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Everything That Risesby Lawrence Weschler
Lawrence Weschler makes the reader do a lot of the work. This is a very good thing, as it's really fun work. He provides just enough description and imagery to reveal how "convergences" — similarities of form/theme across disparate eras/regions of visual culture — sizzle across his synapses. He invites the reader to draw her own conclusions, while sneaking in a little art history lesson. It's a pretty casual book, but by the end, it really comes together. I was left with a sharper eye and refreshed sense of wonder.
Synopses & Reviews
"From the general mass of heavy-handed, pompous writing about art, Weschler's graceful collection of essays and interviews stands out like a rare bloom. Charming, idiosyncratic and deeply intelligent, the book will likely captivate even readers who usually bypass the art history section of bookstores. The topic at hand is convergence: the visual rhyme between seemingly disparate images, and the way those rhymes stimulate new understanding of the scenes depicted. Take for example, Weschler's talk with photographer Joel Meyerowitz, in which they discuss the similarity between the latter's photo of firemen on a break at ground zero and an anonymous shot of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Looking at the two images, Meyerowitz recalls, 'I had the same sense of history repeating itself, people assembled after carnage or destruction or before battle, and they're dispersed in a way that is casual, from fatigue or just...' Elsewhere, Weschler (Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder) examines Polish history through the posters of its Solidarity Movement and compares the doughy physiognomies and political careers of two conservative leaders: Newt Gingrich and Slobodan Milosevic. It's his light touch that allows Weschler to get away with such parallels; he never pushes a point too far. All he does is articulate his own evocative visual and philosophical connections; we can make of them what we will. Color photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From a cuneiform tablet to a Chicago prison, from the depths of the cosmos to the text on our T-shirts, Lawrence Weschler finds strange connections wherever he looks. The farther one travels (through geography, through art, through science, through time), the more everything seems to converge — at least, it does if you're looking through Weschler's giddy, brilliant eyes. Weschler combines his keen insights into art, his years of experience as a chronicler of the fall of Communism, and his triumphs and failures as the father of a teenage girl into a series of essays sure to illuminate, educate, and astound.
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