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Lectures & Literary Lectures & Literary Programs

For reservations, call 212.847.9740 or email

Exhibitions Exhibition-Related Lectures & Symposia

Artist Talk with Marja Helander

Tuesday, July 29, 6:30 pm

DuodjiFinnish-Sámi artist Marja Helander and American artist Janet Biggs discuss Helander’s artistic practices and her 2001 photographic series Modern Nomads, currently on view in Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People.

About Marja Helander

Marja Helander (b. 1965) is a Finnish Sámi photographer. Helander, who grew up in urban Helsinki, uses her dual heritage as inspiration for many of her works. In the series Modern Nomads, Helander playfully illustrates the contrast between her modern, city life and her Sámi heritage.

About Janet Biggs

Janet Biggs is an American artist, known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Biggs has captured such events as kayaks performing a synchronized ballet in Arctic waters, sulfur miners inside an active volcano, and a camel caravan crossing the Taklamakan desert of Western China.

Biggs received her undergraduate degree from Moore College of Art, and pursued graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design. She is represented by CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC, and Galerie Anita Beckers (Blink Video Art), Frankfurt, Germany.

Exhibition-related educational programs have been supported in part by Scandinavian Seminar and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York. Funding for artist travel was received from Frame Visual Arts Finland.

See also Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People in EXHIBITIONS section.

The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California
Book Talk with Karin Sveen

Monday, October 27, 6:30 pm

Norwegian writer Karin Sveen, author of The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California (University of California Press, 2014), tells the story of a poor Norwegian farm boy who achieves the American dream: Peder Sather was living on a farm in a remote corner of Norway when he immigrated to the U.S. in 1832 and made a large fortune that he used to found the University of California, Berkeley.

The Immigrant and the University will be available for signing and purchase after the program.

About the book

Peder Sather was a scribe before he emigrated from Norway to New York in 1832. There, he worked as a servant and a clerk at a lottery office before opening an exchange brokerage. During the gold rush, he moved to San Francisco to help establish the banking house of Drexel, Sather & Church on Montgomery Street. Sather was a founder and a liberal benefactor of the University of California, Berkeley, where he is memorialized by the Sather Gate and Sather Tower (the Campanile), three endowed professorships, and more recently the Peder Sather Center for Advanced Study.

Karin Sveen, one of Norway’s most accomplished writers, pieces together a story yet untold – a beautifully crafted biography based on her dedicated search for information. The result gives readers a look at the life of a successful entrepreneur and a leading patron of California who engaged in all levels of public education; supported Abraham Lincoln; and worked to give emancipated slaves housing, schooling, and employment after the Civil War. Sather’s legacy, vivid persona, and the frontier city of his time are brought to life with interesting anecdotes of many famous people – General William T. Sherman, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, and above all, his close friend Anthony J. Drexel, legendary Philadelphia financier and one of the founders of Wall Street.

About the author

Karin Sveen is a Norwegian poet, novelist, and essayist. She was awarded the Norsk språkpris (Norwegian Language Prize) in 2007.

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