The New New Journalism
Robert S. Boynton
Ted Conover
Richard Ben Cramer
Leon Dash
William Finnegan
Jonathan Harr
Alex Kotlowitz
Jon Krakauer
Jane Kramer
William Langewiesche
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Michael Lewis
Susan Orlean
Richard Preston
Ron Rosenbaum
Eric Schlosser
Gay Talese
Calvin Trillin
Lawrence Weschler
Lawrence Wright
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by Robert S. Boynton

           Bookstores never know where to put Lawrence Weschler's books. Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder (1995), his portrait of the curator of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, is likely to be found in "Psychedelics." Boggs: A Comedy of Values (1999), a profile of a performance artist who draws images of money, in "Economics." A Miracle, A Universe (1990), which examines the role of torture in the military dictatorships of Brazil and Uruguay, may be in the "Latin America" section. That the confusion stems as much from Weschler's remarkable breadth as a writer as it does a bookstore's parochialism gives him little comfort.
           Where does Weschler want his work collected? Calamities of Exile (1998), his book about three expatriates from three totalitarian regimes—Czech dissident Jan Kavan, Iraqi architect Kanan Makiya, and South African poet Breyten Breytenbach—offers a clue. The volume's subtitle, Three Nonfiction Novellas, is a designation that simultaneously clarifies and complicates the question of just what kind of writing he does.
           Weschler was born on February 13, 1952, and raised in Van Nuys, California. His father was a professor and industrial psychologist, and his grandfather was Ernst Toch, whose Third Symphony was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1956.
           Weschler attended Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz. After university, Weschler freelanced for the L.A. Reader and L.A. Weekly while working as an editor and interviewer for UCLA's Oral History Program. His biography of the artist Robert Irwin (Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, 1982) grew out of interviews Weschler was editing for the program. The book was excerpted in The New Yorker, and so began Weschler's most important literary relationship.
           In 1981, he became a staff writer at the magazine, where he divided his time between long, foreign political pieces, and more lighthearted cultural ones. In particular, Weschler wrote frequently about Poland (collected in The Passion of Poland, 1984).
           The first of his books not to originate in The New Yorker (parts were published in Harper's), Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder explores the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a tiny L.A. storefront where one encounters bizarre exhibits like the Cameroonian stink ant, and bats embedded in lead. Weschler's first bestseller, Mr. Wilson, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
           Weschler first wrote about J. S. G. Boggs in 1987, as the oncesoaring stock and art markets were collapsing. "Where did all the money go?" he wondered. In several pieces over the next decade (collected in book form in 1999), Boggs proved the perfect marginal character through whom to explore this question. Boggs is a performance artist and monetary draftsman who exchanges original renderings of paper currency for goods and services.
           In 2001, Weschler became the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. His most recent book, Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences (2006) won The National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.


And How Are You, Dr. Sachs?, FSG, 2019
Flowers for Lisa: A Delirium of Photographic Invention, Harry N. Abrams, 2018
Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists, Bloomsbury, 2017
Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez, Abrams, 2016
Fred Tomaselli: The Times, Prestel, 2014
Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative, Counterpoint, 2011
True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney, University of California Press, 2009
Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, McSweeney's, 2006
Vermeer in Bosnia: A Weschler Reader, Pantheon, 2004
Robert Irwin: Getty Garden, Getty Publications, 2001
Boggs: A Comedy of Values, University of Chicago Press, 1999
Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas, University of Chicago Press, 1998
A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces, Ruminator Books, 1998
Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Pantheon, 1995
A Miracle, a Universe: Settling Accounts With Torturers, Pantheon, 1990
Shapinsky's Karma, Bogg's Bills, and Other True-Life Tales, North Point Press, 1988
David Hockney’s Cameraworks, Knopf, 1984
The Passion of Poland: From Solidarity Through the State of War, Pantheon, 1984
Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Biography of California Artist Robert Irwin, University of California Press, 1982
Solidarity: Poland in the Season of Its Passion, Simon & Schuster, 1982


Unless otherwise noted, all articles were published in The New Yorker.

