The Artist and the Book | Dario Robleto in Conversation with Mimi Swartz

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Artists have long used books as tools for education and inspiration. Increasingly, contemporary artists involve books and research in their artistic practice, examining the past and creating new narratives. Libraries and archives, as entities of discourse, have also made their way into the mix, allowing for nuanced examinations of the ways in which historical repositories are interpreted and reframed.

In this conversation, artist Dario Robleto and writer Mimi Swartz discuss how books, research, and libraries are protagonists in the art world today. The talk explores what books and research mean for contemporary practitioners.

Plan Your Visit
Admission is free. The conversation takes place in the Hirsch Library reading room on the lower level of the Beck Building. On Thursdays, the Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with free general admission.

About the Speakers
Dario Robleto and Mimi Swartz, both based in Houston, have a long-standing relationship. One of their mutual interests is the human heart, which culminated in Robleto’s 2017 suite of prints The First Time, the Heart (A Portrait of Life, 1854–1913) and Swartz’s 2018 book Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart.

Robleto has been featured in “Radiolab,” Krista Tippett’s “On Being,” and the New York Times, among other media. He has worked as a research consultant to the TV series Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and his exhibition The Heart’s Knowledge: Science and Empathy in the Art of Dario Robleto is on view through July 9, 2023, at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.

Swartz is an executive editor of Texas Monthly and co-author of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron. Her work has appeared in publications including Esquire, National Geographic, the New Yorker, Slate, and Vanity Fair, and her op-ed pieces run regularly in the New York Times.

This program receives generous funding from Judy and Scott Nyquist.

General admission to the MFAH is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell Oil Company.

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive generous support from Macey and Harry Reasoner; the Claire and Theodore Morse Foundation; and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Endowment funds are provided by the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; Windgate Foundation; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate; the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Virginia and Ira Jackson; the Favrot Fund; CFP Foundation; Neiman Marcus Youth Arts Education; gifts in memory of John Wynne; gifts in memory of Peter Lotz; and gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.


Audrey Jones Beck Building
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
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