HILTON ALS became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town. Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. Als edited the catalogue for the 1994-95 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art.” His first book, “The Women,” was published in 1996. His most recent book, “White Girls,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014, discusses various narratives of race and gender.He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2017.
In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for creative writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2009, Als worked with the performer Justin Bond on “Cold Water,” an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and videos by performers, at La MaMa Gallery. In 2010, he co-curated “Self-Consciousness,” at the VeneKlasen/Werner gallery, in Berlin, and published “Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis.” In 2015, he collaborated with the artist Celia Paul to create “Desdemona for Celia by Hilton,” an exhibition for the Metropolitan Opera’s Gallery Met. Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College.
In 2017 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism: “For bold and original reviews that strove to put stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality and race.” As an art curator, Als has been responsible for exhibitions including the group show Forces in Nature (featuring work by such artists as Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, Celia Paul, Tal R, Sarah Sze, Kara Walker, and Francesca Woodman) in 2015, and most recently an exhibition of work from the Manhattan years of portraitist Alice Neel, entitled Alice Neel, Uptown, at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London (May 18–July 29, 2017). He lives in New York City.
LAURA PHILLIPS “LAURIE” ANDERSON (born June 5, 1947) is an American avant-garde artist, composer, musician and film director whose work spans performance art, pop music, and multimedia projects.Initially trained in violin and sculpting, Anderson pursued a variety of performance art projects in New York during the 1970s, making particular use of language, technology, and visual imagery.She became widely more known outside the art world in 1981 when her single “O Superman” reached number two on the UK pop charts. She also starred in and directed the 1986 concert film Home of the Brave.
Anderson is a pioneer in electronic music and has invented several devices that she has used in her recordings and performance art shows. In 1977, she created a tape-bow violin that uses recorded magnetic tape on the bow instead of horsehair and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. In the late 1990s, she developed a talking stick, a six-foot (1.8 m) long baton-like MIDI controller that can access and replicate sounds.
Anderson was married to musician Lou Reed from 2008 until his death in 2013.
CHIP KIDD is a contemporary American graphic designer, author and editor. He is best recognized as graphic designer for book covers. Being a huge admirer of comic books he not only wrote some of those for DC Comics but also designed their covers. Born on 12 September 1964, in Pennsylvania, Chip Kidd grew up to be an associate art director at the New York publishing house, Knopf. He was hired at the publishing house as a junior assistant in 1986. Besides, Kidd freelanced for various firms and produced more than 70 book jackets per year. Some of the publishing houses he freelanced for included Farrar Straus & Giroux, Amazon, HarperCollins, Scribner and Penguin/Putnam. At Pantheon Book he designed the graphic novels.
Some of his clients included Bret Easton Ellis, Dean Koontz, Frank Miller, Mark Beyer, Donna Tartt and Alex Ross. The film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel featured Kidd’s concept art for the novel. Other famous authors, Oliver Sacks and Lisa Birnbach, also requested his expertise for their books’ covers. Kidd has a humble and self-deprecating attitude and never accepted credit for his work. For instance, when he declared that he made his career on the back of authors and that he is fortunate to work on Cormac McCarthy’s books and not the other way round. Moreover, he confessed to be a huge fan of comic books, especially Batman series. In fact, he has designed book covers and wrote several of DC Comics. The comic books include The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days, Superman, The Complete History of Batman and Wonder Woman. Alex Ross illustrated one of the exclusive Batman/Superman stories that Kidd authored.
In addition to graphic designing, Chip Kidd also wrote novels. In 2001, he released his debut novel The Cheese Monkeys which is an academic satire. It narrates the coming-of-age tale about state college art students who were bullied by their graphic designing instructor. The book largely draws upon Kidd’s real-life experiences. The sequel of the novel The Learners appeared in 2008. Kidd wrote the story for the original graphic novel, Batman: Death By Design (2012). In 2014, he received an AIGA medal for his contribution to graphic designing industry.
