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Joanna Moorhead in conversation with Wendi Norris

August 28, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

City Lights together with Princeton University Press present

Joanna Moorhead in conversation with Wendi Norris celebrating the newly published book

Surreal Spaces: The Life and Art of Leonora Carrington

By Joanna Moorhead

Published by Princeton University Press

An illustrated biography of the pioneering British artist and writer, tracing her life and work through the many places around the world where she lived.

The British-born artist and writer Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) is one of the vanguards in the history of women artists and the history of Surrealism. The interests of this visionary—feminism, ecology, the arcane and the mystical, the interconnectedness of everything—are now shared by many. Challenging the conventions of her time, Carrington abandoned family, society, and England to embrace new experiences and forge a unique artistic style in Europe and the Americas. In this evocative illustrated biography, writer and journalist Joanna Moorhead traces her cousin’s footsteps, exploring the artist’s life, loves, friendships, and work.

Leading readers on a personal journey across Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United States, and Mexico, Surreal Spaces describes the places and experiences that would become etched in Carrington’s memory and be echoed, sometimes decades later, in her art and writing—whether her grandmother’s kitchen with its giant stove; a remote Cornish hideaway where she holidayed with Max Ernst, Lee Miller, and Man Ray; the Left Bank of Paris; an asylum in Santander, Spain; New York, where she lived among other European exiles; or Mexico City, her final sanctuary. “Houses are really bodies,” Carrington wrote in her novella The Hearing Trumpet. “We connect ourselves with walls, roofs and objects just as we hang on to our livers, skeletons, flesh and blood streams.”

Featuring photographs, drawings, and paintings of the spaces that so richly influenced Carrington’s work, Surreal Spaces is an intimate and vivid portrait of a fascinating artist.

Joanna Moorhead is a British journalist and author whose critically acclaimed memoir, The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington, chronicles her relationship with Carrington, her cousin. Moorhead writes for the Guardian, the Observer, the Times (London), and many other publications.

Wendi Norris is the founder and head of Gallery Wendi Norris, a leading international art gallery based in San Francisco. She champions critically acclaimed modern and contemporary artists and artists’ estates, including several associated with the Surrealist movement.  Gallery Wendi Norris fosters their artists’ legacies by placing their work in museum exhibitions, building dynamic institutional and private collections, participating in top-tier biennials and art fairs, and educating the public. Since establishing the gallery in 2002, Wendi Norris has curated over 150 solo and thematic exhibitions.

Thsi event was made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit: https://citylights.com/foundation/

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