Due to predicted inclement weather in the Westport area for Monday, February 27, and Tuesday, February 28, the Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts with renowned artist and musician Richard Butler is being postponed.
The lecture, originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 28, will now be held Saturday, April 1, at 7 pm in the Library’s Trefz Forum. It will still feature Butler in person and in conversation with Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Chris Frantz, and all currently held tickets will be honored for the rescheduled date and time.
With the rescheduling, the Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts will now be held in conjunction with VersoFest 2023, The Westport Library’s annual music and media festival being held March 30 through April 2.
The April 1 lineup for VersoFest 2023 will now feature Butler, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer Frantz, and legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, reuniting three of rock’s seminal figures, all of whom rose to international prominence in the late 1970s and 80s. Lillywhite will deliver his festival keynote, a conversation with Frantz, on Saturday, April 1, at 1 pm.
The Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts with Butler will replace the previously scheduled laser light show at VersoFest 2023. The laser light show will be rescheduled for a later date.
“While we’re disappointed Richard won’t be able to join us as planned on February 28, we’re elated that he can be here April 1, and that Chris is able to reschedule as well,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “First and foremost, we want to ensure the safety of Richard, Chris, and all who would be traveling to the Library on a potentially snowy and icy evening. Looking ahead, this creates a truly incredible experience, to have Richard join our already incredible VersoFest lineup.”
Butler rose to international fame with the Psychedelic Furs, with the Furs emerging as one of London’s leading post-punk bands in the late 70s. Their self-titled debut, produced by Lillywhite, was Top 20 on the UK Albums Chart, and their run of success continued with six subsequent albums released between 1981 and 1991, including Talk Talk Talk and Forever Now.
Butler put his painting on the backburner to accommodate the Furs’ record promotion and worldwide touring, returning to his first love when the band took an extended hiatus in the early 90s. Since then, he’s kept at it and found a balance between the two endeavors.
With his daughter as his muse, Butler produces expressionistic portraits of female subjects who he said serve as ciphers for himself, smudging, distorting, and overlaying patterns onto his models’ faces to create what has been described as “dynamic compositions that are at once naturalistic and hallucinatory.”
“In a way,” said Butler, “I think all of my paintings are self-portraits in that, though the face I am painting may not be my own, the feeling I get back from the painting is certainly an important element of my own psyche.”
Butler’s work has been featured worldwide, with the artist having launched exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Berlin, and at other prestigious galleries across the globe.
Despite the shift in artistic expression, Butler has continued to create music with several side projects. He also released a solo album in 2006, and in 2020 he put out the first new Psychedelic Furs album in nearly 30 years, which was met with international chart success and rave reviews from both fans and critics alike.
Past Malloy Lecture programs have included Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; distinguished playwright Arthur Miller; artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; musicians Joshua Bell and Frederic Chiu; U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins; Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation; author Joyce Carol Oates; cartoonist Roz Chast; actor Christopher Plummer; stage, film, and theater star John Lithgow; preeminent classical dancer Jacques d'Amboise; music legend Clive Davis; author Salman Rushdie; Falsettos: In Conversation; Bernstein on Broadway; playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith; and Tony Award-winning actress Kelli O’Hara in conversation with renowned American theater director Bartlett Sher.
The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is made possible by a generous contribution from Westport artist Susan Malloy. The Westport Library created the lecture series in 2002 as a free, public discussion by an individual who has had a significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.