Food for Thought: Duane Michals: The Portraitist
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 • 12:30 p.m.
$32 / $28 members. Find tickets at Eventbrite.com or call (607) 547-1510
Duane Michals: The Portraitist presents the first comprehensive overview of inventive photographic portraits by one of the medium’s most influential artists. Best known as a pioneer who broke away from established traditions of documentary photography in the 1960s, Michals is widely recognized for his ability to navigate between imposing his style and allowing his sitters to express themselves, and for the sequences he assembles to convey personal visual narratives, often adding handwritten messages and poems on the photographic print surface.
More than 125 portraits by this beloved photographer are included, many of which were recently discovered in a workroom in his brownstone building in New York City. Frequently commissioned to create portraits of actors, writers, musicians, and others, Michals relished the challenge of distinguishing each personality with an improvisational approach. Collectively the prints reveal the artist’s spontaneity and highlight his expansive toolkit of techniques, including multiple exposures, reflections, uncommon vantage points, collage, hand-painting and more, to create a unique image.
Upon first encountering the subject, Michals would “look for the light,” then he would draw from his extensive toolkit of techniques, including multiple exposures, reflections, uncommon vantage points, hand-painting, collage, and more, to create his desired image. Work depicting subjects as diverse as songwriter Leonard Cohen, actress Jeanne Moreau, novelist Philip Roth, actor Robin Williams, artist Yayoi Kusama and the original cast of New York’s Saturday Night Live are exhibited together for the first time in this exhibition.
As Michals wrote beneath a pensive portrait of Avant-garde Romanian-French playwright, Eugène Ionesco, “The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us.” The diversity of personalities, along with the tremendous variety of photographic approaches, creates a nourishing visual experience and, as always, the works by master photographer Duane Michals do not cease to surprise and delight.
Duane Michals: The Portraitist is curated by Linda Benedict Jones and traveled by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California. The exhibition is sponsored in part by NYCM Insurance.
Fenimore Art Museum is open daily (through October 14), 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Fall hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday (October 15–December 31), 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). Admission: $12 for adults; $10.50 for seniors, free for museum members and children (12 and under).
Fenimore Art Museum’s Holiday Decorations | Wednesday, December 4 • 12:30 pm
with the Lake & Valley Garden Club. Fenimore Art Museum Study Center and Museum Galleries • $32 / $28 members