NICOLE DENNIS-BENN was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Her family lived in Vineyard Town where she spent most of her childhood before moving to Portmore, St. Catherine. At 11 years old, Dennis-Benn won an academic scholarship to the prestigious St. Andrew High School for Girls in Kingston. She left Jamaica at 17 to attend college, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Nutritional Sciences fromCornell University in 2003. She wrote throughout her college years to cope with her homesickness and found that she enjoyed writing more than her pre-med courses. In 2004 she pursued a Masters in Public Health, specializing in women’s reproductive health, at the University of Michigan‘s top ranking MPH program in Ann Arbor, graduating in 2006. Dennis-Benn then went on to work as a Project Manager in Gender, Sexuality and Health Research in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for four years before finally deciding to pursue her passion as a writer. While working at Columbia, she completed her MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Sarah Lawrence College in 2012.
In 2016 Dennis-Benn published her debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, with W.W. Norton/Liveright. Dennis-Benn was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, Texas Library Association 2017 Lariat, and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She has written for The New York Times, ELLE Magazine, Catapult, Red Rock Review, Kweli Literary Journal, Ebony, and the Feminist Wire. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.
A vivacious singer, dancer, and actress — an exciting and explosive performer — Rivera was born to Puerto Rican parents and grew up in the Bronx. She started dancing when she was seven, and from the age of 11, trained for a career in classical ballet. After studying at the New York City Ballet via a scholarship from choreographer George Balanchine, in 1952 she turned from classical dance and joined the chorus of “Call Me Madam” on Broadway. Further chorus work in “Guys and Dolls” and “Can-Can” was followed by appearances in “Shoestring Revue,” “Seventh Heaven,” and “Mr. Wonderful” (1956). She rocketed to stardom in 1957 as Anita in “West Side Story,” and stopped the show nightly by singing and dancing herself into a frenzy to the whooping rhythms of “America.” She caused even more of a sensation when “West Side Story” opened in London on December 12, 1958; it is still regarded by many as the most exciting first night of the postwar years. Two years later she was back on Broadway as Dick Van Dyke’s secretary Rose, in the first successful rock ‘n’ roll musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” and she re-created her role in London in the following year. A musical adaptation of “The Prisoner of Zenda” (1963), in which she starred with Alfred Drake, folded before it reached New York, but a year later, Rivera was acclaimed for her role as a gypsy princess in “Bajour” on Broadway.
PETER ROSEN has produced and directed over 100 full-length films and television programs which have been distributed world-wide and have won awards at all the major film festivals. He has worked directly with some of the most important figures in the arts such as Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Stephen Sondheim, Alexander Godunov, Midori, Martha Graham, Placido Domingo, Van Cliburn, Claudio Arrau, Byron Janis, I. M. Pei, and Garrison Keillor.
He won the prestigious Directors Guild of America Award in 1990 for his production “Here to Make Music: The Eighth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.” The show also won a prime-time Emmy Award in 1990, and was called “enriching and inspiring” by the New York Daily News. He was again nominated for theDGA Award in 1998 for his film, “First Person Singular: I. M. Pei“. “Playing on the Edge: The Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition“, with KERA/PBS, sponsored by ExxonMobil. won the prestigious Peabody Award in 2001. Recent national prime-time broadcasts from 2005-2010 of Peter Rosen films include: “A Surprise in Texas“, on the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, “The Byron Janis Story“, on the pianist”s battle against crippling arthritis, “The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes“, on Garrison Keillor for the American Masters series, “Shadows in Paradise“, Europe”s musical exiles who fled Hitler for Southern California, “In the Key of G: The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival” for PBS, “Master of the House” is a film broadcast on PBS as part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Tribute to Joseph Volpe, “A Workshop for Peace” is an hour long documentary commissioned by the United Nations on its 60th Anniversary, “Great Conversations in Music” commissioned by the Library of Congress, “Who Gets to Call it Art?” is a feature length documentary now in theatres and on the Sundance Channel on curator Henry Geldzahler, and a six part series “Concerto”, aired on PBS hosted by conductor James Conlon.
