By Kathryn Weinger
The new publications from two of Rider’s fine and performing arts professors were celebrated on Oct. 14 at a book signing in the Yvonne Theater.
Deborah Rosenthal, a professor from the fine arts department, and Nathan Hurwitz, an assistant professor and musical director, both presented their new works at the event. Rosenthal is the editor of the series Artists & Art, which now includes the book that was the focus of the signing: a collection of the writings of French painter Jean Hélion. She collected the 18 essays, wrote headnotes for each, and wrote an introduction for the entire volume.
In the book, Hélion relates current art with the art of the past, and talks about the role of an abstract artist in society and about the specific painters that inspired her work.
“I wanted to create this collection and, with my notes and introduction, discuss the importance of this painter and the whole question of why some artists write about art in addition to creating works of painting or sculpture,” said Rosenthal. “I wanted to create this volume to explore further the ways that artists are particularly able to write about questions of art.”
Rosenthal said she is inspired not only by Hélion, but also by Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian and André Masson. The book took nearly a year to write, and Rosenthal even spent some time in France, where she searched the artist’s archive to find additional material for the book.
Hurwitz is the author of A History of the American Musical Theatre: No Business Like It, and uses the textbook for his History of American Musical Theatre class, which will be offered in the spring semester. The text covers the history of American musicals and how they were created and produced, as well as what types of music gained and maintained popularity. The book took about three years to write. According to Hurwitz, it was written out of necessity – he used to use three different textbooks for his classes, as well as additional readings, so he figured there had to be an easier way.
“It began as a classroom tool for myself as a professor, and fairly quickly it became clear that my perspective on this particular history is unique,” said Hurwitz. He also drew inspiration from his wife and parents, and said he was grateful that his father was able to see the published copy, complete with dedication to him and his mother, before he passed away this summer.