Mike Lesy is speaking at a Rain Taxi-sponsored event next Monday at the Minnesota Center for Photography. I’m a huge fan of Wisconsin Death Trip; so I’ll be taking a break from the diss to see him–though of course Chicago in the twenties is diss-appropriate–so come by and say hello.

Further info from Rain Taxi:

Rain Taxi Reading Series proudly presents

Michael Lesy

Monday, February 26, 2007, 7:00pm
Minnesota Center for Photography
165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis

co-presented by the Minnesota Center for Photography

Admission is $5 for the general public and FREE for Rain Taxi subscribers, MCP members, and students with current IDs. Reception to follow!

Join us for the book launch of acclaimed photographic historian Michael Lesy’s latest volume Murder City: The Bloody History of Chicago in the Twenties;, paints an engrossing portrait of violence in the heartland of America. With his usual sharp eye and narrative grace, Lesy makes the case that Chicago’s criminal mayhem helped to shape the country we live in today.

A professor of literary journalism at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Lesy first rose to prominence with his groundbreaking book Wisconsin Death Trip, released in 1973; based on 19th-century photographs taken in rural Wisconsin, the book is a uniquely constructed meditation on history. His many subsequent books exploring photography’s role in culture include Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures (Pantheon, 1980);Dreamland (The New Press, 1998); and Long Time Coming: A Photographic Portrait of America, 1935-1943 (Norton, 2002). Writing about Angel’s World: The New York Photographs of Angelo Rizzuto (Norton, 2005) in the VACUM Attachment of Rain Taxi, Glenn Gordon praised Lesy as possessing “an editorial sensitivity that touches on genius,” and noted that his telling of the photographer’s life story “is inseparable from Rizzuto’s photographs. To look at these photographs without reading the essay is to see only their husks.”

Lesy’s use of archival photographs and ephemeral source material to create his own poetic non-fiction studies have profoundly influenced many other artists, writers, and critics. Lesy was recently named one of the inaugural recipients of a United States Artists Fellowship, which provides unrestricted grant funding to 50 outstanding artists in the nation.