"The Uncanny Tale of Shimmel Zohar", The Atlantic, September 2020

"A New Mount Rushmore for a World on the Brink?",, July 2, 2020

"A Preternatural Devotion: Remembering Ricky Jay", McSweeney's, November 30, 2018

"David Hockney’s Record-Smashing $90 Million Painting", The Atlantic, November 11, 2018

"His Three Loves: Photography, Art History and Lisa", The New York Times, November 5, 2018

"How the US Supreme Court Lost Its Legitimacy", The Nation, September 17, 2018

"How the US Supreme Court Lost Its Legitimacy", The Nation, September 7, 2018

"A Convergence of Jews, Poles, & Pigs", The Believer, August 14, 2018

"Domestic Disturbances: The Art of Ramiro Gomez", The New York Times, December 15, 2015

"Dogged by Trees", Artenol , October 3, 2015

"Art as Philosophical Practice: A Conversation with Alva Noë", Strange Pilgrims catalog, Austin Contemporary, October 2, 2015

"The migration catastrophe, climate change & the new normal", Salon, September 4, 2015

"Domestic Disturbances: The Art of Ramiro Gomez", The New York Times Magazine, August 16, 2015

"Ernst Toch - my grandfather the forgotten composer who fled the Nazis", The Guardian, June 18, 2015

"A Rare, Personal Look at Oliver Sacks’s Early Career", Vanity Fair, June, 2015

"Theo Jansen’s Lumbering Life-Forms Arrive in America", The New York Times Magazine, November 26, 2014

"Terrorizing a Family of Human Rights Champions", Truthdig, September 11, 2014

"Sarajevo 1914 / Gaza 2014: The Short Twentieth Century Lingers On", Truthdig, August 3, 2014

"Gaza as Sarajevo", Truthdig, July 27, 2014

"Israel Has Been Bitten by a Bat", Truthdig, July 18, 2014

"Of Baby Eagles and Human Prospects", Truthdig, June 25, 2014

"Atomic Cuneiform", The Believer, June, 2014

"On James Baldwin: A conversation between Rich Blint and Lawrence Weschler", The Brooklyn Rail, April 2, 2014

"Tomaselli’s Times", Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2014

"Tim's Vermeer --Vermeer's Music Lesson -- Marker's La Jetee", The Believer, March/April, 2014

"Pillow of Air A Monthly Amble Through the Visual World", The Believer, November/December 2013

"Radical Filmmaker Adam Curtis Storms the Armory With Massive Attack", New York Magazine, September 23, 2013

"Why David Hockney Has a Love-Hate Relationship With Technology", Smithsonian, September 2013

"Back to Kindergarten! A Modest Proposal for a College of the Future ", Public Books, January 24, 2013

"Errol Morris, Forensic Epistemologist: An interview with Lawrence Weschler", Public Books, June 18, 2-12

"Double Vision: The Art of Trevor and Ryan Oakes", Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2009

"David Hockney: A Return to Painting", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall 2008

"Embeddedness: Robert Irwin in His Seventies", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2008

"A Final Thought on Intelligent Design—and a Modest Proposal", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 2006

"The Graphics of Solidarity", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2006

"Valkyries Over Iraq: The Trouble With War Movies", Harper's, November, 2005

"Unfinished: On Vincent Desiderio’s Sleep", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall 2005

"Vanishing Point: David Hockney's Long and Winding Road", Harper's, June 2005

"Convergence: Compounding Unscientific Postscript—Toward a Unified Field Theory of Master Pattern Metaphors", McSweeney’s, Number 11, Summer 2003

"Sublime Decay", The New York Times Magazine, December 22, 2002

"Convergences: Tina Barney (Fathers and Daughters) and Cuneiform Chicago", McSweeney’s, Number 8, Summer 2002

"The Jewel of Poland", The Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2002

"Why is This Man Smiling?", Wired, June 2002

"Through the Looking Glass: Hockney’s Further Optical Adventures", ArtKrus, November 2001

