Sometimes all it takes is one. Twenty years ago, Lewis Hyde wrote a book called The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. At first glance, some people might have thought it was just a book of literary criticism, since it treated the works of great American writers like Whitman. But The Gift was really one of the most profound examinations of what it means to be an artist in a capitalistic society ever written. Hyde’s discussion of how the economics of scarcity can stunt the growth of creative people is, by itself, worth the price of admission. The Gift is original thinking of a high order. Since then, Hyde hasn’t published a lot, but what there is is choice. His last book, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, is about what it takes to keep cultures flexible and alive. Now he’s working on a book about “cultural commons,” a topic of moment in an age of embattled intellectual property. Happily for us, there will be an abundance of Hyde in Indianapolis this week. He will first appear as part of the Butler Visiting Writers’ Series at Butler University on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 in Room 112 of Lilly Hall. But if you miss him at Butler you’ll have a second chance to see Hyde in conversation with Stephen E. Weil at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the DeBoest Lecture Hall. Stephen Weil, by the way, is no slouch. He is the Emeritus Scholar with the Center for Education and Museum Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. He served as deputy director of the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and has written with great insight and intelligence on the role of museums in our society, most notably in the books Making Museums Matter and A Cabinet of Curiosities: Inquiries Into Museums and Their Prospects. This program is part of the IMA’s new In Conversation series. Both of these programs are free of charge.