Academic journal article Leviathan

Moby-Dick 2001: An Artists' Forum: Introduction

Academic journal article Leviathan

Moby-Dick 2001: An Artists' Forum: Introduction

Article excerpt

Any sub-sub-librarian paging through the official program of the Moby-Dick 2001 Conference a decade or century from now would think there had been seven visual artists present at the Artists Forum in the early afternoon on October 18, 2001, the first day of the Conference. Unfortunately, the day and event now known as 9/11 intervened between the printing of the program and the opening of the Conference, causing Thanasis Christodoulou and Vali Myers to cancel their flight plans to New York from Athens, Greece, and Melbourne, Australia, respectively. Last-minute family vicissitudes prevented American artists Mark Milloff and Jody Foster from traveling to New York for the event. So rather than seven artists speaking at the afternoon Forum, we had only three. The three who did speak, Aileen Callahan, Robert Del Tredici, and Abby Schlachter, fully engaged the audience with their opening statements--as well as in the lively question-and-answer session that followed.

The Artists' Forum was a plenary session held in the Lowenfeld Exhibition Hall on the tenth floor of the Axinn Library at Hofstra University. (Miles away but visible from the hall's western windows was the injured skyline of Manhattan.) As Callahan, Del Tredici, and Schlachter rose to speak in succession about how their own works had been inspired by the art of Moby-Dick, they were surrounded by the Moby-Dick art of Milloff, Callahan, Myers, Del Tredici, Paul Jenkins, William Kienbusch, and Frank Stella. The podium for this session was immediately in front of Milloff's seven-foot-wide pastel entitled The Chase--Third Day. Throughout the remainder of the conference, as successive panels convened in this same high-perched, art-filled room, the faces of this painting's doomed crew held grimly to their space greeting each new set of speakers who led one session after another until the Closing Reception on the Third Day with Walter Bezanson as our featured speaker. …

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