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Chatting Up A Storm - Claudia Cragg


Apr 2, 2015

KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with Wayne Koestenbaum to celebrate the new edition of his work on Andy Warhol. Unique, bizarre, and often controversial, Warhol in life and in death bridged the gap between high art and the ordinary, creating works that explored almost every artistic genre. From screenprinting and 'supermarket' art to oil paintings and photography, Warhol rocked the established art world, perhaps more so than any of his contemporaries. During the 1960s inside a studio in New York known as The Factory the birth of Pop Art took place at the hands of Andy Warhol, 'the Pied Piper' of New York's underground. His representations of Campbell's Soup cans, dollar bills, Brillo boxes, Marilyn Monroe and car crashes, epitomized the American popular culture of his age and constituted one of the most significant revolutions in the art world.

Koestenbaum is also widely known as a cultural critic for his books on Jackie Kennedy and opera: Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon (FSG, 1995) and The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire (Poseidon Books, 1993), which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books of criticism include My 1980s and Other Essays (FSG, 2013); The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (University of California Press, 2012); Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (Ballantine Books, 2000); and Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration (Routledge, 1989). He has also published several novels, including Humiliation(Picador, 2011) and Hotel Theory (Soft Skull Press, 2007).

Born in 1958, Wayne Koestenbaum attended Harvard University and received an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from Princeton University. After being named co-winner of the 1989 Discovery/The Nation poetry contest, he published his first collection of poetry, Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems (Persea, 1990), which was chosen as one of The Village Voice Literary Supplement’s “Favorite Books of 1990.”

His other books of poetry include Blue Stranger With Mosaic Background (Turtle Point Press, 2012); Best Selling Jewish Porn Films (Turtle Point Press, 2006); Model Homes (BOA Editions, 2004); The Milk of Inquiry (Persea, 1999); and Rhapsodies of A Repeat Offender (Persea, 1994).

Koestenbaum received a Whiting Writer’s Award in 1994 and taught in Yale’s English department from 1988 to 1996. He has taught painting at the Yale School of Art since 2003 and lives in New York City where he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center