Appearances

Genius Week at 92Y

On the 7th Day : Spiritual Genius and the Sabbath

The biblical story of the world’s creation builds rest and reflection into the very architecture of existence. As human beings created in God’s image, we, too, set aside the 7th day each week to connect with the divine, and to rediscover the divine spark within ourselves—to tap into the creative power we have been imbued with to transform our lives and to change the world. By liberating us from our daily routine, and giving us the freedom to focus on what matters most, the Shabbat is a day to develop the capacity for genius that twentieth century philosopher and theologian Martin Buber attributed to spiritual trailblazers, like Moses and Maimonides, “to unite the way of earth with that of heaven.” Join Rabbi Jen E. Krause in conversation with relationship & communications expert Esther Perel, best-selling author & entrepreneur Michael Ellsberg, and author, psychiatrist and “Today Show” contributor Gail Saltz as we explore the spiritual genius that dwells within us all.

The Genius Debate: Identifying the Origins of Genius

What is the origin of genius? Does genius depend more on talent or deliberate practice? What is talent, anyway? Is quality of practice more important than sheer quantity of effort? What other factors are important in the cultivation of genius?

The genius debate with David Shenk, psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz and cognitive scientists Scott Barry Kaufman, Zach Hambrick and Rex Jung.

Psychobiography with Dr. Gail Saltz at the 92Y:

Psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist and best-selling author and television commentator Dr. Gail Saltz moderates this new series: A look inside the minds of larger-than-life figures of the 20th century, examining the psychological factors that shaped them.

On Charles Darwin
David Kohn

Did you know that for 21 years Darwin kept his theory of evolution secret? Learn more about this brilliant observer of nature and how he transformed our understanding of the living world, with David Kohn, the founder and director of the Darwin Manuscripts Project at the American Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist, bestselling author and television commentator.

On Sigmund Freud
George Makari, M.D.

Sigmund Freud: He was the founding father of psychoanalysis, the basis for all talk therapies. But what about the mind of the man himself? Who was Sigmund Freud? What enabled him to create an entirely new field of thought? And what psychological problems did the man himself suffer? A look at the mind and life of the man who gave us “study of the mind”.

George Makari, M.D., is director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry, professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, professor of psychiatry at Rockefeller University, and a faculty member of Columbia University’s Psychoanalytic Center. He is the author of Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis.

On Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln
Catherine Clinton
University of Belfast, Professor of US History

The Lincolns: Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, The 16th president of the United States and his first lady had a tumultuous yet vital relationship. Both struggled with mental health problems and terrible loss. We will explore the psychological influences that effected President and Mrs. Lincoln as he led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crises- the Civil War. What motivated Lincoln to preserve the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic and financial modernization and what of the role of Mary Todd?

Catherine Clinton came to Queen’s in 2006, having previously taught at Union College, Brandeis University and at Harvard University — in both the Department of African American Studies and the Department of History. She has recently stepped down from the executive council of the Society of American Historians and continues to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and her biography, Mrs Lincoln: a life was published in 2009. Her biography of Harriet Tubman was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2004 by the Christian Science Monitor and the Chicago Tribune. She now serves on the Advisory Council of Civil War History, of Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC, and Civil War Times. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission and in 2011, she is the editor of the Penguin Classic, Mary Chestnut’s Diary.

On Albert Einstein
Michael Shara PhD

 Einstein: An exploration of the mind of the man whose name has become synonymous with Genius. The father of modern physics, he struggled in early school years. What strengths led to his multiple discoveries? What weaknesses did he have to overcome both professionally and personally?

Astrophysicist Michael Shara PhD  is curator and chair of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. His research interests include the structure and evolution of novae and supernovae, collisions between stars, and the nature of stellar populations in star clusters and galaxies. He curated the Einstein exhibit at AMNH.

On Pablo Picasso
Gertje R. Utley, Ph. D.

