Warren Lehrer

I am a writer, designer and book artist. I make work at the intersection of writing and visual art. My work explores the vagaries and luminescence of character, the relationships between social structures and the individual, and the pathos and absurdity of life. My process involves deep engagement with individuals and communities, and results in projects that bridge reportage and expressionism. Most of my books attempt to capture the shape of thought and reunite the oral traditions of storytelling with the printed page through a form of visual writing that uses typography and images as integral components of composition. My books often connect to larger multi-media projects that include performance, audio, animation/short films, exhibition and installation. While some of my books are fictional (A Life In Books, i mean you know, GRRRHHHH, French Fries), and others are documentary (The Portrait Series, versations, Crossing the BLVD), almost all portray multiple perspectives within a given sphere or community, be it within a fast food joint, a prison system, the mental health industry, prehistoric earth, or a multi-ethnic neighborhood. While my work has evolved through the years, and each project requires different solutions, approaches, and media, there continues to be a core interest in exploring and portraying otherwise uncelebrated, marginalized individuals. I alternate between working on solo and collaborative projects. I see the book as a time-based medium and as an art/literary object that creates experience for readers.

Warren Lehrer is an artist and writer 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; Five Oceans in a Teaspoon with Dennis J Bernstein; Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a New America with Judith Sloan; The Portrait Series: a quartet of men (four book series); GRRRHHHHH: a study of social patterns with Sandra Brownlee and Dennis Bernstein; FRENCH FRIES with Dennis Bernstein; i mean you know, and versations. Awards include: The Brendan Gill Prize, IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year, Innovative Use of Archives Award, International Book Award for Best New Fiction, three AIGA Book Awards, Two Society for Typographic Arts Awards and Type Directors Club Awards, a Media That Matters Award, grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, NYFA, Rockefeller, Ford, and Greenwall Foundations. He is a 2016 Honoree of the Center for Book Arts, a 2019 Ladislav Sutnar Prize Lifetime Achievement Laureate, and 2020 NYFA Artist Fellow. His books are in many collections including MoMA, The Getty Museum, Tate Gallery and Georges Pompidou Centre. Lehrer is a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author MFA program at SVA, Professor Emeritus at SUNY Purchase, and co-founder and Artistic Director of EarSay, a non-profit arts organization in Queens, NY.

Warren Lehrer’s Website

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