Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Expanded Edition

Weschler, Lawrence

"Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees chronicles three decades of extraordinary conversation between Weschler and Light and Space master Irwin, taking us into the heart of what it can mean to be an artist." The original dialogues extend from the surf and cars of Irwin's L.A. youth through his passion for abstract expressionism, past his decision to abandon studio work altogether, up to and including the 1977 Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective. This lavishly expanded new edition surveys many of Irwin's subsequent site-conditioned projects - in particular the spectacularly realized Central Garden at the Getty Museum (the subject of an epic battle with the site's principal architect, Richard Meier) and the path-breaking design that transformed an abandoned Hudson Valley factory into Dia's stellar new Beacon campus - enhancing what many had already considered the best-ever book on an artist. Editorial Reviews From the Publisher "A magnetic (now expanded) biography."--San Diego Union-Tribune "Seeing is Forgetting may not be just the best biography of an artist out there but also one of the best books on contemporary art-making."--Frieze San Diego Union-Tribune - Robert L. Pincus "A magnetic (now expanded) biography." Frieze - Eugenia Bell "Seeing is Forgetting may not be just the best biography of an artist out there but also one of the best books on contemporary art-making." The Barnes & Noble Review 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. --James Mustich

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