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Art exhibition pays tribute to Lafayette graduate’s “Book of Delights”

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“Passing Bittersweet: A Tribute to Ross Gay’s ‘The Book of Delights,’” will be on view Jan. 9 to Feb. 9 in the Williams Center Gallery at the Williams Center for the Arts, 317 Hamilton St., Easton.

There will be a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, with a performance by Taller Workshop/Nestor Gil. Guest Curator Elizabeth Johnson will give a curator’s talk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in room 108 of the Williams Center for the Arts, 317 Hamilton St., Easton.

A closing reception, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, will feature a performance by Taller Workshop/Nestor Gil and readings. The exhibition, reception, and related events are free and open to the public.

“Passing Bittersweet” features work that embodies ideas garnered from reading Lafayette alumnus Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights.” His chatty, humorous, open-ended essays were culled from a year of daily asking himself: “What delights me?”

Self-study and identity merge with the places, people, books and routines that make Ross Gay happy. From inside what he calls “intense fleeting attentions,” Gay maintains a practice of acknowledging what is beautiful in the midst of the brutal.

The 25 artists of Passing Bittersweet were chosen not because they illustrate Gay’s delights or process, but because their personal delights find aesthetic, physical ways to reframe negativity. The gathered artworks echo Gay’s conviction that numberless, small, positive human actions and transactions dispel what is dark, lonely, and unjust.

“Passing Bittersweet” honors Ross Gay, “The Book of Delights,” and artists who validate vulnerable, peripheral, and oft-overlooked treasures of common experience.


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