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Philippe Petit and Tom Wool

In The Shadow of Everest

Monday, June 14, 2010
8:00 PM–9:30 PM

Photographer Tom Wool marks his exhibition In the Shadow of Everest by engaging with celebrated high wire artist Philippe Petit in a freewheeling conversation that will range from the experience of heights and altitude, to Tibet, education, the nature of creativity and motivation.
Philippe Petit, universal poet laureate of the high wire, was born in France and took his first steps on the wire at age 16. He learned everything by himself while being expelled from five different schools. Performing on five continents, he taught himself Spanish, German, Russian and English, and developed a keen appreciation for architecture and engineering. Using his wire to extend the boundaries of theater, music, writing, poetry and drawing, he has become an inimitable High Wire Artist. On August 7, 1974, Philippe accomplished what may be the most astounding “artistic crime” of all time. He walked a high wire illegally stretched between the rooftops of the Twin Towers of the World Center, making eight crossings over the course of an hour, a quarter mile above the sidewalks of New York. Philippe’s book, To Reach The Clouds (reissued in paperback as Man On Wire), whichrecounts that adventure has been adapted to the stage and is the subject of the Academy Award-wining documentary film, Man on Wire.
In the 35 years since the World Trade Center walk, Philippe has performed on the high wire more than 80 times around the world including Paris, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Jerusalem and New York City where he has been an Artist-In-Residence at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine since 1982. Philippe is the recipient of the first Action Maverick Award, theNew York Historical Society Awardas well as the prestigious James Parks Morton Interfaith Award; and, he was recently made Chevalier des Arts & des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
In addition to walking the high wire, Philippe gives lectures and workshops on creativity and motivation. He is the author of seven books, currently putting the finishing touches on his eighth: A Square Peg. He is also hard at work on a new one-man stage show, “Wireless! Philippe Petit Down to Earth.” When he’s not traveling, Philippe shares his time between New York City and a small hideaway in the Catskills.

Tom Wool was born in London in 1961, and grew up in the South of France and England. After completing his studies,Wool worked briefly as a photographer’s assistant in Italy before embarking on a career as afashion photographer that lasted nearly two decades.Wool was always fascinated by cultural diversity, people and how they are affected by their environments, which eventually inspired him to work on his own personal projects. In the past few years,often under theauspices of NGOs,he has traveled to places such as Bolivia, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Morocco, Tanzania and Venezuelafocusing onhumanitarian concerns.Tom Wool currently lives and works in New York City
Admission is complimentary for RMA member at the Friend level and higher. Each membership is granted up to two complimentary tickets, which are available on a first come, first served basis. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Please call the Box Office at 212.620.5000, ext. 344 to reserve your seats.