The Painted Photograph
A catalogue with an essay by Max Kozloff is available
DC Moore Gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibition of the work of Duane Michals, The Painted Photograph, which focuses on his current series of hand-painted tintypes (2011 – 2013). Using 19th-century collodion prints on brown or black lacquered iron as his surface, Michals enriches the original images with oil paint, altering but not entirely obscuring the sitters’ features. Drawing on the principals of early photography and modern painting, especially Surrealism, Michals unites the two disciplines and explores the uncharted territory he identifies between photography and painting. Each 19th-century image is playfully rejuvenated by the addition of vibrant color and the artist’s witty allusions to visionaries such as Picasso and Picabia. In this way, Michals draws our attention to the discrepancy between a popular medium that required little skill—the tintype—and the work of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
A renowned innovator, Michals pushes the limits of photography. In past bodies of work, he has achieved this first by presenting his images in series, at times narrated with text scrawled directly on the print, and then further by embracing each imperfection. In this new work, Michals modifies the images of amateur journeymen, emphasizing the “found object” quality of these portraits of the working class by floating each tintype in spare frames to expose their irregular edges. Michals questions what he describes as “the museum photograph,” or large-format photography, with his small-scale and intimate images. Combining antique, personal objects with hand-painted abstract elements, Michals examines his favorite themes: memory, mortality, love, and loss. The results are curious, humorous, affectionate, and provocative.
Also included in the exhibition are Michals’ “deconstructed” photographs, in which the artist eludes photography’s single, decisive moment by digitally transforming one image into a series. A selection of Michals’ painted photographs from the late 1970s and early 80s will also be on view. Like Michals’ seminal photo sequences, the works in this exhibition draw on personal memory and evoke a surreal sense of fantasy.
Born and raised in McKeesport, PA, Michals received his undergraduate degree from the University of Denver. He served in the army during the Korean War and in the mid-1960s moved to New York, where he studied graphic design and worked as an art director and designer. By the 1960s, Michals was exhibiting regularly in New York, where he still lives.
Over the past five decades, Michals has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA will host a major retrospective of Michals’ work in the fall of 2014. Michals’ first solo museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1970. His work belongs to numerous permanent collections including The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, among others.
In recognition of his contributions, Michals has been honored with a CAPS Grant (1975), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1976), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award (1989), and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA. In 1993, Michals was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.
Publications include Sequences (Doubleday & Co., 1970), Duane Michals Photographes de 1958 à1982 (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1982), Sleep and Dream (Lustrum Press, 1984), Duane Michals Photographs/Sequences/Texts 1958-1984 (Modern Art Oxford, England, 1984), The Essential Duane Michals (Little, Brown & Company, 1997; received the Ernst Haas Book of the Year award), The House I Once Called Home (Enitharmony Editions, 2003), and The Pittsburgh Poem (High Street House Books, 2013).
Please join us for a gallery talk and book signing with the artist to celebrate the publication of The Pittsburgh Poem: Thursday, April 18, 6 pm