November 7, 2022

The Atelier@Large: A Conversation on Art-making in a Vexed Era with Jennifer Homans, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Iarla Ó Lionáird

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts continues The Atelier@Large conversation series that brings guest artists to campus to discuss the challenges they face in making art in the modern world. For the next event in the 2022-23 series, former ballet dancer, historian and author Jennifer Homans, pioneering rap superstar and Run-D.M.C. co-founder Darryl McDaniels, and internationally acclaimed traditional Irish Sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird join in discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Princeton’s Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Princeton Atelier. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, in Richardson Auditorium on Princeton’s campus. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing. Richardson Auditorium is an accessible venue, and guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

The Princeton Atelier, directed by Muldoon, was founded in 1994 by Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Princeton University. The Atelier brings professional artists from different disciplines together with Princeton faculty and students to create new work in the context of a semester-long course that culminates in the public presentation of the new work. Recent artists have included Stew, Laurie Anderson, the improv group Baby Wants Candy, and the Wakka Wakka Puppet Theatre. The Atelier@Large series, established in 2021, is an extension of the Princeton Atelier that brings guest artists to campus to speak on art’s role in the modern world.

jennifer homans sits in a chair and leans forward, resting her chin in left hand.

Jennifer Homans. Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe

“There’s a notion still doing the rounds,” says Muldoon, “that art is primarily a source of comfort and joy. That it’s all about salve, maybe even salvation. For many artists the true solace comes through their acceptance that art is in fact most interesting when it is most disruptive. The change a work of art represents often seems minor, but it may have major repercussions.”

Jennifer Homans is the dance critic for The New Yorker and the author of Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century (2022) and Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (2010). She was a professional dancer, trained at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet. She earned her B.A. at Columbia University and her Ph.D. in modern European history at New York University, where she is a scholar in residence and the founding director of the Center for Ballet and the Arts.

Darryl McDaniels wears black thick glasses, black fedora, black hoodie and jeans and white sneakers. He holds a mic and raps into it while gesturing with his hands.

Darryl McDaniels. Photo courtesy Darryl McDaniels

Darryl McDaniels, well known as “DMC,” first made his start in the music business in 1981 as one-third of the groundbreaking rap group Run-D.M.C., which he co-founded with Joseph (Rev. Run) Simmons and the late Jason (Jam Master Jay) Mizell. The multi-platinum music group sold over 30 million singles and albums worldwide, helping to transform rap and hip-hop into the most popular music in the world while building a fan base to rival the biggest acts in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Run-D.M.C. were the first rappers to earn a gold album, the first to earn a platinum album, the first to go multi-platinum, the first to have their videos played on MTV, the first to appear on American Bandstand and Saturday Night Live, and the first rap band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone and Spin. The group has been lauded “Greatest Hip Hop Artist of All Time” by VH1 and named among “100 Greatest Artists” by Rolling Stone. DMC is the author of King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC. In 2006, he released a debut solo studio album entitled Checks, Thugs, Rock-N-Roll.

Iarla Ó Lionáird looks off in distance in front of him as he stands in a sunny outdoor spot framed by green branches overhead

Iarla Ó Lionáird. Photo courtesy Iarla Ó Lionáird

Iarla Ó Lionáird is a leading figure in Irish music. He has achieved international success with a number of groups including The Crash Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, The Afro Celt Sound System, and The Gloaming. Ó Lionáird has lent his voice to movie soundtracks such as Gangs of New York, Calvary, Hotel Rwanda and Brooklyn. His performances and recorded output follows an ambitious arc that challenges musical identity, from traditional Sean Nós song to worldbeat, from alt folk to opera. A twice Grammy-nominated artist, Ó Lionáird has worked internationally with a stellar cast of composers including Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Nico Muhly, Kate Moore, Linda Buckley, Gavin Bryars, Annika Socolofsky and David Lang, and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave, Robert Plant and Sinead O’Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, London’s Royal Albert Hall and beyond. Vocal Chords, Ó Lionáird’s radio series for Ireland’s National Classical Music Broadcaster RTE Lyric FM, explores the mysteries of the human voice and won both Gold and Silver Awards at the New York Radio Festival in 2017 and 2019. Ó Lionáird has lectured on music at various academic institutions including University College Cork, Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, and Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. In 2017 he was awarded a Belknap Fellowship by the Humanities Council at Princeton University, where he taught courses in songwriting and orality. Subsequently he was appointed a global scholar at Princeton and as visiting lecturer in music, teaching courses at the postgraduate level for both the Music and English Departments.

Paul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, as well as the founding chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. As an internationally renowned Irish poet, Muldoon has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.” Muldoon won the Pulitzer Prize for his ninth collection of poems, Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). His 14th volume of poems, Howdie-Skelp, was released in November 2021 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Muldoon is the editor of the recently released Paul McCartney boxed, two-volume set, The Lyrics:1956 to the Present, illuminating the stories behind 154 of McCartney’s song lyrics. Muldoon’s latest book, The Castle of Perseverance with watercolors by Philip Pearlstein, will be published this month.

All guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.

The Atelier@Large conversation series will conclude for the fall on November 29 with Emmy-nominated actor Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, HBO series Lovecraft Country, ABC miniseries When We Rise, and soon-to-be-released Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), including clips from some of Majors’ work.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about the Princeton Atelier, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the more than 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, lectures, and special events presented by the Lewis Center each year, most of them free.

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