Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals
November 1, 2014–February 16, 2015
Heinz Galleries, Carnegie Museum of Art
Press Preview with Duane Michals and Linda Benedict-Jones
October 31, 9:30–12 p.m.
To register, please email Jonathan Gaugler – firstname.lastname@example.org
A full suite of programming accompanies the exhibition. Please see below for the schedule.
High resolution images are available for download.
Pittsburgh, PA—Opening November 1, 2014, at Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals is the definitive retrospective and the largest-ever presentation of this innovative artist’s work, and is organized by Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography at CMOA. Drawing from select loans and the museum’s holdings, which constitute the largest single collection of Michals’s output, and spanning six decades, the works in Storyteller include classic sequences from the early 1970s as well as rarely seen images from later in his career.
Duane Michals; A Letter from My Father, 1960–1975; Gelatin silver print with hand-applied text; The Henry L. Hillman Fund; Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Born in 1932 and raised in a steelworker family in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Michals broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography in the 1960s when he added handwritten messages and poems to prints, produced multi-image narrative sequences, and experimented with double and triple exposures. His work was poignant, provocative, and sometimes unabashedly sentimental, flying in the face of the dominant photographic aesthetics of the time.
Storyteller unfolds in thematic groupings that range from portraiture to meditations on the mind’s interior world; from childhood and imagination to desire and death. Michals’s love of two very different cities, Pittsburgh and Paris, is evident in sections exploring the beauty, quirks, and particularities of these places. He has riffed on, critiqued, and crossed paths with countless artists, including René Magritte, Cindy Sherman, Joseph Cornell, Robert Frank, Andreas Gursky, Andy Warhol, and others, and a section of the exhibition brings to light the admiration and acerbic wit in Michals’s engagements with other creative minds.
“The exhibition is designed to acquaint the visitor with the many themes that Michals explored over more than half a century,” says curator of photography Linda Benedict-Jones. “Well known sequences such as Paradise Regained and Chance Meeting greet the viewer first, followed by engaging and sometimes surprising Children’s Stories. A section called The Mind’s Eye shows Michals’s absorption with photographing things that cannot actually be seen, such as A Man Going to Heaven or The Human Condition. We could not present Storyteller chronologically, because Michals revisits themes often. One theme, Painted Expression, shows how, in two distinct periods of his life—in the early 1980s and again in 2012—Michals has picked up a brush to apply oil paint to both black-and-white photographic prints as well as most recently to 19th century tintypes, resulting in unique, one-of-a-kind photographic works. His creative energy is boundless and readily apparent when seen in a large retrospective display.”
Storyteller also touches upon Michals’s extensive portfolio of commercial photography and portraiture, which spans several decades, and includes assignments for Neiman Marcus, Esquire, Vogue, and Gap, as well as commissioned portraits of such figures as Nancy Reagan, Sting, and Willem de Kooning.
CMOA, a fixture in Michals’s artistic upbringing, has acquired 139 of his works, ranging from his earliest images made in Russia in 1958 to hand-painted tintypes that he began creating in 2012. Michals, in turn, has always felt an attachment to Pittsburgh, a subject of many of his photographs, and of two books, the sequence The House I Once Called Home (2003) and the book-length A Pittsburgh Poem (2013). Lending institutions to Storyteller include Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Musée des Beaux Arts (Montreal), High Museum of Art (Atlanta), and Museum of Modern Art (New York). Even longtime admirers of the artist may be unfamiliar with several of his bodies of work, and an examination of this full range is long overdue: while Michals has been championed in several solo exhibitions throughout Europe in the past decade, this is his first major museum exhibition in the United States since 1992.
Presented alongside Storyteller will be the exhibition Duane Michals: Collector, which highlights works from Michals’s private art collection that are promised gifts to the museum. The eclectic array of objects, ranging from 1799 to 1999, and from Francisco de Goya to André Kertész to Mark Tansey, will be united by Michals’s unique take on the artists, the artworks, and their influence on his own practice. Organized by associate curator of fine arts Amanda Zehnder, Duane Michals: Collector will further contextualize his work from an unusually personal perspective.
Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals represents a refreshing, much-needed reexamination of a historically significant photographer. Michals’s pioneering photography infused the medium with a personal, critical approach that translates universally. In an art world that feels at times jaded and detached, his images retain the same moving, affecting impact that they commanded decades ago.
Public Opening and Book Signing
11/1/2014, 1–3 p.m.
