David Foster Wallace, page from the Pale King materials, “Midwesternism” notebook, undated. Manuscript notebook, 10 1/2 × 8 1/4 in. (26.7 × 21.0 cm). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Image used with permission from the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust.
MICHELLEGRABNER: I think the Biennial itself—the Whitney Biennial anyways―has opened itself up to expanding on what we consider visual art.
NARRATOR: Curator Michelle Grabner.
MICHELLEGRABNER: I think we’re looking at―in my case anyways with David Foster Wallace―I think a lot of curators are looking at building context for contemporary art, and I think David Foster Wallace does that.
First of all, just thinking about an artist and how they draw from different bodies of knowledge. And I think Foster Wallace is an extraordinary example of that, where he uses mathematics, philosophy, not only the English language but also ideas of entertainment, whether that’s professional sports or media such as television. So this is the man who pulls in so much, just volumes and volumes of knowledge into his form.
NARRATOR: David Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008.