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Portraits of Perception: The Human Face

Friday, June 12, 2009
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

What makes Mona Lisa’s smile so intriguing? What makes Picasso’s portraits so compelling? Kurt Andersen hosts artists Chuck Close and Devorah Sperber, with neuroscientists Margaret Livingstone, Chris Tyler and Ken Nakayama, as they examine the power of brain imaging technology to illuminate how we perceive the most intimate yet public of features, the human face.


Kurt AndersenAuthor, Editor, Radio Host

Kurt Andersen is the author of two novels, the critically acclaimed bestsellers Heyday and Turn of the Century. His forthcoming book is called Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America. He is also host and co-creator of the Peabody Award-winning public radio program Studio 360.

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Chuck CloseArtist

Chuck Close is a visual artist noted for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face, and is best known for his large-scale, photo-based portrait paintings. He has also participated in nearly 800 group exhibitions. In 1988, Close was paralyzed following a rare spinal artery collapse; he continues to paint using a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm.

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Christopher W. TylerNeuroscientist, Art Analyst

Christopher Tyler has spent his research career exploring how the eyes and brain work together to produce meaningful vision.

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Devorah SperberArtist

Interested in the links between art, science, and technology through the ages, New York artist Devorah Sperber’s work addresses the way the brain processes visual information versus the way we think we see.

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Ken NakayamaPsychologist

Ken Nakayama received his B.A. in Psychology from the Haverford College in 1962 and his PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1967. For almost twenty years, he was at the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco.

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Margaret S. LivingstoneNeurobiologist, Author

Margaret S. Livingstone is best known for her work on visual processing, which has led to a deeper understanding of how we see color, motion, and depth, and how these processes are involved in generating percepts of objects as distinct from their background.

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