Storyteller opens to the public at noon on November 1. From 1–3 p.m., Duane Michals will sign books, including the exhibition catalogue and his new book, ABCDuane: A Duane Michals Primer, both available from the new CMOA Design Store.
Coffee with the Curator: Telling the Story of the Storyteller
11/10/2014, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Carnegie Café, CMOA Theater
$35 ($28 members)
10:30–11 a.m.: Light breakfast in Carnegie Café
11 a.m. –12 p.m.: Talk with Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography, in the CMOA Theater
For the past five years, curator Linda Benedict-Jones has been working with Duane Michals to create the exhibition Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals—the largest ever presentation of this groundbreaking artist’s work. Hear from Benedict-Jones about the visits to Michals’s New York City home, their conversations in preparation for this extensive exhibition, and what distinguished him from the other photographers of his moment.
An Intimate Evening and Critique for Artists with Duane Michals and Richard Kelly
November 15 and 16, 2014
$150 ($120 members), dinner included
5:30–9 p.m.: Viewing of Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals, dinner, and conversation with Duane Michals
2:30–5:30 p.m.: Conversation and review of participant’s work with photographer Richard Kelly
Join Duane Michals and longtime friend and fellow photographer Richard Kelly for an intimate evening of discussion on inspiration, beauty, and the creative process. The following day, meet with Kelly for a portfolio review that will provide critique on your work.
On Saturday evening, Michals leads a private viewing of Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals. Discuss how and where he finds inspiration and how he starts the creative process. Ask questions about your favorite works in a discussion led by Richard Kelly. A private dinner follows where the conversation continues. More than just a chance to hang out with a major artist, this workshop is an opportunity to find refreshing perspectives on looking at, and making art.
On Sunday, bring examples of your work to participate in a critical discussion with Kelly.
Arrive early to catch Duane Michals’s 1 p.m. artist talk.
Pittsburgh-based photographer Richard Kelly is the former director of photography at WQED Multimedia and past president of the American Society of Media Photographers. He is recipient of the 2011 United Nations International Photographic Council’s Leadership Award and is currently a lecturer and consultant at Accelerant Creative, an investigative new organization; president of Indigo Factory, a multi-media production company, and associate professor of photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
Attendance is limited.
Open to artists who seek insight and inspiration from a fellow artist.
Artist Talk: Duane Michals11/16/2014, 1–2:30 p.m.
Photographer Duane Michals broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography in the 1960s when he added handwritten messages and poems to his prints to produce multi-image narrative sequences. “I’m a storyteller,” he often says, before beginning a public talk.
Born in 1932 and raised in a family of steelworkers in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Michals has an important story to tell. After six decades spent defying dominant photographic aesthetics, Michals has produced an influential body of work that is both poignant and unabashedly sentimental. Hear firsthand from a master storyteller and delightful speaker as he reflects on his life’s work.
Participants are invited to visit the galleries following the talk.
Writer’s Workshop: Image to Word with Author Sherrie Flick11/15/2014–2/7/2015, 10:15 a.m. –12:15 p.m.
Heinz Galleries, Gallery One
$216 ($173 members)
Workshop takes place over six select Saturdays: November 15, 22; December 6, 13; January 31; February 7.
Duane Michals defied conventions and made a name for himself by writing on his photographs, and went on to produce narrative photo sequences often incorporating verse.
Using Michals’s evocative photographs from the exhibition Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals for inspiration, students in this workshop create short stories and poems and are encouraged to participate in a public reading in February 2015. Author Sherrie Flick guides students through writing exercises and prompts designed to stimulate creative thinking. Classes incorporate both group discussions as well as one-on-one time with Sherrie. The pacing of the six sessions allows students the opportunity to work outside of class to refine their writing. We welcome novice and experienced writers alike. Capacity is limited, so register soon!
Sherrie Flick is author of the flash fiction chapbook I Call This Flirting and the novel Reconsidering Happiness. She teaches community writing workshops across the country and in Chatham University’s MFA program. For 10 years she served as Artistic Director for the Gist Street literary reading series. www.sherrieflick.com
Attendees are invited to participate in a public reading
February 12, 2015; 6:30 p.m.; CMOA Theater
Culture Club: The Art of Collecting
Thursday, November 20
5:30–9 p.m.: Bar open
6:30–8 p.m.: discussions with the artists, and art work pick-up
$15 members; $25 nonmembers, includes one drink ticket and work of art
Join us for conversation and drinks, set against the backdrop of Duane Michals: Collector, a new exhibition that presents the artist’s own collection.