"Richard Hamilton: Venturing a New Way", Metropolis, May 2001

"Convergences: Gazing Out Toward & Girls in Their Turning", McSweeney’s, Number 6, Winter 2001

"Profiles: The Novelist and the Nun—Mark Salzman Shares an Epiphany with his Subject", October 2, 2000

"Convergences: Cameras Obscura, Sightlines, Trees, Brains, Internet", McSweeney’s, Number 5, Fall 2000

"Art Under the Influence", The New York Times Magazine, May 28, 2000

"Two Further Convergences: Threadworkers of the Seventeenth Century—Velazquez’s ‘Arachne’/Alfredo Jaar/Vermeer’s ‘Lacemaker’/Wyslawa Szymborska", McSweeney’s, Number 4, Spring 2000

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: The Looking Glass", January 31, 2000

"Life and Death of a Hero", The New York Review of Books, December 2, 1999

"Profiles: The Furniture Philosopher—The Parkinsonian passion of Ed Weinberger", November 8, 1999

"Three Convergences: Found Triptych (De La Tour/Matisse/Wilke); Pillsbury Doughboy Messiahs (Gingrich/Milosevic); Expressions of an Absolute (Pollock/Space/Rothko/Moon)", McSweeney’s, Number 3, Summer 1999

"Department of Amplification: A Contest of Values", May 10, 1999

"Our Far-Flung Correspondents: L.A. Glows—Why Southern California doesn’t look like anywhere else", February 23 & March 2, 1998

"Our Far-Flung Correspondents: When Fountainheads Collide", December 8, 1997

"Before the Bulldozers: A Personal Take on the New Getty Museum", The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, December 7, 1997

"Books: Mayhem and Monotheism—The Good Book’s dark side", November 24, 1997

"Convergence: Szymborska and Vermeer", Gazeta, October 17, 1997

"An Anatomy Lesson", The Atlantic Monthly, October 1997

"Letter from the Republika Srpska: High Noon at Twin Peaks", August 18, 1997

"From Hitler to Hollywood", Los Angeles, March 1997

"The Colors of Silence", Los Angeles, February 1997

"Letter from Serbia: Aristotle in Belgrade", February 10, 1997

"Comment: Enabling Washington—The coming crunch in the Hague", December 2, 1996

"My Grandfather's Last Tale", The Atlantic Monthly, December 1996

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: Take No Prisoners", June 17, 1996

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: Cars and Carcasses—The last word on Ed Kienholz", May 13, 1996

"Postscript: Nicolas Slonimsky", January 15, 1996

"Profiles: Urban Blight—What’s Most Galling About Jerzy Urban?", December 11, 1995

"Reflections: Inventing Peace—What can Vermeer teach us About Bosnia?", November 20, 1995

"Born-Again Chess Pieces", Interview, March 1995

"Keeping Vigil", January 9, 1995

"Profiles: Artist in Exile", (Roman Polanski), December 5, 1994

"Inhaling the Spore: David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology", Harper’s, September 1994

"Artware by David Hockney: Yorkshire Colored", July 18, 1994

"The L.A. Quake", The Threepenny Review, June 1994

"Annals of War: Lost in Rwanda", April 25, 1994

"Sentries", (in collaboration with Richard Avedon), January 10, 1994

"Convergences: Magritte Standard Time", November 16, 1992

"Profiles: An Afrikaner Dante", (Breyten Breytenbach), November 8, 1993

"Department of Amplification: Jan Kavan", November 2, 1992

"Portfolio by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid: Stalin in Jersey", September 20, 1993

"Profiles: A Wanderer in the Perfect City", (Ben Katchor), August 9, 1993

"Portfolio: Slight Modifications", July 12, 1993

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: In a Desert of Pure Feeling", June 7, 1993

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: Money Changes Everything", January 18, 1993

"Profiles: Architects Amid the Ruins", (Kanan and Mohamed Makiya), January 6, 1992

