Curated Film Series at the Kate. Duane Michals and Horst

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

Mar. 6, 2018, 05:30 pm

84 Lyme Street
PHONE 860.434.5232

Duane Michals 1939 – 1997  A haunting and evocative film by the photographic master of mystic innuendo, Duane Michals.  This film is divided into sections, some of which reproduce in Michals’ well-known photographic stories, sequential images that add up to form a narrative. “The Bogeyman” is a child’s nightmare in photo-animation. Did it happen, or not? Then we get to a cryptic message from the artist, as though from beyond the grave (hence the title “1939 – 1997”). We watch over the artist’s shoulder as he writes “It is no accident you are reading this, I am making black marks on white paper, these are my thoughts.” This brings another concern of Michals’; the act of writing, which has predominated in his exhibitions.

“The Human Condition” shows the subway stop immolation of a young man who turns into a galaxy, stressing the spiritual nature of existence. The artist’s voice returns: “A failed attempt to photograph reality—to photograph reality is to photograph nothing—I can only fail.”

Other sections: “People Eat People,” “The Spirit Leaves The Body,” “Things Are Queer,” “The Pleasures Of The Glove,” and “Chance Meeting”—all deal with perception, reality, phenomenology. They also provoke thoughts of change, and above all, mortality: “He was becoming silence.”

In the final sequence, Michals reveals his “guardian angel” in a burst of unexpected color.

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Duane Michals Bio:
Duane Michals is an American photographer who creates narratives within a series of images. Blending images with text in a format similar to cinematic sequences, his hallmark process is evinced in a group of 9 photographs titled Things are Queer (1972). “I use photography to help me explain my experience to myself,” he reflected. “I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.” Born on February 18, 1932 in McKeesport, PA, Michals received his BA from the University of Denver in 1953 before starting to work as a photo journalist. Over the course of his career, he has taken portraits of influential artists such as Andy Warhol, René Magritte, and Marcel Duchamp, often marking his prints with poetic writings and observations about his subject. His first solo exhibition was held at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, in 1970, and Michals celebrated 50 years working as a photographer in 2008 with a retrospective at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography in Greece and the Scavi Scaligeri in Italy. He currently lives and works in New York, NY. The artist’s works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, among others.

For the past eight decades, the photographs of Horst have been synonymous with elegance. While refining and updating his style, Horst retained the classical beauty that was the hallmark of his work.

This film, narrated by his dear friend, the late Valentine Lawford, is a study of the artist’s work ranging from his society portraits of the 1930s to the fashion shots and interiors made for Vogue, House and Garden, Vanity Fair, and Architectural Digest as well as a treasury of travel photographs that were among Horst’s most favorite and personal memoirs.

In a 1986 interview with the photographer at his Oyster Bay home, Horst is wittingly anecdotal and scathingly critical of the art world, the fashion world, and the world of politics.

Throughout his career, Horst incorporated imagery of classical sculpture, painting and architecture. These influences have evinced themselves in the architectonic style of his photographs and have made him the legend he remains today.

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Horst Bio: Horst P. Horst (born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann) was one of the towering figures of 20th century fashion photography. Best known for his work with Vogue—who called him “photography’s alchemist”—Horst rose to prominence in Paris in the interwar years, publishing his first work with the magazine in 1931. In the decades that followed, Horst’s experimentations with radical composition, nudity, double exposures, and other avant-garde techniques would produce some of the most iconic fashion images ever, like Mainbocher Corset and Lisa with Harp (both 1939). As The New York Times once described, “Horst tamed the avant-garde to serve fashion.” Though associated most closely with fashion photography, Horst captured portraits of many of the 20th century’s brightest luminaries, dabbling with influences as far-ranging as Surrealism and Romanticism. “I like taking photographs, because I like life,” he once said. “And I love photographing people best of all, because most of all I love humanity.”

Bridging the Arts is a curated film series co-sponsored by Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and the Kate. The series features a selection of art films produced by the highly-regarded Checkerboard Film Foundation, Inc. and includes a brief lecture before each film.

Tuesday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kate
300 Main Street,
Old Saybrook, CT 06475.
Tickets $15 per film.

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