i am sure that everyone here realizes by now that I am the ringer. Usually the ringer is a hidden expert, such as a well trained soprano, who sneaks into a school chorus and sings like an angel, and I am certainly not that, but instead I am here to hold down the end of this lecture series, and attempt to leave you with the pleasurable experience of looking at pictures, as some sort of antidote to all the spoken words that this class has depended upon. I have ended up here today because of a deep failing on my part, which manifests itself with my inability to keep my mouth shut. At a pleasant lunch one day last year at the President’s office Rick Levin and Tony Kronman, two of the lecturers in this series, were outlining their proposed DeVane lecture series to accompany the University’s Tercentennial celebration. They rolled off all the names of the distinguished Yale faculty members who would speak, and when they finished I couldn’t help pointing out that there wasn’t an artist among them, except for the presence of David Gelertner, and even he, I worried, would speak about the computer and democracy instead of art and democracy. My comment resulted, of course, in Tony and Rick calling me up a day or two later with an invitation to join the series.
" In most places it wouldn’t be surprising to find art left out of an academic discourse. Whenever curriculums are planned, and courses of study are laid out, visual art and its audio sibling music always hover at the fringes, ready to be cut or eliminated if the budget becomes tight. At Yale, however, this should never be the case, because in this institution we all believe that the pursuit and study of art are central to our examination of the world; art doesn’t hover at the fringes here, but instead shines brightly at the center of all our activities. Pictures, of course, have vital importance in the realm of art. This lecture series is about democracy, and the challenge for me is to attempt to describe the role of pictures in relation to this social construct. I have chosen pictures as the central subject because I have spent all my working days with them- making them, fixing them, wrecking them and reproducing them, and now I had been called upon to back up my love of these visual objects by making a compelling case for their importance in our society ".