William Kentridge Expands

William Kentridge Expands


Still from the sixth Norton Lecture by William Kentridge.


William Kentridge Expands



I still remember my mother laughing about how wowwed she was the first time she saw the movie Sunset Boulevard. And how gawdawful it seemed decades later.



Sometimes you enjoy something not five stars worth but six. Time may soon calm you down to five. Or two. But some things — Joyce’s Ulysses, Handel’s Messiah — may salute your life’s end by a show of flags. The signs of grace that you carried in your living heart.



Six stars today for artist William Kentridge’s Norton Lectures at Harvard from 2012. (All available on YouTube — links below). On the final lecture night an introductory speaker joked that everyone in attendance might want to go home and review their speaking skills. Kentridge is a phenomenon. He spends minimal time behind the podium, walks around talking, shows film clips, even interacts with one in the last night. His lectures are titled Six Drawing Lessons.



Drawing is the least of what you’ll learn. Drawing is exactly what he’s talking about.



I think of Kentridge as one of the three best living male artists (Frank Stella, Anselm Kiefer)*. Each of them has gone again. And again. And further. Each has searched inside himself and created an astonishing self-portrait.



The reasons for you to treat yourself to Kentridge’s lectures are these. He is the P.T.Barnum of the sober-sided Norton Lectures. A consummate performer with a sense of the absurd. He is a thinker, meaning he really thinks — like a drinker taking a long draught of elixer. I don’t understand it all and I don’t care. To hear someone as multi-leveled, articulate, charming, alive as this cannot mar your day.



I suspect you’ll give it 6 stars and will become quite fond of William Kentridge.




* Oh my, and Ai Weiwei



Six Drawing Lessons by William Kentridge, Harvard University Charles Eliot Norton lectures.

1.  In Praise of Shadows

2.  A Brief History of Colonial Revolts

3.  Vertical Thinking — A Johannesburg Biography

4.  Practical Epistemology: Life in the Studio

5.  In Praise of Mistranslation

6.  Anti-Entropy

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