Exhibition of Cooper’s Papers On Display at NYU, Mar. 3-Apr. 28 Free and open to the public.
A two-day celebration of the work of poet, novelist, and cultural critic Dennis Cooper will be hosted by New York University’s Fales Library on Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 3. The event marks the publication of Period (Grove Press), the final novel in a five-novel series Cooper has been working on since 1989.
Also marking the occasion will be a major exhibition of Cooper’s manuscripts, correspondence, printed books and other works entitled “Beautiful: The Writing of Dennis Cooper,” which will be on display at the NYU Fales Library (located on the 3rd floor of the NYU Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South) from March 3 through April 28.
The celebration will open on Thursday, March 2, 6:30 p.m. at the NYU Fales Library with a panel of noted critics of contemporary culture including NYU Professor Avital Ronell; Michael Warner from Rutgers University, author of Fear of a Queer Planet; Leora Lev from Bridgewater State College; and Bruce Hainley, the noted critic and contributing editor for Artforum, among others. They will turn their critical gaze on the serious achievements Cooper has made with his quintology and with his work as a poet, editor and cultural critic.
On Friday, March 3, 6:30 p.m., a group of Cooper’s friends and fellow writers will read from his work. Participating in this event will be Stephen Malkmus from the band “Pavement;” Thurston Moore, guitarist with “Sonic Youth;” and authors Brett Easton Ellis and Lynne Tillman, among others.
“Beautiful: The Writing of Dennis Cooper” is an exhibition of over 80 items from the Dennis Cooper Papers, part of the Downtown Collection at the NYU Fales Library. The exhibition will display the books, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and other materials that document Cooper’s creative process. It focuses on the central problems Cooper’s work poses: namely, how do we write anything in a postmodern world where language is a compromised system of representation? How do we understand the enigma of beauty? How do we find love? How do we comprehend the finality of death? Finally, how do we write ourselves into being?
Gallery hours for the exhibition are: March 3 through April 28; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday; Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. These events are co-sponsored by Artforum, Grove Press, the Fales Library and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU.
For further information on the Cooper celebration or on the exhibition, the public may call (212) 998-2596. All events are free and open to the public. The Dennis Cooper Papers were acquired by the Fales Library at NYU in 1997 as a part of the Downtown Collection, a collection that documents the New York City Downtown scene from 1975 to the present. The Collection, currently holding more than 7000 printed volumes and over 1200 linear feet of archival material, is the only one of its kind at a major research university.
According to Marvin Taylor, the Cooper Papers are one of the most important collections in the Fales Library. “Dennis Cooper, like Baudelaire, Wilde, Genet and Barthes, delves into the murky region where language fails as a system that represents reality,” Taylor said. “The five-novel series, Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and, now, Period presents in stunningly beautiful language a serious conundrum: we know things for which there are no words.”
The Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU’s Bobst Library holds nearly 200,000 volumes of English and American fiction, documenting the history of the novel from 1700 to the present.