‘Moby-Dick’ scholar to join artist of life-size whale in virtual talk on Friday

photo by: Lawrence Arts Center

Jos Sances' "Or, The Whale"

The artist of a life-size scratchboard whale and a “Moby-Dick” scholar will come together in a virtual conversation Friday night through the Lawrence Arts Center.

Jos Sances’ piece “Or, The Whale” currently occupies an entire wall of the art center’s large gallery. In August, the Journal-World interviewed Sances about his piece, which is 51-feet-long and depicts the history of American capitalism. It took Sances eight months to make, and it portrays topics such as mining, slavery, women’s suffrage, railroads and the gold rush, excessive wealth, poverty and more.

Sances will be joined Friday at 5 p.m. by University of Kansas Professor Emerita and Herman Melville scholar Elizabeth Schultz. Schultz is one of the world’s foremost scholars on Melville and his famous novel, “Moby-Dick.” She is a member of the Melville Society, has curated numerous “Moby-Dick” illustration exhibits and was featured in a segment of The Learning Channel’s “Great Books Series” about the novel, according to her biography on KU’s website.

In his interview with the Journal-World, Sances said his piece is named after the subtitle of “Moby-Dick,” and that it was after reading an analysis of the novel by C.L.R. James that he came to view the titular whale as representing capitalism playing itself out in the world.

In the free Friday event, Sances and Schultz will explore the themes represented in the artwork and its connections to “Moby-Dick.” The event will begin at 5 p.m. and can be viewed on the Lawrence Arts Center’s website under the event titled “A Whale of An Art Talk: Jos Sances and Elizabeth Schultz LIVE.”

photo by: Lawrence Arts Center

A closer look at the images of the history of American capitalism displayed within the body of Jos Sances’ “Or, The Whale”


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