Warren Lehrer is a writer and artist/designer known internationally as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. His work explores the vagaries and luminescence of character, the relationships between social structures and the individual, and the pathos and absurdity of life. His books, acclaimed for capturing the shape of thought and reuniting the traditions of storytelling with the printed page, include: A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley (Goff Books); Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a New America (W.W. Norton) with Judith Sloan, The Portrait Series: a quartet of men (four book series, Bay Press); GRRRHHHHH: a study of social patterns (Center for Editions) with Sandra Brownlee and Dennis Bernstein; FRENCH FRIES with Dennis Bernstein (Visual Studies Workshop); i mean you know (Visual Studies Workshop), and versations (EarSay).
He has received many awards for his books and projects, including the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, the IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, The International Book Award for Best New Fiction, a Media That Matters Award, three American Institute for Graphic Arts Book awards, two Type Director’s Club awards, The International Book Design Award, a Best of the Best Award from the New York Book Show, a National Indie Book Award, a Next Generation Indie Book Award, and a Prix Arts Electronica Award. He’s received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council and Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the Furthermore Foundation, and others. In 2016 he was honored by the Center for Book Arts for his “pioneering work” and for “extending the field of book arts to the broader worlds of contemporary art and literature.”
His work has been exhibited widely and is in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, L.A. County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery. The Crossing the BLVD exhibition (co-produced with Sloan) has been to fifteen museums and galleries and continues to travel the country. Lehrer is also a performer and has co-written four plays (Social Security: the basic training of Eugene Solomon with Dennis Bernstein, Denial of the Fittest, and A Tattle Tale, with Judith Sloan), and co-written and co-composed one opera (The Search For IT and Other Pronouns with Harvey Goldman). He co-produces public radio documentaries and audio works with his wife Judith Sloan. Lehrer’s performances and plays have been performed at many venues including La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Knitting Factory, Independent Art at Here, The Painted Bride, the Market Theatre (Johannesberg), and the Theatre Workshop (Edinburgh).
Lehrer is a frequent lecturer, keynote speaker, performer and presenter at universities, conferences, art and literary centers, and book stores throughout the United States and internationally. Lehrer has been written about in scores of books and in many feature articles and reviews in print and broadcast media (see What The Critics Say under Press.)His essays on design authorship and visual literature have been widely reproduced. Lehrer is a professor at the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He received his BA from Queens College, CUNY, and an MFA from Yale University. Together with Sloan, Lehrer founded EarSay, in 1999. Over the last few years, Lehrer has been setting stories and text into animation, video, and interactive media. Animations include: Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World, and panoramic projections for 1001 Voices: a Symphony for Queens, with libretto by Judith Sloan, and music by Frank London. Lehrer‘s newest book, A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it. The 380 page, 4-color book sits at the center of a multimedia project which includes a traveling exhibition, animations, short films, and a multi-media performance which Lehrer premiered as the Keynote Speaker at the 2013 NY Art Book Fair at PS1 MoMA, and has since presented at over 50 venues throughout the United States and Canada. He is currently fleshing out one of Bleu Mobley’s 101 books into its own full-length novel, and is working on a collaborative book of visual poems with Dennis Bernstein.
Judith Sloan is an actor, audio artist, writer, radio producer, human rights activist, educator and poet whose work combines humor, pathos and a love of the absurd. For over twenty years, Sloan has been producing and presenting interdisciplinary works in audio and theater, portraying voices often ignored by the mass media. Her solo performances and plays include: Denial of the Fittest (nominated for best comedy performance at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival), Responding to Chaos, A Tattle Tale: eyewitness in Mississippi, and Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, and her new work YO MISS! developed with dramaturg Morgan Jenness. Her commentaries, plays, poetry and documentaries have aired on National Public Radio, New York Public Radio, WBEZ Chicago, PRI, BBC, and listener sponsored stations throughout the U.S. Sloan has received awards for her audio mixes, radio documentaries and work with various musicians integrating storytelling, acting, sampling and multiple languages into symphonic pieces, live performance with actors and musicians, and radio. Sloan was commissioned to write the libretto for 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America, with music by Frank London and animations by Warren Lehrer, which premiered in April 2012 by the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Her multi-layered theater work has been produced in theatres and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad including: LaMama E.T.C, The Public Theatre, The Theatre Workshop (Edinburgh, Scotland), The Smithsonian Institution, the Market Theatre (Johannesburg, SA), etc. She has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Theatre Week, The London Stage, San Francisco Chronicle, among others.
Sloan received a 2013 individual artist grant from Queens Council on the Arts to begin development on a new piece using a combination of music, sound and voice called, Anecdotal Evidence, and a 2013 New York State Council on the Arts Grant to begin developing a new work called City of Live Women and Girls with musicians Deep Singh and Frank London. Sloan was 2011 Finalist, in Missouri Review National Audio Competition in self-recorded documentary category for “Tongues Twisting”; 2009 First Place Missouri Review National Audio Competition and First Runner-Up; 2008 First Place, Missouri Review National Audio Competition; 2005 BAXten Artist In Progress Award with Carl Hancock Rux in the Artist category; 2005 Short Doc Competition from the Third Coast International Audio Festival; 2005 Special Merit Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters; 2004 Best of Indie Culture Award for her mix of Globalization on the Crossing the BLVD CD; Along with Warren Lehrer she co-wrote the Crossing the BLVDbook (W.W. Norton) and received numerous awards for the entire multi-media project including the 2004 Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society of New York, the 2003 Innovative Use of Archives Award, a Media That Matters Award; grants from Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Franklin Furnace, New York State Council on the Arts among others. Collaborators in theatre, audio, books, music and exhibitions include: Frank London, Joanna Settle, Laura Sydell, Terry Park, Robert Winn, Scott Johnson, Gogol Bordello, David Krakauer, Elise Knudson, Miwi LaLupa, Deep Singh, Chesney Snow, Bob Berky, among others.
Her articles and editorials have been published in the New York Times, the Forward, Movement Research Journal and Altnet.com. Sloan has produced and co-produced several documentaries (video and audio) including: Reclaiming A Past about her work with older European Jews and Holocaust survivors; a documentary featuring excerpts from the play A Tattle Tale: eyewitness in Mississippi was broadcast on National Public Radio. She is a member of the faculty at Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and a member of the Dramatist Guild and the Network of Ensemble Theatres. Sloan has been a guest performer and lecturer at Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Yale University, SUNY Purchase, University of Hawaii, University of Massachusetts, among others. She is the director of Cross-Cultural Dialogue Through the Arts, an arts mentorship and training program creating collaborations between disparate communities that grew out of EarSay’s Crossing the BLVD project. Sloan has been working with immigrant and refugee teenagers, many who come from war-zones, since 1998. Her work at the International High School at LaGuardia Community College in Queens garnered her the Partnership in Education Award in June 2009. In September 2009, Sloan started a new EarSay initiative Transforming Trauma Into Art, to provide music, theatre, and writing workshops to teenagers from war-zones and immigrant youth who have been displaced by natural disasters and poverty. Proceeds from the YO MISS project go to support the EarSay Youth Programs.