Thank you so much for your financial hep with my solo exhibition PRESENCE at Elmhurst Art Museum. With your help we were able to create an experience that EAM’s director called "our blockbuster show" because it broke their attendance records.
It was such a hit that the museum has asked me to come back next year and do a completely new solo exhibition with works filling their galleries again together with work at the Morton Arboretum. More on that later.
As a thank you for your contribution to helping make my debut solo exhibition possible here is a curated media list that includes Interviews, lectures, podcasts, cinema, music, and art that has inspired and informed my life and development as an artist over the last 20 years. Enjoy! Please click on the arrow to the right to begin! >>>
Interviews and Lectures Part I
Let's start with Interviews and lectures!
Have you ever heard of On Being? It's an NPR show that has been one of the most influential sources of inspiration in my life. I can't recommend it highly enough. Click on the above link and you will find all the episodes as well as the On Being blog. I have gone through every single episode Krista Tippett has ever done and listed my favorites for you below. Enjoy them at your leisure. I include some of my own thoughts and excerpts before a few of the titles.
Scroll down to see them all, and you are done browsing don't forget to click the arrow to the right and continue to the next page for my favorite artists >>>
This first one is Krista Tippett's favorite interview-and I think the last interview John did before he died.
The Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue was beloved for his book Anam Ċara, Gaelic for "soul friend," and for his insistence on beauty as a human calling. In one of his last interviews before his death in 2008, he articulated a Celtic imagination about how the material and the spiritual — the visible and the invisible — intertwine in human experience. His voice and writings continue to bring ancient mystical wisdom to modern confusions and longings.
Here is Krista's interview with John's best friend- another of my all time faves and articulates much of what my work is about-
David Whyte—The Conversational Nature of Reality
“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet / confinement of your aloneness / to learn / anything or anyone / that does not bring you alive / is too small for you.”
David Whyte is a poet and philosopher who believes in the power of a “beautiful question” amidst the drama of work as well as the drama of life — amidst the ways the two overlap, whether we want them to or not. He shared a deep friendship with the late Irish philosopher John O’Donohue. They were, David Whyte says, like “two bookends.” More recently, he’s written about the consolation, nourishment, and underlying meaning of everyday words.
Brené Brown—The Courage to Be Vulnerable
Courage is borne out of vulnerability, not strength. This finding of Brené Brown’s research on shame and "wholeheartedness" shook the perfectionist ground beneath her own feet. And now it’s inspiring millions to reconsider the way they live, parent, and navigate relations with members of the opposite gender.
This Franciscan is maybe the only contemporary "christian" I give two cents about listening to. Below is a quote from the talk...
"To be a contemplative is to learn to trust deep time and to learn how to rest there and not be wrapped up in chronological time. Because what you’ve learned, especially by my age, is that all of it passes away. The things that you’re so impassioned about when you’re 22 or 42 don’t even mean anything anymore, and yet, you got so angry about it or so invested in it. So, this word “contemplation,” it’s a different form of consciousness. It’s a different form of time."
This guy's been all over the world from an early age and has an incredible perspective on life -
Pico Iyer—The Art of Stillness
Pico Iyer is one of our most eloquent explorers of what he calls the "inner world" — in himself and in the 21st century world at large. The journalist and novelist travels the globe from Ethiopia to North Korea and lives in Japan. But he also experiences a remote Benedictine hermitage as his second home, retreating there many times each year. In this intimate conversation, we explore the discoveries he's making and his practice of "the art of stillness.”
Maybe my favorite poet- such a insightful, tender, and beautiful interview with this old soul.
Mary Oliver—Listening to the World
Often quoted, but rarely interviewed, Mary Oliver is one of our greatest and most beloved poets. She’s just released a new volume, Felicity, at the age of 80. And so we’re revisiting the interview she granted us earlier this year on the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing.
This woman is amazing. And doing such meaningful and timely work that beautifully blends art and science. Her vision of reality resonates with me deeply.
A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self. Her Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles reveals evocative, visceral connections between high mathematics, crochet and other folk arts, and our love for the planet.
Speaking of science, this is probably my favorite physicist, who echos David Whyte's ideas about the conversational nature of reality.
Carlo Rovelli offers vast, complex ideas beyond most of our imagining — “quanta,” “grains of space,” “time and the heat of black holes” — and condenses them into spare, beautiful words that render them newly explicable and moving. He is the scientist behind the global bestseller Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, and for him, all of reality is interaction — an everyday truth as scientific as it is philosophical and political. This physicist’s way of seeing the world helps make sense of what he calls “the huge wave of happenings” that is the human self.
Bessel van der Kolk is brilliant man who is articulating and proving scientifically the importance of our body and how connected our interior and exterior worlds are- a central theme in my work.
Bessel van der Kolk— How Trauma Lodges in the Body
Human memory is a sensory experience, says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he’s learning about how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. What he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events — which, after all, make up the drama of culture, of news, and of life.
Brilliant historian and Lutheran who late in life converted to Orthodoxy- really nice interview on pluralisms need for creeds with another old soul.
Jaroslav Pelikan—The Need for Creeds
The idea of reciting an unchanging creed sounds suspicious to modern ears. But the late, great historian Jaroslav Pelikan illuminated ancient tradition in order to enliven faith in the present and the future. He insisted that strong statements of belief will be necessary if pluralism in the 21st century is to thrive. We take in his moving, provocative perspective on our enduring need for creeds.
