The Case for Artistic Genius
Author Andrew Solomon explores the psychology of the creative mind.
Jul 8, 2020
The notion of artistic genius still informs a surprising amount of our conversations about art. In recent times, it has attracted its share of detractors, among them critics who claim that radical ideas rarely tend to be the product of a single person, and those who insist that the idea of genius is simply a way to enshrine the privilege of white men. But can the idea still help us understand art and artists in new ways? Author Andrew Solomon believes that it can. He has covered visual artists, writers, and musicians as a journalist and critic, but has also explored the psychology of creativity in books like Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, which won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. I spoke with Solomon—now a professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center—about whether genius is partly a function of timing, its uneasy relationship to race and gender, and his contention that “genius reflects the ability to add something of value to human consciousness.”
Art Making in the Age of Putin
Author and journalist Masha Gessen speaks about the challenges faced by Russia’s artists and writers
Mar 31, 2020
Books that Matter: Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments
On our inaugural books podcast, an author talks about breaking open the archive to rebellion, love, and the daily struggle to live free.
Prudence Peiffer, Thomas Jean Lax
Jan 15, 2020