Born in 1932 and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a steelworker family, Michals was a pioneer in the 1960s when he broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography. Rather than respecting the primacy of the photographic print, Michals added handwritten messages and poems to the paper surface. Instead of accepting the widely recognized dominance of a powerful single image, so respected by masters like Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson, Michals created sequences of multiple images to convey visual stories. He has always considered himself to be a storyteller.
Inspired by Surrealist painter Réné Magritte, Michals experimented with double and triple exposures to expand the meaning and interpretation of his subject. These innovations won both derision and acclaim, including a one-person exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1970. Consistent worldwide publication of his photographs in books and journals followed. In the major histories of photography, Michals is cited as being seminally important in his willingness to bend the rules of the medium to suit his own ends. He is credited for broadening our understanding of the philosophical dimensions of photography from the 1960s to today.
The accompanying catalogue, Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals (250 pages, 285 illustrations), is available in softcover for $45 and hardcover for $75 at the CMOA Design Store.
This exhibition is organized by Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography.
January 21: Art History Class—Decisive Moments in Photography
January 22: Culture Club Film Screening—Duane Michals: The Man Who Invented Himself
February 12: Culture Club—Image to Word, A Public Reading
Photography from every angle
Don't miss these other opportunities to explore photography at Carnegie Museum of Art:
The Hillman Photography Initiative, ongoing
Photography in the Trenches, 1914–1918, June 4–December, 2014
Teenie Harris Photographs: Civil Rights Perspectives,October 16, 2014-March 31, 2015