Author, critic and scholar Luc Sante will present a lecture on photography, “The Genius of the System,” on March 21 at the University of Virginia. Sante is currently a visiting professor of writing and art history at Bard College in New York.
Sante’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153. A reception and book signing will be held after the lecture at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.
A headline program for the Virginia Festival of the Book, the event is co-sponsored by the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, The Fralin Museum of Art and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
The museum’s annual Gladys S. Blizzard Lecture is presenting Sante’s talk. Named in honor of a museum educator and author of the “Come Look with Me” series of children’s books about art, the Blizzard Lecture brings a prominent member of the art world to speak at the University each year.
Previous Blizzard Lecturers have included renowned scholars and writers such as Pulitzer-Prize winning author Louis Menand, Artforum editor Tim Griffin and New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl.
Sante will examine the role of chance in the creation of photographic meaning. He will discuss how photography is unlike other arts, in that it is seldom entirely within the control of the artist and almost always represents collaboration with chance. This keeps the meaning of the photograph in flux – its meaning changed by successive generations of viewers.
Sante sees photography as a broad continuum of which self-consciously artistic expression occupies only a small portion and where artistic realization can potentially be found at any point at any time.
He has written extensively on the subjects of film, photography, art and cultural phenomena. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. His books include “Low Life” (1991), “Evidence” (1992), “The Factory of Facts” (1998), “Walker Evans” (1999), “Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005” (2007), and “Folk Photography” (2009).
Sante has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy Award for album notes and an Infinity Award for writing from the International Center of Photography.
He previously taught in Columbia University’s MFA writing program, and since 1999, has taught writing and the history of photography at Bard College.