Most of us collect something—teapots, shoes, action figures, records. Why not art? With the emergence of sites like society6 and 20×200, starting an art collection is easier than ever. Culture Club: The Art of Collecting introduces you to Pittsburgh-based artists Terrance Boyd and Kara Skylling. And, to start, or complement your collection, the evening includes a new, limited edition collaborative artwork by Boyd and Skylling for the first 100 attendees to arrive! Get some inspiration: installed as they were in Duane’s own NYC living room, and spanning two centuries, the works in Collector show how a lifetime of living with art can speak volumes about the quirks and tastes of an individual. Have a drink and scheme with your friends about just where your brand-new artwork will hang.
Terrance Boyd received his BFA and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University His practice provides an uncanny set of tools for creating a simplified approach to the world of drawing and sewing, making meticulous objects extracted from memory.
Kara Skylling is an artist and educator currently living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BFA in Fiber Art from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Working in drawing, painting, and fiber art. Her work explores patterns and processes found in natural and built environments.
Art History Class: Decisive Moments in Photography1/21/2015 – 2/4/2015, 10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
$80 ($64 members)
4 sessions, meets every Wednesday January 21–February 11
French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was the master of the candid image, as seen in his highly influential book, The Decisive Moment. In this four-part course, Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography, discusses “decisive moments” in 20th century photography.
Each session explores different approaches, ranging from legendary photographers who utilized large format cameras, including Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham; to the 35mm candids of Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank; to Esther Bubley, Clyde Hare, and Richard Saunders who explored social documentary and impacted our region as photographers for the Pittsburgh Photographic Library (PPL). The last session will focus specifically on the work of Duane Michals and his important impact on photography today.
Culture Club Film Screening: Duane Michals: The Man Who Invented Himself
1/22/2015, 5:30 – 9 p.m.
$10 members; $15 nonmembers, includes one drink ticket
5:30-9 p.m.: Cash bar open
6:30-8 p.m.: Film screening of Duane Michals – The Man Who Invented Himself in CMOA Theater
“I’m not interested in what something looks like, I want to know what it feels like…My reality has entered a realm beyond observation.” –Duane Michals
Duane Michals’s photography speaks to universal themes of love, desire, mortality, and memory. Duane Michals: The Man Who Invented Himself, using these same themes, follows Michals, humorous and 80 years young, to some of his favorite locations in New York, Vermont, and his native Pittsburgh. The film ruminates on the people and places that have deeply impacted him and his and photography: his father’s and grandfather’s steel worker heritage in Pittsburgh; his studio life in New York, where he has lived for many years with his partner Fred; and his country home in Vermont, the location for much of his time and work around themes of nature.
Curator Linda Benedict-Jones and co-producer Veronique Bernard, from Terra Luna Films, introduce the film.
France/USA | Camille Guichard | 2013 | 85 min
Culture Club: Image to Word – A Public Reading
2/12/2015, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Carnegie Café, CMOA Theater
$15 ($10 members), includes one drink ticket
5:30-9 p.m.: Cash bar open
6:30-7:30 p.m.: Reading in CMOA Theater
Duane Michals defied conventions and made a name for himself by writing on his photographs, going on to produce narrative photo sequences often incorporating verse.
Using Michals’s evocative photographs from the exhibition Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals for inspiration, a group of emerging writers came to Carnegie Museum of Art this winter to compose short stories and poems during a six-session course with writer Sherrie Flick.
Raise a glass with friends as these writers share their creations and discuss Michals influence on his/her creative process.
Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals
By Linda Benedict-Jones, with new essays by Allen Ellenzweig, Marah Gubar, and Aaron Schuman
Published by Carnegie Museum of Art and Prestel
Paperback and Hardcover, 240 pages, ISBN: 978-3791353708
ABCDuane: A Duane Michals Primer
Published by the Monacelli Press in association with Carnegie Museum of Art
Hardcover, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1580934053
Major funding for Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals is provided by The Henry L. Hillman Fund.
Additional support is provided by Pamela Z. Bryan, W. Douglas Gouge, Anonymous, Mark T. Phillis, Barbara and Jerry Chait, Dr. Elliott J. Kramer and William M. Modrak, the Henry John Simonds Foundation, Gordon D. Fisher and Wesley B. Scott, and Dee Jay Oshry and Dr. Bart Rack.
General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Founded in 1896, the Carnegie International is one of the oldest surveys of contemporary art worldwide. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understand of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. The Hillman Photography Initiative serves as an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our website at www.cmoa.org.
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