In this lecture event in the Center for Visual Cultures series on “Labor & Resistance,” New York-based artist Leah Durner addresses radical generosity by pursuing extravagance. Extravagance is a term artist Leah Durner uses for a constellation of concerns—including radical generosity, largesse, superfluity, flesh, materiality, painting, abundance, richness, wandering, and wild being—that are of central theoretical interest to her practice. These concerns continue to grow and expand fed by many sources, among the most fundamental: phenomenology, with which Durner has been engaged alongside her interest in painterly painters since the mid-1990s. Durner’s engagement with largesse was sparked by Jean Starobinski’s essay for Largesse, the small exhibition he curated for the Department of Graphic Arts at the Louvre in 1994 in which he demonstrated the gift as the most fundamental of gestures. Durner is also influenced by George Bataille’s The Accursed Share—with his discussion of the restricted economy based on scarcity and the general economy based on superabundance. These ideas are important to Durner because poverty and austerity are matters of life and death—not simply for the basic survival of human beings but for our thriving. Extravagance, as Durner develops it, is both a way to lave the wounds caused by a solely or primarily utilitarian approach to life and an entirely other realm of being.
CVC Lecture | Extravagant Painting and Radical Generosity
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L150
@ 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm