For more than 60 years, Joel-Peter Witkin has stayed true to his mission: to create photographs that show the beauty of marginalized people by placing them into art referential tableaus, often laced with Catholic overtones. His work features hermaphrodites, post and pre-op individuals, and people born with physical abnormalities. In his eyes, all people are beautiful, regardless of societal norms.
Much has been written about Joel-Peter Witkin. With more than 25 monographs dedicated to his work, there is no denying his importance in the art world. Recently, Witkin revealed he was diagnosed with dementia. As he approaches his 80th birthday, he graciously agreed to speak with Catherine Edelman about his condition, and the effect it has had on his creativity and life. Catherine spent two days in his home/studio in Albuquerque with filmmaker Ben Kolak (Scrappers Film Group), talking with him about his life, his art, his legacy, his views on God, and what he hopes he has contributed to photography. A short film called From the Studio will be presented alongside some of his most well known works including The Kiss, Siamese Twins, Harvest, Bee Boy and Woman Once a Bird, as well as new work including A Mermaid’s Tale, the last photograph he made before the diagnosis. CEG is honored to recreate the set of A Mermaid’s Tale in one of its galleries, which includes the painted backdrop, shells, and objects that formed the making of this amazing photograph.
The exhibition will feature more than 25 photographs, 80 drawings, as well as sketchbooks and journals, darkroom tools and cameras, letters and contact sheets, offering viewers a glimpse inside the mind of one of the true masters of photography. From the Studio is supported by educational programming that will be held in the gallery. The schedule will be posted on our website.
From the Studio
May 3 – July 3, 2019
Catherine Edelman Gallery
1637 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, USA