Picasso: A look inside the mind of Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century who revolutionized painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics,  as a way of understanding his artistic genius, vast contributions and fascinating life

Gertje R. Utley is an independent scholar in art history.

She is the author of Picasso: the Communist Years (Yale University Press, 2000), and more recently the co-editor and co-author of A Fine Regard: Essays in Honor of Kirk Varnedoe (Ashgate, 2008), and curator of an exhibition on the influence of Velázquez on contemporary art at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona (Olvidando a Velázquez: Las Meninas, exh. cat., Picasso Museum, Barcelona, Spain, 2008). She has contributed articles on Picasso, Egon Schiele, and on contemporary art to various art books and exhibition catalogues (Picasso and the Spanish Tradition, Yale 1996; Picasso and the War: 1937-1945, exhibition cat. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1998/9; Picasso: War and Peace, Picasso Museum, Barcelona,  2004).

Utley has lectured at major museums in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Istanbul, Barcelona and at the Sorbonne in Paris. In addition to presentations on Picasso and Picasso’s politics, she has spoken on a wide variety of topics that include “Expressing the Spiritual in a Secular Age,” “The Glory that Was Paris,” “World War I and the Painters,” and “The Gilded Age in New York.”

On Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  (Available on video >>)
Christoph Wolff

One of the most prolific and influential composers of the Classical era, Mozart was a child prodigy who struggled for recognition and control over his own destiny. His father was a hugely influential figure and a source of conflict. Explore the gift and the drive of this masterful composer who died so young.

Christoph Wolff  is the Adams University Research Professor at Harvard University and teaches at the Juilliard School. He has written extensively on music from the 15th through 20th centuries, especially on Bach and Mozart. He is the author of Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune: Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791.

On Harry Houdini (Available on video >>)
Brooke Kamin Rapaport

The son of a Rabbi, Harry Houdini was one of the most famous magicians, illusionists and escape artists in the world. What drove this self-taught man? What was the meaning of disappearing and reappearing? Why was he consumed with debunking the spiritualist movement?

Brooke Kamin Rapaport is an independent curator and writer. As guest curator at the Jewish Museum in New York, she organized Houdini: Art and Magic, and The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing A Legend.

On Vincent Van Gogh (Available on video >>)
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, authors of Van Gogh: The Life, graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1977. Mr. Naifeh did his undergraduate work in art history at Princeton and his graduate work in art history at Harvard. Mr. Smith did his graduate work in education at Harvard. The two men have written eighteen books, including five New York Times bestsellers. Their Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award, the basis of the Academy-Award winning film Pollock, and the inspiration for John Updike’s novel, Seek My Face. They serve as Chairmen of the Juilliard-in-Aiken Arts Festival.

On Ernest Hemingway (Available on video >>)
Susan F. Beegel

Susan F. Beegel holds a PhD from Yale University and is an Adjunct Associate Professor of English at the University of Idaho. This fall she will celebrate her twentieth year as editor of The Hemingway Review, a scholarly journal on the life and work of Ernest Hemingway. A joint publication of the Hemingway Society and the University of Idaho, the journal circulates to individual scholars and to college, university, and public libraries around the world. Beegel is the author or editor of four books (on Hemingway’s craft and his short fiction, as well as on Steinbeck and the environment and Nantucket’s literary tradition)–and has published more than 55 articles on aspects of American literature and history.

On Howard Hughes  (Available on video >>)
James B. Steele

James B. Steele is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and one of the nation’s most honored and widely acclaimed investigative journalists. He and his reporting colleague, Donald L. Barlett, have been called “almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative journalism” by the American Journalism Review. Recipients of virtually every major national journalism award including two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards, Barlett and Steele have worked together for four decades, first at The Philadelphia Inquirer, then at Time magazine and now at Vanity Fair. Steele is a coauthor with Barlett of seven books, including Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness, which has been continuously in print since published in 1979. Of the Hughes biography, The New York Times Sunday Book Review called it “the first fully documented cradle-to-grave account of a unique American life.”ealthier, more fulfilling lives.