New Museum’s Stuart Regen Visionaries Series
Announces Hilton Als, Author and Critic, as the 2015 Visionary Speaker
Als to Read New, Unpublished Essay on Photographer Diane Arbus and Her Relationship with New York City
Tuesday September 15, 2015, at 7 PM in the New Museum Theater
Hilton Als is one of the most distinctive voices in American letters. As this year’s Visionary speaker, Als will read from a new, unpublished essay about photographer Diane Arbus and her passionate engagement with New York City. Arbus is a perfect vehicle for Als’s meditation. Running from privilege, she took herself further and further away from anything that could be described as normative and descended into a world teetering on the brink of the void. Like Als, she saw herself in her subjects, but, for her, life became a desperate struggle to disassociate from them.
Als’s career has been closely associated with the New Yorker since 1989, when he began working as a contributor to the magazine’s column “The Talk of the Town.” In 1994, he became a staff writer and, in 2002, the publication’s theater critic. His revolutionary autobiography, The Women, appeared in 1996 and introduced an author who embraced enormously complex topics—such as race, sexuality, politics, and, most of all, the liquid dimensions of love—to an audience of readers who would become his devotees. In 2013, a selection of his essays was published under the title White Girls. The book is inhabited by a cast of characters that could easily populate a twenty-first-century version of Tennessee Williams’s Camino Real. Truman Capote, Michael Jackson, and Richard Pryor are cast as his heroines and heroes, and everywhere is Als himself, whose uncanny empathy makes him another player in his theater of doubled identities.
Previous Visionaries include legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, whose talk inaugurated this signature program (2009); Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia (2010); Alice Waters, chef, author, activist, and proprietor of Chez Panisse Restaurant & Café (2011); artist and architect Maya Lin (2012); Matthew Weiner, writer, director, and producer of Mad Men (in conversation with writer A.M. Homes) (2013); and Darren Aronofsky, Academy Award–nominated director, screenwriter, and producer (in conversation with novelist and critic Lynne Tillman) (2014).
The Visionaries Series is made possible by the Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund, established by a gift from Barbara Gladstone in honor of her son Stuart Regen. Additional support for the Visionaries Series is provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.