Nell Painter: Old in Art School (w/ Debra Balkin Vinson Cunningham & boice-Terrel Allen)

Wednesday August 28: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Event Admission          Signed Copy, No Admission

Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school in her sixties to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived.

How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, "You will never be an artist"? Who defines what "An Artist" is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Old in Art School is Nell Painter's ongoing exploration of those crucial questions. Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art. Joining Painter in the discussion about her new book will be writers Debra Bricker and Vinson Cunningham, along with moderator boice-Terrel Allen.

Nell Painter is the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University. Her acclaimed works of history include Standing at Armageddon, Sojourner Truth, and the New York Times bestseller The History of White People, which have received widespread attention for their insights into how we have historically viewed and translated ideas of gender, value, hierarchy, and race. She holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her visual artwork has been shown at numerous galleries and in many collections, including the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Gallery Aferro. She lives in Newark, New Jersey and the Adirondacks.

Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer who has organized numerous exhibitions on subjects relating to American modernism and contemporary art for major museums internationally. Her award-winning books include Philip Guston’s Poor Richard (2001) and Abstract Expressionism: Movements in Modern Art (2005), as well as exhibition catalogues such as Arthur Dove, A Retrospective (1997), The Park Avenue Cubists (2003), Dove/O’Keeffe: Circles of Influence (2009), After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism and the Midwest (2009), John Storrs: Machine-Age Modernist (2010), and John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury (2011).

Vinson Cunningham is a staff writer and co-theatre critic for The New Yorker. His essays, reviews, and profiles have also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, FADER, Vulture, The Awl, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. A former White House staffer, he now teaches an MFA Writing course at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City. 

boice-Terrel Allen is a podcaster, author and musician originally from Pittsburgh and currently lives in New York City. He's published three books of fiction (Screwball Comedy/Stories Going Steady, Janet Hurst and The Daughters of a Mother), edited an anthology of multicultural fiction and poetry (Coloring Book) and released two music albums (How to Be an Adult and Get Me Audio, Vol. 1). He hosts the StrandCast, Strand's brand new podcast with author interviews, reading recommendations, literary horoscopes and more. His podcast, Talk Music Talk, originated in 2015 and has released over 160 episodes. Talk Music Talk is a weekly interview podcast featuring long-form discussions with singers, songwriters, authors, producers and others who are connected to music of all genres. The show can be streamed on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud and is also available as an app.

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