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The Poetics of Caption: Wayne Koestenbaum’s Notes on Glaze

SAT, May 21, 2016
1:30–3 pm

Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

In the spring of 2010, the Brooklyn-based quarterly magazine Cabinet invited poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum to write a column. As the premise for this unusual column, entitled "Legend," the editors of the magazine would provide Koestenbaum with a photograph, and ask him to write one or more extended captions every three months. Drawn from obscure vernacular, commercial, and scientific sources, all of the images were unfamiliar to the author. The just-published volume Notes on Glaze (Cabinet Books, 2016) is a collection of the "Legend" columns, as well as their accompanying photographs.

The Poetics of Caption provides a taste of the book itself in the form of a reading by Koestenbaum and offers responses by three scholars: Jeff Dolven, Robert Slifkin and Catherine Taylor. The aim is to provide some history and context for modern practices of the labeling and glossing of life, and to scrutinize the caption as form: a micro-genre that arbitrates unremarked among title, picture, story, and moral. The afternoon features guest appearances by the book’s variegated cast of characters, ranging from Debbie Reynolds, Duccio, and Barbra Streisand, to Hegel, Pee-wee Herman, and Emily Dickinson, along with a great feast of captions, many baked fresh for the occasion.

This event is free with advance registration. Please note: this program does not include general Museum admission.

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

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A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

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