Four artists, three writers, two playwrights, one poet,
and two composers honored

New York, March 2, 2006 -- Artists Eric Fischl, Alfred Leslie, Jules Olitski, and Nancy Spero; playwrights A.R. Gurney and Wallace Shawn; poet Frank Bidart; writers Paul Auster, David McCullough, and Lorrie Moore; and composers Martin Bresnick and Peter Lieberson have been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Secretary of the Academy, Richard Howard, will induct the twelve new members at the Academy's annual Ceremonial in May.

An annual election is held to fill vacancies in the Academy's membership of 250 American artists, architects, writers, and composers. Nominations are first voted on by discipline (Art, including architecture, Literature, Music.) The names of those candidates receiving the highest number of votes are then submitted to the entire membership. The honor of election is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in this country.

Biographies of Newly Elected Members of the Academy

Writer Paul Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947. He was educated at Columbia University. He was a lecturer at Princeton University from 1986 to 1990. Mr. Auster is the author of eleven novels: The New York Trilogy (The Locked Room, Ghosts, City of Glass), In the Country of Last Things, Moon Palace, The Music of Chance, Leviathan, Auggie Wren's Christmas Story, Mr. Vertigo, Timbuktu, The Book of Illusions, Oracle Night, and Brooklyn Follies. He has written two collections of poetry: Ground Work and Disappearances: Selected Poems and three screenplays: Smoke, Blue in the Face, and Lulu on the Bridge.

Poet Frank Bidart was born in 1939 in Bakersfield, California. He was educated at University of California, Riverside and Harvard University. He is a Professor of English at Wellesley College where he has taught since 1972. His books of poetry include Golden State; The Book of the Body; The Sacrifice, In the Western Night, Collected Poems 1965-1990; Desire, Music Like Dirt, and Star Dust: Poems. He has edited (with David Gewanter) Collected Poems, Robert Lowell.

Composer Martin Bresnick was born in New York City in 1946 and educated at the University of Hartford, Stanford University, and Akademi fur Musik, Vienna. He is Professor of Composition and coordinator of the composition department at the Yale School of Music. His works for chamber orchestra include Musica; Ants; Der Signal; Bread & Salt; Just Time; Pigs & Fishes; Follow Your Leader; Be Just; The Bucket Rider; ***; Songs of the Mouse People; and Ballade. His orchestral work includes Wir Weben, Wir Weben; One; Angelus Novus; Falling; Grace; and Encore. His instrumental and vocal work includes Lady Neil's Dumpe, DX7 for digital synthesizer TX 816 driven by Macintosh computer, and The Dream of the Lost Traveler for piano. He has also written scores for films.

Artist Eric Fischl was born in New York City in 1948. He attended the California Institute for the Arts in Los Angeles. He taught painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has had solo exhibitions at Mary Boone Gallery (held biennially since 1990), Milwaukee Art Museum, Gagosian Gallery, Edward Thorp Gallery, NY; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Art Gallery of Ontario; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; California State University, Long Beach; Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst, Denmark; Akademie der Bilden Kfinste, Vienna; Musee Cantonal des Beaux-Artes, Lausanne, Switzerland; Mary Ryan Gallery, NY; Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston, and Kunsthalle Museum, Manheim, Germany. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; St. Louis Museum of Art; Louisiana Museum of Art, Denmark, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Playwright A.R. Gurney was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1930, and was educated at Williams College and Yale University. He was Professor of Literature and Humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1960 to 1987. Mr. Gurney has written more than forty plays, including, Love in Buffalo; Scenes from an American Life; Who Killed Richard Cory; The Dining Room; What I Did Last Summer; The Perfect Party; Love Letters; Another Antigone; The Cocktail Hour; The Old Boy; Later Life; Sylvia; Overtime; Labor Day; and Ancestral Voices. He has written three novels: The Gospel According to Joe, Entertaining Strangers, and The Snow Ball.

Artist Alfred Leslie was born in 1927 in New York City. He attended New York University, Pratt Institute, and Art Students League. He has had solo exhibitions since 1951 at many venues including Tibor de Nagy Gallery; Robert Keene Gallery; David Anderson Gallery; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Youngstown State University; Jorgensen Gallery, University of Connecticut, Storrs; Worcester Art Museum; Butler Institute; Wichita Art Museum, Boca Raton Museum of Art; and the St. Louis Art Museum. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Walker Art Center; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; and the National Gallery of Art.

Composer Peter Lieberson was born in New York City in 1946. He was educated at Columbia University and Brandeis University. His chamber pieces include Concerto for Four Groups of Instruments; Concerto for Violoncello with Accompanying Trios; Tashi Quartet; Three Songs; Lalita; Chamber Variations; Feast Day; Raising the Gaze; Elegy; A Little Fanfare; King Gesar; Rumble; String Quartet; Free and Easy Wanderer; Rilke Songs. His orchestral work includes Concerto for Piano; Drala; The Gesar Legend; World's Turning; Concerto for Viola; Processional; Red Garuda; The Six Realms; and Ah. He has had commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, and Cleveland Orchestra.

Writer David McCullough was born in 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Yale University. He began his writing career in publishing at Time, Inc. He has been a scholar-in-residence or visiting professor at the University of Mexico, Wesleyan University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College. He has written The Path Between the Seas; Mornings on Horseback; The Great Bridge; The Johnstown Flood; Brave Companions; Truman; John Adams; and 1776.

Writer Lorrie Moore was born in Glens Falls, New York in 1957. She attended St. Lawrence University and Cornell University. She has written three short story collections: Self-Help, Like Life, and Birds of America. She has written two novels: Anagrams and Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? She has edited I Know Some Things: Stories about Childhood by Contemporary Writers and The Best American Short Stories, 2004.

Artist Jules Olitski was born in 1922 in Snovsk, Russia. He studied at the National Academy of Design, New York; Beaux-Arts Institute, New York; Educational Alliance, New York; Ossip Zadkine School of Sculpture, France; Academie Grande Chaumiere, Paris; and New York University. He has solo exhibitions all over the world, including, Galerie Huit, Paris; Iolas Gallery, NY; French & Co., NY; Bennington College, VT; Galleria Santacroce, Florence; Kasmin Ltd., London; Knoedler Contemporary Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; University of Miami, Coral Gables; Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, NY and Berlin; Long Fine Art, NY; Andre Emmerich Gallery, NY; Gallery Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL, (retrospective); Portland Museum, ME; Thorne-Sagendorpf Art Gallery, NH; Marianne Friedland Gallery, Toronto; Annandale Gallery, Sidney, Australia; Butler Institute of American Art, OH; Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London; and Knoedler & Company, NY. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Princeton University Art Museum; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard; Art Institute of Chicago; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and The Tate Gallery, London.

Writer Wallace Shawn was born in New York City in 1943. He was educated at Harvard College and Oxford College. His plays include Four Meals in May, The Family Play, The Hotel Play, Our Late Night, Marie and Bruce, My Dinner with Andre, The Mandrake (translation/adaptation), Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever, and The Designated Mourner.

Artist Nancy Spero was born in 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio. She studied at University of Colorado, Boulder; School of Art Institute of Chicago, and Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She has been a visiting artist at Sacramento State University, California, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. She has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Breteau, Paris; Codex Artaud, A.I.R. Gallery, NY; Marianne Deson Gallery, Chicago, 1977; Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Riverside Studios, London; Powerhouse Gallery, Montreal; Lawrence Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie-Mellon University, College of Fine Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; ''Continuum,'' Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C; and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Her work is in the permanent collections of Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Art Institute of Chicago; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Modern Art; University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.