Tag: biography

Johns Hopkins Commissions Biography of Itself

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“We were America’s first research university and the model for higher education in this country and beyond,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels announced this week. “The time has come for a definitive book that chronicles our remarkable history.” So the school decided to commission one — from one of its own professors. What do you think are the chances that it’ll be anything close to objective?

Correcting Facts on “Young Thurgood”: Big Fish Q&A with UM Law Professor Larry Gibson

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For decades, UM law prof and political consultant Larry Gibson found himself talking the record straight about Thurgood Marshall’s youth and young adulthood – it bothered him that the media held certain basic misconceptions about the justice. For example, Marshall didn’t resent his hometown of Baltimore. He didn’t lack a sense of humor. Nor did Marshall ever intend to be a dentist! Of course, there’s meatier more (the meticulously researched book weighs in at 413 pages). But you’ll have to read Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice (Prometheus) for the larger, nuanced character study.

“Things I’ll Need for the Seduction”: An Interview with Sondheim Winner Renee Stout

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“The House of Chance & Mischief”

Seasoned artist Renee Stout, who won the $30,000 Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize for 2012, is a multi-media maker who creates her art, at least in part, by consistently taking on a fierce fictional identity. Her alter-ego’s intriguing first name: Fatima.

When I visited Stout’s exhibition – currently on display at the BMA, along with the work of all spectacular Sondheim finalists, Lisa Dillin, Jon Duff, Hasan Elahi, Matthew Janson and John McNeil, until July 29th – I was most struck by those pieces in which the mind of this Fatima Mayfield, a gifted spiritual healer, seems most alive and participant. The staged photographs, starring Renee/Fatima in dreadlocks and platform heels, yes, also thought-provoking, but less so for me than the art-text-involved works that seem to stream from both women’s brains, creator and character.

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