Public Theater Continues Forum Series with Sarah Lewis, Jose Rivera & Carrie Mae Weems, 4/7

Public Theater Continues Forum Series with Sarah Lewis, Jose Rivera & Carrie Mae Weems, 4/7

The Public Theater will continue its Spring Public Forum series with an exciting new Public Forum Solo, SARAH LEWIS: PICTURES AND PROGRESS, on Monday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Joe's Pub at The Public. Member tickets are on sale now. Single tickets, starting at $25, go on sale Wednesday, March 12 and can be purchased at (212) 967-7555,, or in person at the Taub Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street.

In this one-night-only Public Forum Solo event, Sarah Lewis, cultural historian, curator, and author of the acclaimed new book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, will deliver a talk about Frederick Douglass's seminal lecture "Pictures and Progress." It argued that before any social progress is possible, we must be able to imagine what a better world could look like. Then, two of America's most celebrated and insightful creative talents, the playwright and screenwriter José Rivera and the photographer and visual artist Carrie Mae Weems-who has a major exhibition at the Guggenheim this spring-will join her to discuss what lessons contemporary artists should take from Douglass's lecture, and how a better world looks to them.

"'Do artists make social progress possible?' It was a great question when Frederick Douglass asked it, and the brilliant Sarah Lewis is the perfect person to renew it for our times," said Public Forum Director Jeremy McCarter. "I can't wait to see how she and some of America's leading artists answer it."

PUBLIC FORUM presents the theater of ideas. This series of conversations that include Public Forum Drama Club, Public Forum Duets, Public Forum Solos, and the Public Forum Podcast feature discussions and performances with leading voices in politics, media, and the arts. Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Sam Waterston, and former NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman have hosted its programs, which have featured the insights of Kurt Andersen, David Brooks, David Byrne, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Tony Kushner, Rachel Maddow, Wynton Marsalis, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Francine Prose, Salman Rushdie, David Simon, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the culture writers of New York Magazine, and young veterans of the war in Afghanistan - plus performances by Christine Baranski, Matt Damon, Holly Hunter, Wendell Pierce, and Vanessa Redgrave, among others.

The next Public Forum this spring will be An Evening With Tevye and Chava on Monday, March 17, inspired by Alisa Solomon's Wonder of Wonders, a new cultural history of Fiddler on the Roof, featuring Harvey Fierstein, Sheldon Harnick, Austin Pendleton, Jenny Romaine, and Alisa Solomon. The spring Drama Club season concludes on Sunday, May 18 with a reading and discussion of Susan Glaspell's timely one-act play, The People, featuring a special cast will be comprised entirely of our leading political journalists, including David Brooks (The New York Times), Christopher Hayes (MSNBC), and many more.

SARAH LEWIS has served on President Barack Obama's Arts Policy Committee, been selected for Oprah's "Power List," and is a faculty member at Yale University, School of Art in the MFA program. She received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, and will receive her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2014. Her book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery (Simon & Schuster, 2014) is a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable, the unlikely, even failure. Her second book on Frederick Douglass, photography and the Civil War, will be released by Harvard University Press in 2015. She has held positions at both the Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently a board member of The Andy Warhol for the Visual Arts, the CUNY Graduate Center, and The Brearley School. She lives in New York City.

JOSÉ RIVERA's screenplay, The Motorcycle Diaries, was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005. His film, On the Road, premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival . Rivera has won two Obie Awards for Marisol and References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot. His additional plays, Cloud Tectonics, Boleros for the Disenchanted, Sueño, Sonnets for an Old Century, School of the Americas, Massacre (Sing to Your Children), Brainpeople, The House of Ramon Iglesia, and Adoration of the Old Woman have been produced in theatres across the country. The film Celestina, based on his play Cloud Tectonics, will mark his debut as a feature film director.

CARRIE MAE WEEMS earned a B.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1981), and an M.F.A. from UC San Diego (1984), continuing her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley (1984-87). With the pitch and timbre of an accomplished storyteller, Weems uses colloquial forms-jokes, songs, rebukes-in photographic series that scrutinize subjectivity and expose pernicious stereotypes. Weems's vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms: social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans of more than a century. She has received honorary degrees from Colgate University (2007) and California College of the Arts (2001). Awards include the MacArthur Fellowship; Anonymous Was a Woman Award; Skowhegan Medal for Photography; Rome Prize Fellowship; and the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography; among others.

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