailing conversations between the artist Robert Irwin and the tireless cultural sleuth Lawrence Weschler. Tracking the evolution of Irwin?s artistic inspirations along a desultory path -- through high school memories of southwest Los Angeles (replete with cars and drive-ins and dance contests), early work as an abstract expressionist, the careful stripping down of his art to lines, dots, discs, and light, and a chapter on Irwin?s income-sustaining trips to the racetrack -- Weschler opens all kinds of doors in the reader?s understanding of not only creativity but also of the fundamental elements of perception. This richly expanded edition of the original book (it?s half again as long, with two dozen color plates) adds subsequent conversations between author and artist, treating Irwin?s work in conceiving and constructing the Central Garden of the Getty Musuem and in the shaping of the Hudson Valley site of Dia?s Beacon campus, among other projects. In sum, it presents 30 years of an ongoing dialogue that never loses its easygoing edges of intellect and wonder. A companion volume, True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney, collects Weschler?s equally enlightening pieces on artistic investigations of a very different stripe. Each book is filled with the seductive magic of watching private curiosity taking palpable shape before our eyes.

July 28: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped on this day in 1814.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).