Brooklyn Rail’s New Social Environment #215Lisa Pearson and Connie Lewallen in conversation
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 1 pm EST (online)
Brooklyn Rail editor-at-large and curator Constance Lewallen interviews siglio publisher Lisa Pearson about the origins of Siglio, its mission, and books that embody it. The conversation is archived on YouTube.
Postscript, September 17, 2022
As I post this link to the new siglio website, I am both grateful and heartbroken that this was Connie’s and my last long conversation. While we zoomed occasionally during the shutdown, I had not seen her in so long. Unlike here, where we had mapped out precisely what we wanted to cover, my conversations with Connie wound around so many different tangents. This is the note I wrote in May in the wake of her death:
A dear friend of Siglio passed away quite suddenly in April. Curator Constance Lewallen will be remembered as the indomitable force behind extraordinary exhibitions during her long tenure at the Berkeley Art Museum. I will remember her as one of the sharpest, kindest, and most surprising people I’ve ever known. In 2007 when Ron Padgett and I began working on The Nancy Book, he said it was essential to meet Connie (she had curated the Joe Brainard retrospective). I remember following this tiny, elegant woman (whose walk told me she wouldn’t stand for any nonsense) to her office at the museum. I also remember being more than a bit intimidated. And I remember, though she didn’t smile right away, she took me (someone who had yet to publish a book) seriously and gave me her full attention. We started with Joe, but we ended up weaving through Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Nancy Spero, Carol Rama, and others. It was the first of many marvelous conversations that left me energized and reeling with possibility. Not only did she (and her husband Bill Berkson) help immensely with the Joe Brainard book, she was instrumental in the conception of Tantra Song. One evening while having a drink at her house, she quietly pulled me away from a conversation with Bill and my husband, motioned for me to follow her upstairs as if to share a secret, and then pointed to two small paintings on the landing. They were tantric paintings from Rajasthan, and I had never seen anything like them: I was completely moved. I think she delighted in observing my reaction as I first laid eyes on them. And I certainly felt that her intention was to share something extraordinary with me. It was that real generosity along with her puckish sense of humor and critical acumen that I will remember most. I feel so very lucky to have known her.
—Lisa Pearson, publisher
It Is Almost ThatA Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers
Torture of Women
Edited by Lisa Pearson with writings by Diana Nemiroff, Elaine Scarry and Luisa Valenzuela
The Address Book
Tantra SongTantric Painting from Rajasthan
Translated by Michael Tweed, introduction by Lawrence Rinder, interview by Bill Berkson and essay by André Padoux
✼ natalie’s upstate weather report:
september 22, 2023 — Every day blue skies, 71 degrees, and a slight, saltine breeze. Away from the ocean, into the city: heat that melts tar and soaks the concrete while waiting for a bus that seems to have evaporated. And then the ascension up the hill above the slow ooze of traffic on I-405 to the Getty Research Center where—shoed, socked and sweatered—our publisher delves into the Jean Brown Archive, a wholly other climate.[...]