Brook Klausing is a Kentucky boy who spends most of his time with his sleeves rolled up, hands covered in dirt, creating some of NYC’s most beautiful backyards. Brook was only eight years old when he started his first business – a lawn cutting service called Klausing Brothers. “We’d charge like three or five bucks, and our slogan was ‘We cut class to cut your grass’ ,” says the Southerner, whose father was also a landscaper. Raised humbly in rural Kentucky, Brook forayed into his father’s trade as a way to earn a few extra bucks – mainly to support a youthful obsession with Polo shirts and an early passion for vintage furniture. “I’d buy my own furniture when I was 12 years old. Not many 12 year olds are buying furniture,” he says laughingly.
SAYA WOOLFALK (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. With the multi year projects No Place, The Empathics, and ChimaTEK, Woolfalk has created the world of the Empathics, a fictional race of women who are able to alter their genetic make-up and fuse with plants. With each body of work, Woolfalk continues to build the narrative of these women’s lives, and questions the utopian possibilities of cultural hybridity.
She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Deitch Projects; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Brooklyn Museum; Asian Art Museum, CA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; The Yerba Buena Center; The Newark Museum; Third Streaming; MCA San Diego; MoCA Taipei; and Performa 09; has been written about in the New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine, Artforum, Artforum.com, ARTNews, The New York Times, Huffington Post and on Art21’s blog; and has also worked with Facebook and WeTransfer. Her first solo museum show The Empathics was on view at the Montclair Art Museum in the Fall of 2012. Her second solo museum exhibition ChimaTEK Life Products was on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art in the fall 2014. She recently completed a new video installation commission for the Seattle Art Museum, and is a recipient of a NYFA grant in Digital/Electronic Arts. She is represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, NYC and teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at Parsons: The New School for Design.
RITA DOLORES MORENO (born December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican-American actress and singer. Her career has spanned over 70 years; she notably appeared in the 1961 film West Side Story, as well as a 1971-1977 stint on the children’s television series The Electric Company. Moreno is one of twelve performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony She has also won numerous other awards, including various lifetime achievement awards.
Moreno’s Broadway credits include Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969), the very short-lived musical Gantry (1970) and The Ritz, for which she won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. She appeared in Chicago in the female version of The Odd Couple, for which she won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1985. In 2006, she portrayed Amanda Wingfield in Berkeley Repertory Theatre‘s revival of The Glass Menagerie. In September 2011, Moreno began performing a solo autobiographical show at the Berkeley Rep (theater) in Berkeley, California, Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup written by Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone after hours of interviews with Moreno.
Moreno acted steadily in films throughout the 1950s, usually in small roles, including in The Toast of New Orleans (1950) and Singin’ in the Rain(1952), in which she played the starlet “Zelda Zanders”. In March 1954, Moreno was featured on the cover of Life Magazine with the caption “Rita Moreno: An Actress’s Catalog of Sex and Innocence”. In 1956, Moreno had a supporting role in the film version of The King and I as Tuptim, but disliked most of her other work during this period. In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins‘ film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein‘s and Stephen Sondheim‘s groundbreaking Broadway musical, West Side Story, which had been played by Chita Rivera on Broadway. Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for that role.
DERRICK ADAMS is a multidisciplinary New York-based artist working in performance, video, sound and 2D and 3D realms. His practice focuses on the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, exploring self image and forward projection. A recipient of a 2009 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and 2014 S.J. Weiler Award, Adams received his MFA from Columbia University, BFA from Pratt Institute, and is a Skowhegan and Marie Walsh Sharpe alum. His exhibition and performance highlights include: Greater New York ’05, MoMA PS1; Open House: Working In Brooklyn ’04, Brooklyn Museum of Art; PERFORMA ‘05, ‘13, ‘15; Radical Presence & The Shadows Took Shape, Studio Museum in Harlem; The Channel, Brooklyn Academy of Music; and is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. His work can be seen in New York at Tilton Gallery; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Gallerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris.