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March 25, 2011

Swann Foundation Fellow Leora Maltz-Leca To Discuss the Work of South African Artist William Kentridge, April 21

South African artist William Kentridge is considered one of the most significant artists working today. He is largely responsible for bringing drawing in general—and animated drawing in particular—to the forefront of contemporary international art.

Swann Foundation fellow Leora Maltz-Leca will discuss the artist’s work in her lecture "William Kentridge: ‘Stone Age Drawing,’ Cartoon Logic and South Africa’s Process of Change" at noon on Thursday, April 21, in the Whittall Pavilion on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street. S.E., Washington, D.C.

In her illustrated talk, Maltz-Leca will relate Kentridge’s studio processes of drawing and animation to South Africa’s transformative political change, and address the peculiar timeliness of Kentridge’s method. He developed his distinctive process of animation in 1989, the same year that ushered in the seismic changes that finally ended apartheid in South Africa.

Kentridge, born in 1955, is well-known for a signature animation process that he describes as "stone age." In this process, Kentridge continuously draws and erases on a single charcoal drawing, all the time taking photographs of his changing drawing. He then films his photographic record and, thereby, produces film narratives that often feature his stock characters Soho Teitelbaum and Felix Eckstein.

In her lecture, Maltz-Leca will trace the genesis of Kentridge’s animation method to early cartoon strips and flip-books. She will ultimately argue that Kentridge’s timely embrace of the dynamism of animation—a medium that speaks of material change—suggests how his unorthodox animation process is embedded in political processes of revolutionary change.

Maltz-Leca is an assistant professor in the History of Art Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is the recipient of the 2011 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writer’s Grant, and she is completing a book on Kentridge titled "Process as Metaphor and Other Doubtful Enterprises." Maltz-Leca holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yale, a master’s from Brown University and a master’s and doctorate in art history from Harvard.

This presentation, sponsored by the Swann Foundation and Prints & Photographs Division, is part of the foundation’s continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. The Swann Foundation’s advisory board is comprised of scholars, collectors, cartoonists and Library of Congress staff members. The foundation strives to award one fellowship annually to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. Applications for the 2012-2013 academic year are due Feb. 15, 2012. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/swannhome or by e-mail swann@loc.gov.

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PR 11-070
03/25/11
ISSN 0731-3527

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