Author Nathan Kernan Speaks about Poet James Schuyler

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Fairfield Porter "Sketch for a Portrait of Jimmy Schuyler," ca. 1962, Oil on canvas. Gift to the Parrish of the Estate of Fairfield Porter.

The Parrish Art Museum presents a livestream talk with chief curator Alicia G. Longwell, Ph.D., and Nathan Kernan, who is currently writing a biography of poet James Schuyler to be published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. During the program on Friday, January 29, at 5 p.m., planned in conjunction with the current exhibition “Housebound: Fairfield Porter and His Circle of Poets and Painters,” Kernan and Longwell will discuss the long-term friendship between Schuyler and Porter. The talk is part of the museum’s Friday Nights Live! series and login information is at parrishart.org.

“I’m delighted that Nathan Kernan will join me for this conversation about painters and poets and the ways in which their domestic surroundings can both nurture and reflect their artistic choices,” Longwell said. “His deep knowledge of James Schuyler’s life and work, including his enduring friendship with Porter, will be the focus of this illuminating talk.”

As the editor of “The Diary of James Schuyler” (Black Sparrow Press, 1997) and through his in-depth knowledge of the poet’s letters and writings, Kernan brings a unique understanding of Schuyler’s life and work. In his talk with Longwell, he will share fresh insights into the friendship between Schuyler and Porter that lasted throughout the poet’s career. “Jimmy,” as Schuyler was universally known, was the youngest and last to join the group known as the New York School of Poets that included John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and Frank O’Hara — all of whom were in Porter’s inner circle and frequented his home in Southampton. Paintings by Porter illustrate the synergy among the artists and writers through intimate scenes in the Porter household and portraits inspired by his guests, such as “Sketch for a Portrait of Jimmy Schuyler,” 1962.

The Parrish exhibition “Housebound” presents paintings and poems that bring in sharp focus the many connections between the works and the artists who created them. Nearly 40 paintings by Porter, Robert Dash, Jane Freilicher, Alex Katz, and Larry Rivers are on view. Poems by Anne Porter and New York School poets John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler are accessible from QR codes on the labels of specific works.

In 1979, the estate of Fairfield Porter donated some 250 works to the Parrish collection. Porter painted what was familiar to him: his family and friends and the places he lived and visited, including Southampton and a family-owned island off the coast of Maine where he summered since childhood.

Out of an abundance of caution and in support of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Parrish has temporarily closed its galleries, with plans to reopen in early spring based on guidance at that time. The outdoor “Field of Dreams” sculpture exhibition remains open and free to all visitors, and the museum continues to offer a robust schedule of online experiences.

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