Speakers Discuss Art, Writing of Dorothea Tanning

May 02, 2011

The art and writing of famed Surrealist Dorothea Tanning are discussed by distinguished scholars and members of Tanning's family during "Dorothea Tanning: From Galesburg Roots to Worldwide Fame," a series of events in May 2011 at Knox College.

Mary Jo Bang
|Mary Jo Bang received a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University, a B.A. in photography from the Polytechnic of Central London, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University. She has published six books of poems, among them The Eye Like a Strange Balloon, which focuses on modern art including works by Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst. Her other books of poetry are The Bride of E, Elegy, The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of the Swans, Louise In Love, and Apology for Want, Bang received the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award, a "Discovery"/The Nation award, Pushcart Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bellagio Foundation, and a Hodder Award from Princeton University. Bang's work has been chosen three times for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series. She was the poetry co-editor of the Boston Review from 1995 to 2005. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Washington University. Bang has frequently acclaimed the poetry of Dorothea Tanning.

Michael Taylor is the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. An eminent scholar of Dada and Surrealism with a particular focus on the art of Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning, Taylor has served as Acting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art since November 2003, and previously held positions as associate and assistant curator in the Museum's Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. With Ann Temkin, he was co-curator of the 2001 exhibit: Dorothea Tanning: Birthday and Beyond. Taylor has been instrumental in enabling the Museum to make major acquisitions, among them recent gifts of works by Gino Severini, Isamu Noguchi, Roberto Echaurren Matta, Max Ernst, and Sol LeWitt. He has published widely on artists as diverse as Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Marsden Hartley, John Covert, and Henry Moore. In addition to his duties at the Museum, Taylor also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania.

After receiving her BA in English Literature from The Colorado College in 1968 Mimi Johnson spent three, formative years in Paris working as an intern/apprentice at the Alexandre Iolas Gallery, as tour assistant/interpreter for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and co-founding Artservice International, the international management and administration organization which was the model upon which Performing Artservices, Inc. is based. In 1972, back in New York, Johnson founded, and still directs, Performing Artservices, Inc., a not-for-profit "cluster" management, administration and production organization dedicated to assisting American avant-garde artists working in the fields of music, dance and theater. Artservices has assisted many of the leading figures of the era-among them Richard Foreman, Grand Union, Philip Glass, Sonic Arts Union, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Mabou Mines, and Joseph Chaiken. She was John Cage's manager from 1971 to his death in 1992. Johnson has produced and toured all of her husband, Robert Ashley's operas, from Perfect Lives (1978-81) through Made Out of Concrete (2009).

John Nyman is a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management. His Ph.D. in economics is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he holds additional degrees in history from Lawrence University and the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. His research interests include: nursing home behavior and long-term care policy, the theory of insurance and health insurance, cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis (especially of new health care technologies and drugs), the behavior of physicians, and gambling as a public health issue-with scores of publications addressing these and related topics. He has also taught at Illinois State University and the University of Iowa, and has received prestigious "excellence in teaching awards" from both the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa. Nyman is the nephew of Dorothea Tanning and a private collector of American and European art from the modern and surrealist period.

Alice Quinn is Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's graduate School of the Arts. She was poetry editor at The New Yorker from 1987-2007. In her tenure at the magazine, Quinn, who was also a fiction editor for 14 years, worked with a range of poets that included Joseph Brodsky, Jane Kenyon, Louise Gluck, Yusef Komunyakaa, John Ashbery, Charles Simic, Eavan Boland and Mark Strand. From 1976-1986, she was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Publishers. She is the editor of Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop. Her articles on and interviews with writers, poets, and artists have appeared in Artforum, the Canadian National Post, The Forward, Poetry Ireland, The New Yorker, and The New Yorker Online. She is currently at work editing the journals and notebooks of Elizabeth Bishop. She has a long acquaintance with Dorothea Tanning and served as editor for the numerous Tanning poems that appeared in The New Yorker magazine.

Jeffrey Shotts is Senior Editor at Graywolf Press, an independent, nonprofit, literary publisher in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He edits poetry, creative nonfiction, lyric essays, critical essays on literature, and translations. Over the last eleven years, he has worked with many authors, including American writers Dorothea Tanning, Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Baxter, Sven Birkerts, Tess Gallagher, Dana Gioia, Albert Goldbarth, Linda Gregg, Marilyn Hacker, Donald Hall, Tony Hoagland, and international writers Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Tomas Transtromer, and Saadi Youssef, among others. Shotts graduated from Macalester College and earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Washington University in Saint Louis, where he studied with poets Mary Jo Bang and Carl Phillips. His essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in Agni, The Georgia Review, The Writer's Chronicle, and elsewhere. He is editor of Dorothea Tanning's volume of poetry, Coming To That, to be published this year.