Participants: Patricia Bloom, Carmen De Lavallade, Audrey Flack, Elinor Fuchs, Gordon Rogoff
Aging often connotes diminution of the basic faculties of sight and hearing, together with a weakening of mnemonic abilities. However, many great artists have produced their most powerful works in their later years. Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, King Lear, The Tempest and Cymbeline are all late plays. Some of Ibsen's greatest works—The Master Builder, John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken—were written in the later period of his life. Claude Monet and Merce Cunningham are among the many visual and performing artists who continued to have productive careers late in their lives. Could a reorientation of physical and mental needs foster creativity? Conversely, do creative activities expand the capacity of the mind, staving off the decline of conceptual and imaginative powers? In what ways might aging reflect on the creative process itself? This roundtable will address such questions while looking at creativity as a function of biology and consciousness.
Patricia Bloom is Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the Director of Integrative Health Programs at the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Her major interests are the promotion of healthy aging, integrative health, stress reduction, and dementia. She is a registered yoga teacher and a teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She has been involved in geriatric care, teaching, and research for over 30 years. She has been cited by New York Magazine every year since 1998 as one of the best geriatricians in New York.
Carmen De Lavallade is a dancer, actress, and choreographer who made her professional debut with the Lester Horton Dance Theater, where she was a lead dancer from 1950 to 1954. She went on to perform, and later choreograph, for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. In 1954 she made her Broadway debut in Truman Capote's House of Flowers. De Lavallade danced as the prima ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera in productions of Aida and Samson and Delilah, and was a guest artist with the American Ballet Theater. In the late '60s, she joined the Yale Repertory Theater as an actor and movement teacher. Between 1990 and 1993, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera as choreographer for Porgy and Bess and Die Meistersinger, among other productions. De Lavallade has appeared in several major motion pictures, including John Sayle's Lone Star and Big Daddy, starring Adam Sandler. She is the recipient of honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Adelphi University, Bloomfield College, SUNY Purchase, and the Juilliard School. De Lavallade was named the Ellington Fellow at Yale University and awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Metropolitan College of New York in 2008.
Audrey Flack is a pioneer of Photorealism and a nationally recognized painter and sculptor. Her work is in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Art in Canberra, Australia. Flack holds a graduate degree and an honorary doctorate from the Cooper Union in New York City, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Yale University. She was awarded the St. Gaudens Medal from the Cooper Union, the honorary Albert Dome Professorship from Bridgeport University, and the 2007 Seigfield prize for Art Education. She is an honorary professor at George Washington University, and is currently a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Flack is also an accomplished banjo player.
Elinor Fuchs is an award-winning playwright and a nationally recognized theater critic who has lectured widely on Alzheimer's and creativity. She is the author or editor of five books, including The Death of Character, for which she won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and a memoir about her mother, Making an Exit. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, and American Theater, as well as many scholarly anthologies and journals. She is a Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama, and has also taught at Columbia and Harvard Universities. She was recently the recipient of the Betty Jean Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher of American Theater, given annually by the American Drama and Theatre Society.
Gordon Rogoff is Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama. Author of Theatre is Not Safe and Vanishing Acts, he is a recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2009, a Fellow of The Bogliasco Foundation, Italy. Two essays from his book in progress, Sunset Over Ice: Late Works by Verdi, Ibsen, Ingmar Bergman, Richard Strauss, and Matisse, have already been published: "Verdi's Cosmic Jokes" in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, and "Ibsen's Black Poodle" in the latest issue of The Yale Review.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.