United States Artist

Sharlet: Revealer contributor Michael Lesy is one of the first 50 recipients of the $50,000 United States Artist Fellowships in recognition for his work in the visual arts. From the announcement: “For more than 30 years Michael Lesy (b. 1946, lives in Amherst, Massachusetts) has been using archival photographs and other ephemeral source materials to create publications that have profoundly influenced many artists, writers, and critics. By juxtaposing found images with biographies, descriptions, and short texts that he either discovered or wrote, he creates poetic, evocative essays that are almost cinematic in scope and effect.” Michael was my teacher, and I’m thrilled to see the brilliant strangeness of his work rewarded; I hope it’ll inspire more writers, journalists, and documentarians to reconsider assumptions of genre and ways of seeing. Michael has written for The Revealer about “Coffins” and a “dreamer.” His most recent books is Angel’s World. His newest book, Murder City, will be published by W.W. Norton in February. His first book, Wisconsin Death Trip, is the subject of an opera and an excellent film by James Marsh, reviewed here by Greil Marcus. Lesy teaches literary journalism at Hampshire College, where he is the creator, with photographer Jacqueline Hayden, of Living Now, a very good student journal of narrative nonfiction and documentary photography.