"A Reporter At Large: The Velvet Purge—The trials of Jan Karan", October 19, 1992

"Swidnik: A Polish Elegy", Grand Street, Summer 1992

"A Reporter At Large: Deficit", May 11, 1992

"Profiles: Taking Art to Point Zero (I )—Robert Irwin", March 8, 1982

"A Reporter At Large: Shock", December 10, 1990

"Profiles: Bells and Whistles", (Gary Isaacs), October 8, 1990

"Allegories of Eastern Europe", The Threepenny Review, Fall 1990

"Choosing Democracy: The Half-Told Story of the Year", Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1990

"Poland Takes the Plunge", Dissent, Spring 1990

"A Reporter At Large: A Grand Experiment", November 13, 1989

"Department of Amplification: Uruguay", May 22, 1989

"A Reporter At Large: The Great Experiment (II)—Impunity", April 10, 1989

"A Reporter At Large: The Great Experiment (I)—Liberty", April 3, 1989

"To Have and Have Not: Poland in May 1989", Mother Jones, December 1988

"A Reporter At Large: Skirmish", August 29, 1988

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: Value (II)—Category confusion", January 25, 1988

"Onward and Upward with the Arts: Value (I)—A Fool’s Question", January 18, 1988

"Frank Stella's Flying Ships", Artnews, September 1987

"A Reporter At Large: A Miracle, A Universe (II)", June 1, 1987

"A Reporter At Large: A Miracle, A Universe (I)", May 25, 1987

"Profiles: Boy Wonder (II)—Nicolas Slonimsky", November 24, 1986

"Profiles: Boy Wonder (I)—Nicolas Slonimsky", November 17, 1986

"A Reporter At Large: A Strange Destiny", December 16, 1985

"The Art World: True to Life—David Hockney", July 9, 1984

"A Reporter At Large: A State of War (II)", April 18, 1983

"A Reporter At Large: A State of War (I)", April 11, 1983

"Profiles: Louisiana in Denmark", (Knud Jensen), August 30, 1982

"Profiles: Taking Art to Point Zero (II)—Robert Irwin", March 15, 1982

"A Reporter in Poland: And There Was Light (II)—September–October 1981", November 16, 1981

"A Reporter in Poland: And There Was Light (I)—May 1981", November 9, 1981

Interviews and Reviews

Ben Mauk talks with Lawrence Weschler on the Lit Show, March 4, 2013

Lawrence Weschler talks about David Hockney's iPhone Passion The New York Review of Books online, October 22, 2009

Author Lawrence Weschler on the Future of Literary Journalism, Galleycat, October 5, 2009

Ren Weschler lectures at the Arthur L. carter Institute for Journalism at NYU on "Form and Freedom in Narrative Nonfiction", Fall 2009

Lawrence Weschler talks about NYU's Literary Reportage concentration,

Vermeer Essayist Sheds Light on Variety of Topics Weekend Edition, NPR, October 2, 2004

Lawrence Weschler Transom, October 2004

Interview with Weschler The God Particle, September 2004

Still Pen Over Shifting Ground: The Writings of Lawrence Weschler The Philadelphia Independent, August 2004

Optics, Toothpicks, Wah-Wah Studio 360, WNYC, February 23, 2002

Authenticity, Imposters, Stamps Studio 360, WNYC, June 2, 2001

Weschler Named Director of NY Institute for Humanities NYU Today, April 19, 2001

Calamity of Excellence: Lawrence Weschler Laments the Loss of Journalism the Asks for Nothing but our Attention LA Weekly, June 26, 1998

Genocide and War Crimes: Past, Present, and Future Frontline, May 26, 1998

Calamities of Exile All Things Considered, NPR, May 22, 1998

In The Very Middle of Things: Lawrence Weschler's exploration of the nature of exile takes him to some very strange places The Atlantic Unbound, April 29, 1998

Bob Edwards Talks with Lawrence Weschler of the New Yorker Morning Edition, NPR, January 11, 1996

© Robert S. Boynton