Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences

Overview

Tetris and Gorbachev. Magritte and Einstein. Cuneiform tablets and Chicago prisons, lips over Paris and clouds over LA-everywhere he looks, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lawrence Weschler encounters unlikely alignments and beguiling resonances. Everything that Rise: A Book of Convergences compiles Weschler's joyous investigations into these surprising kinships in one lavishly illustrated phantasmagoria, revealing Pollock in the stars, Rothko on the moon, and the missing links-between neurons and websites, fathers and ...
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Overview

Tetris and Gorbachev. Magritte and Einstein. Cuneiform tablets and Chicago prisons, lips over Paris and clouds over LA-everywhere he looks, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lawrence Weschler encounters unlikely alignments and beguiling resonances. Everything that Rise: A Book of Convergences compiles Weschler's joyous investigations into these surprising kinships in one lavishly illustrated phantasmagoria, revealing Pollock in the stars, Rothko on the moon, and the missing links-between neurons and websites, fathers and daughters, war crimes and windmills-that hide before our eyes.

Winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the general mass of heavy-handed, pompous writing about art, Weschler's graceful collection of essays and interviews stands out like a rare bloom. Charming, idiosyncratic and deeply intelligent, the book will likely captivate even readers who usually bypass the art history section of bookstores. The topic at hand is convergence: the visual rhyme between seemingly disparate images, and the way those rhymes stimulate new understanding of the scenes depicted. Take for example, Weschler's talk with photographer Joel Meyerowitz, in which they discuss the similarity between the latter's photo of firemen on a break at ground zero and an anonymous shot of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Looking at the two images, Meyerowitz recalls, "I had the same sense of history repeating itself, people assembled after carnage or destruction or before battle, and they're dispersed in a way that is casual, from fatigue or just..." Elsewhere, Weschler (Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder) examines Polish history through the posters of its Solidarity Movement and compares the doughy physiognomies and political careers of two conservative leaders: Newt Gingrich and Slobodan Milosevic. It's his light touch that allows Weschler to get away with such parallels; he never pushes a point too far. All he does is articulate his own evocative visual and philosophical connections; we can make of them what we will. Color photos. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Weschler's collection of eclectic essays, which reference Eastern European history, Vermeer, Einstein and Ground Zero, among other topics, will alternately enlighten, entertain, confound and confuse. At least the author, a longtime writer at the New Yorker, isn't above admitting that his perceived "convergences"-oddly diverse photos, paintings or historical happenstances that he feels bound to connect-are often tenuous at best. His own daughter, he points out, would often explain them by saying simply: "Daddy's having another one of his loose-synapsed moments." We know just what she means when Weschler (Vermeer in Bosnia, 2004) tries to pair a photo of two Ground Zero firemen with Grant Wood's classic painting, American Gothic, or when he earnestly contends that the photographer who shot that famous 1967 photo of Che Guevara's bullet-riddled corpse was somehow thinking of Rembrandt's 1632 painting, The Anatomy Lesson. A photo of the 1986 Challenger explosion leads Weschler to a shot of a nuclear A-bomb test. The visage of Newt Gingrich looks to the author like the spitting image of Slobodan Milosevic, which leads to a strained comparison of their biographies and political DNA. The nascent, struggling democracies of Eastern Europe, on which the author spends much time, recall Oliver Sacks's 1973 bestseller, Awakenings, which described his treatment of neurologically damaged patients at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx. While much of this feels like wild overreaching, other Weschler flights of intellectual fancy are curiously entertaining and compelling. An essay on "The Graphics of Solidarity" traces the passionate poster art secretly created by intrepid graphic artists during theearly-1980s struggle between Polish shipyard workers and their Soviet puppet government. An eerie full-page ad, featured prominently in many magazines the week before 9/11, shows a Lufthansa jet streaking narrowly between several skyscrapers. The author even makes a persuasive case for the influence of deep-space photos and lunar landscapes on the art work of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Ultimately, readers attuned to Weschler's esoteric subject matter and obscure cultural references will no doubt enjoy this odd collection of delicacies. To others, the exercise may smack suspiciously of dilettantism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932416862
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 804,042
  • Product dimensions: 9.16 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Table of Contents

Exemplary instances
Echoes at Ground Zero 8
The view from the prow of the getty 23
Cuneiform Chicago 27
Helen Levitt : ilium off the bowery 33
Ziggurats of perception 37
Expressions of an absolute 43
Gazing out towards 51
Magritte standard time 57
Women's bodies
Found triptych 63
Girls in their turning 65
Languorous landscapes 71
Face as torso, torso as face 82
Fathers and daughters 87
The darling little being 93
Images without texts 97
Political occasions
The graphics of solidarity 105
The Contras and the battle of Algiers 125
How suddenly it can all just end 129
Modern times 135
Allegories of Eastern Europe 141
Loving or leaving Bosnia 159
Pillsbury doughboy messiahs 161
A field of blackbirds 167
Life against death 171
Mona Lewinsky 181
Those wacky Htoo twins 185
Thumb in eye 189
Trees, neurons, networks
Trees and eyeballs 199
Branching out yet further 206
Compounding unscientific postscript 215
Coda / credo
We join spokes together in a wheel 229
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