In 2012, South African artist William Kentridge delivered the Norton Lectures, joining a list of great artists, writers, and musicians. Each of these presentations, together called Six Drawing Lessons (Harvard, $24.95), begins with a work—whether Kentridge’s animated film (made up of hundreds of charcoal drawings on a single sheet of paper) charged with images of mining or a set design of The Magic Flute—which Kentridge brilliantly connects to topics such as shadows and silhouettes—think Plato’s cave—the depiction of animals, colonial revolts in Africa, translations of Rilke, and the creative possibilities of the studio (“Making a Safe Space for Stupidity”). The book is beautifully designed, with type set in black and burnt umber on ivory paper, and featuring many color photos of Kentridge’s work. It is worth tracking down videos of the actual lectures; Kentridge’s performance is a treat, as is the chance to see the many short films he incorporated in his talks.
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