Join us for an evening with Duane Michals for an artist talk and a screening of the artist’s new body of work, Talking Pictures.
GRW Theater, University Center, Point Park University
414 Wood Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Talking Pictures is a new body of work consisting of a dozen film shorts created by Michals who wrote, directed, and at times acted in them. Michals created this new body of work in the same pioneering spirit that fuels his ongoing discovery of distinctly new ways of considering the medium of photography. Themes central to his investigations are addressed in each film, which consistently maintain his ever-evolving study of the essential aspects of being human.
Steeped in cinematic history, Michals draws inspiration from a sophisticated range of sources – early stars of the silver screen such as Charlie Chaplin as well as esoteric French illusionists like Georges Méliès. Parallels can be seen between Michals’ movies and those of experimental, underground filmmakers like Kenneth Anger, whose work, as does Michals’, openly addresses the subject of homosexuality. Michals’ films revisit, reexamine, and reinterpret topics that have preoccupied the artist throughout his career, specifically issues of identity, love, and loss.
Duane Michals (b. 1932, McKeesport, PA) is one of the great photographic innovators of the last century, widely known for his work with series, multiple exposures, and text. Michals first made significant, creative strides in the field of photography during the 1960s. In an era heavily influenced by photojournalism, he manipulated the medium to communicate narratives. The sequences, for which he is widely known, appropriate cinema’s frame-by-frame format. Michals has also incorporated text as a key component in his works. Rather than serving a didactic or explanatory function, his handwritten text adds another dimension to the images’ meaning and gives voice to Michals’ singular musings, which are poetic, tragic, and humorous, often all at once.
Over the past five decades, Michals’ work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad. The Museum of Modern Art (New York City) hosted Michals’ first solo exhibition in 1970. More recently, he has had one-person shows at the Odakyu Museum (Tokyo, 1999) and at the International Center of Photography (New York City, 2005). In 2008, Michals celebrated his 50th anniversary as a photographer with a retrospective exhibition at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Greece) and the Scavi Scaligeri (Verona, Italy). Michals has been honored with a CAPS Grant (1975), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1976), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1989), the Foto España International Award (2001), and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Mass. (2005).
Michals’ work belongs to numerous permanent collections both nationally and internationally, including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Michals’ archive is housed at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Monographs of Michals’ work include Homage to Cavafy (1978); Nature of Desire (1989); Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then (1990); Salute, Walt Whitman (1996); The Essential Duane Michals (1997); Questions Without Answers (2001); The House I Once Called Home (2003) and Foto Follies / How Photography Lost Its Virginity on the Way to the Bank (2006). Forthcoming publications include 50 (Admira Photography, June 2008); a collection of Michals’ writing (Delpire Editeur, Fall 2008); and his Japanese-inspired, color photographs (Steidl, Fall 2008).
Michals received a BA from the University of Denver in 1953 and worked as a graphic designer until his involvement with photography deepened in the late 1950s. He currently lives and works in New York City.