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'William Deresiewicz, Ph.D.: What is Art in the 21st Century?' - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

Date and Time

Monday, October 1, 2018
7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


  • Eberhard Center


Creativity is all the rage these days. Everybody wants to be creative, and every company wants creative people on its team. As business and the arts draw closer together, how are they changing each other? Expanding on his viral essay for The Atlantic, "The Death of the Artist - and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur," Deresiewicz talks about our changing understanding and practice of creative work and the creative life. 

Deresiewicz traces the age-old conception of the artist as artisan, to that of the solitary genius, to the current culture surrounding our modern day creative economy. "Producerism" has risen in conjunction with consumerism, allowing numerous individuals the opportunity to project their visions within a shared landscape and call themselves "artists". 

The gatekeepers are no longer singular. Group consensus and clicks have become the gauge of influence and success. With the cultural proliferation of the creative entrepreneur, where does that leave the idea of the artist? How is the democratization of taste and access to creative tools redefining the role of the artist? Is the need for economic survival pushing the sage effort to create without reward to the point of extinction?

William has published over 250 essays and reviews. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's, The Nation, The New Republic, The American Scholar, and many other publications.

His New York Times bestselling book "Excellent Sheep" is a manifesto on the value of a liberal arts education within our current cultural climate which has prioritized applied education as a path toward a good paying job.

In contrast, he emphasizes the value of a liberal arts education in parallel with the value of creating and sustaining the world of ideas. As artificial intelligence and other technological innovations continue to impact our culture, questions related to what it means to be human become crucial in our understanding of ourselves.

This lecture will be applicable and inspiring to all who see the evolving landscape of digital tools as an extension of our humanity with many questions that still need to be addressed. The lecture will be followed by a book signing by the author.


LIB 100 Peer Mentor Hosted Event



Julie Goldstein

Assistant Professor
Film and Video Production
Animation Emphasis Coordinator

Office: 214 Lake Superior Hall
Phone: (616) 331-3465



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