|Dimensions||1 x 1 x 1 in|
The Portrait Series- a quartet of men. By Warren Lehrer
The Portrait Series documents and portrays eccentric Americans who straddle the wobbly line between brilliance and madness. These stoop philosophers, sit-down comedians, and off-the-cuff bards, puncture the predictability of everyday life. Each volume is proportional in size to a standing human figure, with a photographic portrait of the subject on the front cover; a portrait of them from the back on the back; and inside, the guts—life stories and perspectives told in short stories, vignettes and extended soliloquies. Expressive but very readable typographic/pictorial settings attempt to capture the shape of thought and reunite voice with the printed page. Together, they challenge traditional notions of madness, heroism, masculinity, and what a book can be.
The Portrait Series: a quartet of men Written and designed by Warren Lehrer.
Four book suite, each 6.5” x 9.75”, total 1020 pages.
Four color covers, black and white interiors.
The subjects in his four books are:
• Brother Blue, an ordained minister who holds degrees from Harvard and Yale and is known as the official storyteller of Boston. “Brother Blue is to storytelling what John Coltrane is to jazz,” and one of the first African-American officers in the U.S. Army in World War II.
• Claude Debs, the grandson of Eugene V. Debs, who was orphaned, then adopted by a French diplomat. Sexually abused, Claude ran away at the age of 13. By the time he was 40, he had earned six degrees and “lived the life of a bohemian painter, entrepreneur, film maker, fashion photographer, spy, doctor, philanthropist, homeless person, and a successful businessman,” Mr. Lehrer wrote. “Claude has always been an inventor, a romantic, a schemer, and the hardest worker as well as the most sensuous and oversexed man I’ve ever met.”
• Nicky D, from L.I.C, a 72-year-old retired dockworker, whom Mr. Lehrer describes as “hard-boiled and soft-hearted,” full of advice, and offering “an ongoing stream of barbed commentary, argument, reminiscences, and philosophy.”
• Charlie, a gifted musician who has spent over half of his 30 years in and out of mental institutions. – Collectively, they make up a riveting group of eccentrics, people Mr. Lehrer refers to as “the stoop philosophers, sit-down comedians, and off-the-cuff bards who puncture the predictability of everyday life.
“ What the critics say: “Now the times are beginning to catch up to him… While Mr. Lehrer’s early books can seem as boisterous as a video arcade—one does not read them so much as attend their performance—”The Portrait Series” shows more typographic restraint. It also shamelessly offers the pleasures of voyeurism all good books afford. Who knows? Mr. Lehrer may finally have met the times halfway.” The New York Times Book Review Julie Lasky
“Lehrer is a 21st century oral history, new journalism mastermind. Studs Terkel in cyberspace. More visceral than most biographies, The Portrait Series is an extraordinary set of books that allows you to physically hold the subjects in your hand as you read their eccentric, strange, dangerous and amazing stories.” City In Exile, WBAI Matthew Finch