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Visionaries Series: Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner

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Photo: Mike Yarish

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Matthew Weiner, the series creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed drama Mad Men, will be featured as this year’s Visionary speaker. The Stuart Regen Visionaries Series at the New Museum, supported by the Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund, honors leading international thinkers in the fields of art, architecture, design, and related disciplines of contemporary culture. Now in its fifth season, the annual series spotlights innovators who shape intellectual life and define the future of culture. Weiner will be in conversation with prize-winning author A.M. Homes on Friday September 27 at 7 p.m. in the New Museum Theater.

The Visionaries Series marks a commitment by the New Museum to recognize and support emerging ideas and practices, and to consider their effects on art and culture at large. Prior Visionaries include legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, who inaugurated this signature program (2009), Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia (2010), Alice Waters, chef, author, activist, and proprietor of Chez Panisse Restaurant (2011), and artist and architect Maya Lin (2012).

Mad Men belongs to and defines a remarkable decade in cable drama programming. When it first premiered in 2007, it was instantly seen to be part of an emerging tradition that includes shows like The Wire, Deadwood, and The Sopranos. Like its predecessors, Mad Men was immediately distinguished by its setting, characters, and the quality of its writing. Set in New York in the 1960s, the show has the extraordinary ability to vividly recreate that decade even while remaining bracingly contemporary.

“Mad Men cuts like a razor, but its humanitarian impulses lift the show above the never-ending, brutal cycles of competition,” said Richard Flood, Director of Special Projects and Curator at Large, New Museum. “Matthew Weiner has created something that has raised television’s standard for quality and invention. Mad Men is a true, visionary accomplishment, one that transcends genre and suggests a new, expanded definition of telenovela because ‘series’ just isn’t adequate.”

Mad Men is one of television’s most acclaimed programs, and joined an elite group in 2011 when it became only the fourth drama to be awarded four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Additional honors for the series include three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Drama Series, a Peabody Award, three Producers Guild Awards, four Writers Guild Awards, three Directors Guild Award nominations, and it has been named one of AFI’s Top 10 Outstanding Television Programs for five years running.

A.M. Homes has won acclaim as one of the most daring voices of her generation, renowned for her powerful imagination, provocative voice, and for the emotional intensity of her storytelling. “Homes writes dangerous fiction where humor is always present, like a noose at a hanging. Her exploration of the American dream can be, like Mad Men’s, both excruciating and exhilarating,” said Flood. Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013, Homes’s first work of fiction in six years, May We Be Forgiven, digs deeply into the themes of the American family. She is the author of novels, short stories, and the best selling memoir The Mistress’s Daughter, and has written for film and television.

About Matthew Weiner
Since the series premiere of Mad Men in 2007, Weiner has been nominated for a total of eleven Emmys for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. In 2012, Weiner was awarded the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, which is given annually to television professionals who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence, and vision in the process of creating television programming. Weiner is in post-production on his feature film You Are Here, which he wrote and directed. Starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler, the film will have its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Prior to Mad Men, Weiner served as an executive producer and writer on The Sopranos, and with the producing team won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2004 and 2006. Before working on The Sopranos, Weiner wrote for various television series, including The Naked Truth, Becker, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Born in Baltimore, Weiner studied philosophy, literature, and history at Wesleyan University. He earned his MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. Weiner lives in Los Angeles with his wife, architect Linda Brettler, and their four sons.

About A.M. Homes
A.M. Homes is the author of the memoir The Mistress’s Daughter and the novels May We Be Forgiven, This Book Will Change Your Life, Music for Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the story collections The Safety of Objects and Things You Should Know. The recipient of numerous awards, she has published fiction and essays in the New Yorker, Granta, Harpers, McSweeney’s, One Story, the New York Times, and Vanity Fair, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in New York City.

Sponsors

The Visionaries Series is made possible by the Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund, established by a gift from Barbara Gladstone in honor of her son, Stuart Regen. Additional support for the Visionaries Series is provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.

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