Lawrence Weschler, director of the Institute since 2001, is a graduate of Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz (1974), and was for over twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies.
His books of political reportage include The Passion of Poland (1984); A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers (1990); and Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas (1998). His “Passions and Wonders” series currently comprises Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin (1982); David Hockney’s Cameraworks (1984); Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (1995); A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces (1998) Boggs: A Comedy of Values (1999); Robert Irwin: Getty Garden (2002); Vermeer in Bosnia (2004); and now Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (February 2006). Mr. Wilson was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He has taught, variously, at Princeton, Columbia, UCSC, Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, and NYU (where he is currently Distinguished Writer in Residence with the graduate journalism program).
Alongside his role as director of the Institute (from which base he has been trying to start a semiannual journal of writing and visual culture, Omnivore), he concurrently holds the position of artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He is also a contributing editor to McSweeney’s and the Threepeeny Review, curator at large of the DVD quarterly Wholphin, and art wrangler for the Virginia Quarterly Review; (recently retired) chair of the Sundance (formerly Soros) Documentary Film Fund; and director of the Ernst Toch Society, dedicated to the promulgation of the music of his grandfather, the noted Weimar emigre composer.