This Zen master had a huge impact on me in the early 90's. -
Thich Nhat Hanh, Cheri Maples, and Larry Ward—Being Peace in a World of Trauma
The Vietnamese Zen master, whom Martin Luther King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, is a voice of power and wisdom in this time of tumult in the world. We visited Thich Nhat Hanh at a retreat attended by police officers and other members of the criminal justice system; they offer stark gentle wisdom for finding buoyancy and “being peace” in a world of conflict, anger, and violence.
I think you'd like Maria's blog if you don't know about it already-one of the only ones I follow-
Maria Popova—Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age
She has called her blog, Brain Pickings, her invention and labor of love, a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.” What Maria Popova really delivers, to hundreds of thousands of people each day, is wisdom of the old-fashioned sort, presented in new-fashioned digital ways. She cross-pollinates — between philosophy and design, physics and poetry, the intellectual and the experiential. We explore her gleanings on what it means to lead a good life — intellectually, creatively, and spiritually.
You probably know who this Quaker wise man is- he's such a prophetic voice in my opinion.
Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin—The Inner Life of Rebellion
The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin and Quaker wise man Parker Palmer come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.
Langer is the mother of mindfulness and has amazing insights on the life changing power of paying attention.
And here's her On Being episode:
Ellen Langer—Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness
Ellen Langer is a social psychologist who some have dubbed “the mother of mindfulness.” But she defines mindfulness with counterintuitive simplicity: the simple act of actively noticing things — with a result of increased health, competence, and happiness. Her take on mindfulness has never involved contemplation or meditation or yoga. It comes straight out of her provocative, unconventional studies, which have been suggesting for decades what neuroscience is pointing at now: our experience of everything is formed by the words and ideas we attach to them. What makes a vacation a vacation is not only a change of scenery — but the fact that we let go of the mindless everyday illusion that we are in control. Ellen Langer has shown it’s possible to become physiologically younger through a changed frame of mind; to find joy in what was experienced as drudgery by renaming it as play; and to induce weight loss by substituting the label “exercise” for labor.
Another artist whose work is all about embodied knowledge which is the same language I use about my work-
Ann Hamilton—Making, and the Spaces We Share
The philosopher Simone Weil defined prayer as “absolutely unmixed attention.” The artist Ann Hamilton embodies this notion in her sweeping works of art that bring all the senses together. She uses her hands to create installations that are both visually astounding and surprisingly intimate, and meet a longing many of us share, as she puts it, to be alone together.
This is where Henri Nouwen lived and took care men with disabilities in France:
Jean Vanier—The Wisdom of Tenderness
The philosopher and Catholic social innovator Jean Vanier is a teacher of the wisdom of tenderness. The L’Arche movement, which he founded, centers around people with mental disabilities and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We experience how Jean Vanier brings the most paradoxical religious teachings to life: that there’s power in humility, strength in weakness, and light in the darkness of human existence.
Martin Sheen—Spirituality of Imagination
Actor Martin Sheen as you've never heard him before. He has appeared in over 100 films, including Apocalypse Now. He’s best known on television as President Bartlet in seven seasons of The West Wing. But Martin Sheen, born and still legally named Ramón Estévez, has had another lesser-known life as a spiritual seeker and activist. He returned to a deep and joyful Catholic faith after a crisis at the height of his fame in in mid-life. He’s been arrested over 60 times in vigils and protests. "Piety is something you do alone," he says. "True freedom, spirituality, can only be achieved in community."
Brian Greene—Reimagining the Cosmos
A thrilling, mind-bending view of the cosmos and of the human adventure of modern science. In a conversation ranging from free will to the meaning of the Higgs boson particle, physicist Brian Greene suggests the deepest scientific realities are hidden from human senses and often defy our best intuition.
Freeman Dyson and Paul Davies—Einstein's God
Part two of this series delves into Einstein's Jewish identity, his passionate engagement around issues of war and race, and modern extensions of his ethical and scientific perspectives.
Recently been enjoying this book "A Beautiful Question" and then I happily stumbled on his On Being interview -
Nobel physicist Frank Wilczek sees beauty as a compass for truth, discovery, and meaning. His book, A Beautiful Question, is a long meditation on the question: “Does the world embody beautiful ideas?” He’s the unusual scientist willing to analogize his discoveries about the deep structure of reality with deep meaning in the human everyday.
The Private Faith of Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter -- former president and Nobel Laureate, author and global humanitarian -- speaks of his born-again faith with a directness that is striking even in today's political culture. He reflects on being commander in chief while following, as he says, "the Prince of Peace"; on upholding the law while privately opposing abortion; and on his marriage of 60 years as a metaphor for the challenge of human relationship both personal and global.
If you are curious about Krista Tippett herself- she recently wrote a best selling book and was interviewed on her own show here by Pico Iyer.
Krista Tippett–The Mystery and Art of Living
This episode, a “theft of the dial.” Writer and traveler Pico Iyer turns the tables on our host Krista Tippett by asking her the questions. Her latest book, Becoming Wise, chronicles what she’s learned through her conversations with the most extraordinary voices across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations. An illuminating conversation on the mystery and art of living.
Interviews and Lectures Part II
One of my all-time favorite artists is Robert Irwin, one of the fathers of the Light and Space art movement that came out of Southern California in the 1960's.
His biography is fantastic, and is considered perhaps the greatest bio ever written about an artist:
And another great lecture of Irwin I love
Great NY Times Article on Irwin
Other favorite artists of mine are:
Caspar David Friedrich,
Sol le Witt