The best artist talks are the ones with a smart, engaging artist who can tell stories about their work and make the audience really care about the connections they're explaining. That can happen in a packed house, as in last week's R.H. Quaytman talk at Watkins, or in a more intimate setting, as in 2012's William Pope.L talk at Austin Peay. But the underlying rule for a successful artist talk might be this: The artist has to be able to spin a good yarn. Mike Calway-Fagen, who is speaking at Watkins at noon on Friday, has that down to a science. It doesn't hurt that the work he talks about is captivating in itself — his collages are often both autobiographical and weird, his sculptures hilarious and sad. And the talk he has planned deals with appropriating photography to mean something entirely different — a thought-provoking topic that Calway-Fagen will undoubtedly unpack with ferocity.
The talk is titled "The devil inside the thing is the devil outside the thing: Photography reinvented our collective memory and our ability to discern fact from fiction." More information at MikeCalway-Fagen.com.