A memoir by Brian H. Peterson, The Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum has just been released. A Meet-the-Author event will be held Tuesday, July 7 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion. The Smile at the Heart of Things: Essays and Life Stories is copublished by the Michener and Tell Me Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
Peterson has been a musician, visual artist, scholar, and museum curator. He draws on experiences from each of these careers to connect his own search for growth and meaning with larger issues of creativity and the human spirit. He shares stories from his own life and those of artists, friends, and family members to help address such questions as: What are the essential ingredients of a creative life? How does an artist become an artist? Can art and religion find common ground? What does it mean to be an individual, and as individuals, can we be separate and singular as well as communal and connected?
In addition to this collection of essays, journal entries, and personal reflections, Peterson has written eight books on American art and artists. He also has had critical writing published in the Los Angeles Times, American Arts Quarterly, Photo Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. His photography hangs in museum collections around the country, and he has had more than 30 solo exhibitions.
The book—a wry, thought-provoking memoir about art, spirituality, family, loss, and love—includes 47 color and black-and-white illustrations by such well-known artists as Thomas Eakins, Charles Willson Peale, Minor White, and Emmet Gowin, and will be available for purchase in the Museum Gift Shop.