Harman Writer-In-Residence, Spring 2005
Ben Katchor’s picture-stories, including “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer”; “The Jew of New York”; “The Cardboard Valise”; and “Hotel & Farm,” have been appearing in newspapers and magazines around the country for more than a decade. In New York they can be read each week in the English-language Forward and monthly in Metropolis magazine. His drawings also appear regularly in The New Yorker.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Brooklyn College and the School of Visual Arts. In 1994, he collaborated with producer David Isay on a series of radio dramas for the National Public Radio based on his Julius Knipl strip. In 1999, he wrote the libretto and designed the scenery for an opera, “The Carbon Copy Building,” with music by Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang of Bang on a Can. The opera won an Obie Award for Best New American Production of 2000. An exhibition of his work, entitled “Ben Katchor: Picture Stories,” was shown at the Jewish Museum in New York City in September 2001. Most recently, he collaborated with musician Mark Mulcahy on a new musical theater production, “The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island,” which premiered at The Kitchen in New York City in March 2004.
Mr. Katchor’s awards include a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1995) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2000). In 2002, he was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in Visual Arts at The American Academy in Berlin. Four collections of his strips have been published: “Cheap Novelties, The Pleasures of Urban Decay”; “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer”; “The Jew of New York”; and “The Beauty Supply District.” (December 2004).
“I’ve tried to imbue the workings of the market economy, as I observe them or imagine them to be, with a poetic logic.”
—Man with Palm
Ben Katchor’s most recent theater projects include the libretto and drawings for A Checkroom Romance (2009) and the revival of The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island or, the Friends of Dr. Rushower (2008). In 2006, Katchor was awarded a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library.
Katchor’s The Jew of New York has been recently translated into dutch, spanish and french. His work has appeared in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction: Cartoons and True Stories (2006) and Kramers Ergot 7 (2008). The Dairy Restaurant will be published in 2010. (June 2009).