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The New School Arts Festival Presents Noir

Friday thru Friday, April 1–8

The New School Arts Festival is a first—a cultural showcase reflecting the artistic and intellectual energy of the entire university. Each festival will explore a single theme by presenting works from genres with an artistic home at The New School, including design, drama, film, literature, music, and critical theory.  Each festival will feature renowned guest artists and theorists, discussion of contemporary criticism, and original work created by New School students and presented at festival events all around campus.

The theme of our first arts festival is Noir, a cinematic style of shadowy expressiveness that had its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s.  Coined by a French critic in 1946, the term film noir refers to movies depicting a morally ambiguous world of cynical private eyes, lonely gangsters, and femme fatales.  Since then, the influence of noir has been felt in areas ranging from fashion design to fine art, graphic art to fiction, suggesting the alienation and disorientation of modernism through stark silhouettes, sexual frankness, stylized emotion, and the absence of sentimentality.  Join The New School community in an exploration of noir in a festival of iconic films, hard-boiled storytelling, graphic art, and illustration inspired by this uniquely 20th century style. 

The event features renowned artists and critics Frances McDormand, Todd Haynes, Marc Ribot, Guy Maddin, Mary Gaitskill, Robert Pinsky, Greil Marcus, Luc Sante, Terry Teachout, Paul Moravec, Frank Bidart, Molly Haskell, Ben Katchor and more, as well as new works created by the New School community.

"The Arts Festival reflects the range of artistic and intellectual activity at The New School," said New School President David E. Van Zandt. "What better theme to launch this first event than Noir—a genre that has influenced a number of the arts, from music to literature, film, and the fine and graphic arts."

The festival was organized by James Miller, chair of liberal studies at The New School for Social Research; Robert Lupone, director of The New School for Drama; and Robert Polito, director of The New School Writing Program.

The New School Arts Festival is made possible by generous support from the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Dorothy H. Hirshon Film Festival, the Graduate Writing Program, the Riggio Honors Program: Writing & Democracy, the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons, and CityArts.