Princeton Atelier 2023-24: Art, Math, and More

Pictured Above: Hernan Diaz. Photo Credit: Pascal Perich.



Princeton, NJ – Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts presents a new year of The Atelier@Large conversation series that brings guest artists and intellectuals to campus to discuss the challenges they face in making art in the modern world. For the first conversation in the 2023-24 series, Princeton’s Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Princeton Atelier Paul Muldoon will be joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hernan Diaz and mathematician Sarah Hart, author of Once Upon a Prime. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, in Richardson Auditorium on Princeton’s campus.  See below for more dates that have been announced.

The Princeton Atelier, currently directed by Muldoon, was founded in 1994 by Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at the University. The Atelier brings together professional artists from different disciplines and Princeton students to create new work in the context of a semester-long course that culminates in the public presentation of that new work. Recent artists have included Stew, Laurie Anderson, the improv group Baby Wants Candy, and the Wakka Wakka Puppet Theatre. The Atelier@Large series, established in 2021, is an extension of the Princeton Atelier that brings guest artists and intellectuals to campus to speak on art’s role in the modern world. Among recent guests were Jennifer Egan, Joy Harjo, Jennifer Homans, Michael J. Love, Jonathan Majors, Darryl (Run DMC) McDaniels, Anais Mitchell, Suzanne Nossel, Lynn Nottage, Claudia Rankine, and Tom Stoppard. This year’s series is cosponsored by Labyrinth Books.

“Being an artist is tough enough at the best of times,” says Muldoon, “but it’s particularly difficult just now. Artists are coming under pressure from numerous orthodoxies, to both left and right, as to what they must or must not do. Most insidious, perhaps, is the form of self-censorship that has artists second guessing themselves. In addition to honoring some of our finest minds, The Atelier@Large series provides a rare enough forum in which some of these ideas may be aired.”

Pictured Above: Sarah Hart. Photo Credit: Contributed. 

Hernan Diaz is the Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Trust, a novel that explores family, wealth and ambition through linked narratives rendered in different literary styles. In 2022 Trust received the Kirkus Prize, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and TIME Magazine, and it was one of The New Yorker’s 12 Essential Reads of the Year and one of former president Barack Obama’s favorite books of that year. Translated into more than thirty languages, Trust is also being developed as a limited series for HBO. Diaz’s previous novel, In the Distance, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and it won the William Saroyan International Prize. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, The Atlantic, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. He has received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Sarah Hart is a respected pure mathematician and a recognized expositor of mathematics. Passionate about communicating mathematics and its intersections with culture and creativity, Hart is the author of Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections between Mathematics and Literature (Macmillan, 2023). The Times (U.K.) commends Once Upon a Prime as “a joyful romp through the fascinating twinned history of maths and literature.” When promoted in 2013 to full professor of mathematics at Birkbeck College (University of London), Hart became the youngest STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professor at Birkbeck, its first ever female mathematics professor, and one of only five female mathematics professors under the age of 40 in the United Kingdom. Educated at Oxford and Manchester, Hart currently holds the Gresham Professorship of Geometry, the oldest mathematics chair in the United Kingdom. She is the 33rd Gresham Professor of Geometry and the first woman ever to hold the position. Her academic publications have been mainly in the area of pure mathematics known as group theory, which has many applications both inside and outside of mathematics, such as in coding theory and cryptography. Hart is actively involved in the British Society for the History of Mathematics and served as its president from 2021-2023.

Paul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, as well as the founding chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. As an internationally renowned Irish poet, Muldoon has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.” Muldoon won the Pulitzer Prize for his ninth collection of poems, Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). His 14th volume of poems, Howdie-Skelp, was released in 2021 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. His 15th, Joy in Service on Rue Tagore, will appear in April 2024. 

The Atelier@Large conversation series continues with several guests this year including:
·      Kyle Marshall and Lorrie Moore on October 10
·      Andrey Kurkov and Alan Lightman on November 14
·      Jennifer Finney Boylan and Bridget Kearney on February 13

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

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