Artist, musician, and poet, Devendra Banhart will discuss his body of work with Rail Editor-at-Large, Constance Lewallen. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Murat Nemet-Nejat.
Born in Texas, and raised by his mother in Venezuela until returning to California as a teenager, Devendra Banhart is admired for his shimmering, folk-inflected psychedelia. In a near two-decade career, Banhart has worked with Yoko Ono, Beck, and Caetano Veloso. The self-described “very bad Buddhist,” and keen skateboarder, is also a visual artist and poet. His debut poetry collection, Weeping Gang Bliss Void Yab-Yum, was published in April 2019, and, like his songs, reflects a quirky, whimsical, at times melancholic sensibility. His most recent album is Ma, a collection of tender and elegant songs that speak to the Buddhist belief that everyone has been a mother at some point.
Constance Lewallen is an emeritus curator at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. As Matrix curator there from 1980-88 she organized over 75 small contemporary art exhibitions. As Senior Curator from 1998 to 2007, she curated many major exhibitions, including Joe Brainard, A Retrospective, 2001; Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), 2001; Everything Matters: Paul Kos, a Retrospective, 2003; Ant Farm (1968-1978), 2004 (co-curated with Steve Seid); A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, 2007. And, in 2011 State of Mind: New California Art ca. 1970, co-curated with Karen Moss, was part of Pacific Standard Time. All toured nationally and internationally and were accompanied by catalogs. Her recent books published by UC Press include 500 Capp Street: David Ireland’s house and Bruce Nauman; Spatial Encounters (co-author Dore Bowen)Currently, she co-curated with Ted Mann Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and The End, on view Dec. 13 at the Manetti Shrem Museum, UC Davis, and Reese Palley Gallery (with Jordan Stein), at Cushion Works, San Francisco. Lewallen is currently an editor at large for the Brooklyn Rail
The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and
we’re fortunate to have
Murat Nemet-Nejat’s work includes the poems The Spiritual Life of Replicants, Animals of Dawn, and the essays “Questions of Accent” among others. He is presently writing the poem Camels and Weasels and preparing a book of English translations of the Turkish poet Sami Baydar.”