University of Rochester

Renowned Artist William Kentridge to Visit Rochester as 2013 Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities

September 13, 2013

One of South Africa's most celebrated contemporary artists, William Kentridge, will visit the University of Rochester Sept.18 and 19 to lecture and participate in group discussions both on campus and in the Rochester community.

"William Kentridge is an international art star in his own right. His work is socially engaging and speaks to a hidden or damaged side of South African and world history," said Thomas DiPiero, dean for humanities and interdisciplinary studies. "Our hope is that his work as a graphic artist, filmmaker, and theater and opera director will inspire new ideas for collaborations across the Rochester campus."

Kentridge's visit is part of a program established by University President Joel Seligman to bring distinguished visiting scholars and creative artists in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to the University each year.

"There's tremendous energy and inventiveness in everything he does," said Kenneth Gross, professor of English and one of the event's organizers. "Everything in his work is continually changing into something else; a coffee pot can become a rocket ship, a dancing nude, a monument."

In addition to his lectures on campus, Kentridge's video installations, "7 Fragments for Georges Méliès,""Day for Night," and "Journey to the Moon" will be on display in the Hartnett Gallery Sept. 12-29, and a selection of his art books and flip books, with accompanying video, will be on display in the front gallery of the Art & Music Library in Rush Rhees Library. A screening of Kentridge's work will also take place on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

His diverse body of work, which includes animated films of charcoal drawings, etching, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts, has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s. He also directed the Metropolitan Opera's acclaimed production of Shostakovich's The Nose in 2010, to coincide with a major exhibition at Museum of Modern Art. The Nose returns to the Met this fall.

In 2010, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the field of arts and philosophy. In 2011, he was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received the degree of doctor of literature honoris causa from the University of London, and was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Upcoming events open to the public include:

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 8 p.m. at the Dryden Theatre
A screening of the entire series of Kentridge's works of experimental animation, "Drawings for Projection," followed by a talk with the artist. Free to University of Rochester faculty, students, staff, and members of the George Eastman House. For more information, visit the Dryden Theater website.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 9:30 a.m., Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester
A conversation with William Kentridge about his decades-long career as a director of theater and opera.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 1:30 p.m., Gowen Room, Wilson Commons, University of Rochester
A panel discussion with Kentridge about his work in the visual arts and film, with a special emphasis on its South African context and the installation in the Hartnett Gallery.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 4 p.m., Interfaith Chapel, River Campus, University of Rochester
A public lecture, "Everyone Their Own Projector."

For additional information, contact professors Joel Burges ( or Kenneth Gross ( from the Department of English.