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Duane Michals: Photographs from the Floating World

December 4, 2008–January 10, 2009

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


Installation Views

Selected Works

Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Duane Michals: Photographs from the Floating World, an exhibition of over 35 color prints with hand-applied text (2005-2008).

Michals’s most recent series features images which assume the shape of traditional Eastern fans. The unconventional format and exhibition title reference Ukiyo-e, the popular genre of woodblock prints produced during the Japanese Edo period’s "floating world" of sophisticated, urban culture (c. 1620-1867). In the mid to late 19th century, artists such as Degas, Whistler, and Toulouse-Lautrec reinterpreted the Ukiyo-e aesthetic, emulating its absence of perspective and flat areas of pronounced color.

More than a century later, Michals presents a modern and personal approach to this artistic tradition. Inspired by the work of Bonnard, Vasarely, Vermeer, and Vuillard, Michals’s color photographs fuse Eastern and Western influences to present scenarios that blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, and explore the enigmatic, floating nature of contemporary life. A monograph on the series is forthcoming from Steidl.

Duane Michals (b. 1932, McKeesport, PA) received a BA from the University of Denver in 1953. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including a CAPS Grant (1975), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1976), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1989), and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Montserrat College of Art in Massachusetts (2005).

Over the past five decades, Michals’s photography has been exhibited worldwide. Recently he has had one-person shows at the International Center of Photography, New York (2005), the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki (2008), and a retrospective at the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia Scavi Scaligeri, Verona (2008) that will travel to Belgium and Denmark. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Michals’s archive is located at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Monographs of his work include: Homage to Cavafy (1978); Nature of Desire (1989); Duane Michals: Now Become 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).

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