Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting
Lynne Farrington, Senior Curator, Special Collection
Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Libraries and Judith Tannenbaum, Independent Contemporary Art Curator
Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy and Nature
May 31, 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman, who spent the last decades of his life in Camden, NJ, a short ferry ride from Philadelphia. Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy is being planned as an exploration of the relevance of the poet’s life and words for a contemporary audience through a region-wide program of cultural events. One vital component of Whitman’s writings, his poetics of nature, views man on a continuum with the natural world: both of it and able to appreciate it for itself and for its spiritual dimension. For Whitman, the “Nature-element” is essential to our Democracy and “really underlie[s] the whole politics, sanity, religion and art of the New World.”
Since 1995, Lynne Farrington has been a curator in Penn's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, now part of the Kislak Center, where she works closely with faculty, students, and other researchers, makes acquisitions, stewards donors, curates exhibitions, organizes symposia and conferences, develops projects, fields reference queries, and gives presentations on the collections to classes and other interested groups.
From 1986 to 2000, Judith Tannenbaum served as Curator, Associate Director, and Interim Director at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2000, she became the first Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum, Providence. Since returning to Philadelphia in 2013, she has used her broad knowledge of the visual arts, the performing arts, and interdisciplinary art forms to curate exhibitions and events at area institutions.