PDN Photo of the Day

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Joel-Peter Witkin

Catherine Edelman Gallery is inaugurating their new gallery space with the groundbreaking exhibition Joel-Peter Witkin: From the Studio.

The exhibition offers a passageway into Witkin’s mind through 25 photographs, 80 drawings, sketchbooks and journals, darkroom tools, cameras, letters and contacts sheets. From the Studio runs through July 3, 2019. 

“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,” writes the gallery in a statement. Witkin’s work, which features hermaphrodites, post and pre-op individuals, and people born with physical abnormalities, reflects his belief that all people are magnificent.

With more than 25 monographs dedicated to his work Witkin’s influential position in the art world is secure. As he approaches his 80th birthday, the artist recently revealed he’s been diagnosed with dementia.

He spoke with Catherine Edelman about the condition, and the effect it’s had on his creativity and life. Along with filmmaker Ben Kolak (Scrappers Film Group), Edelman spent two days in Witkin’s home and studio in Albuquerque  talking with him about his life, his art, his legacy, his views on God, and what he hopes he has contributed to photography.

With the larger space allowed by the new gallery, a short film called From the Studio is presented alongside some of Witkin’s most well known works. Pieces include 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 learning he had dementia. A recreation of the set of A Mermaid’s Tale is installed in one of the gallery’s four exhibition spaces. The set is made of the painted backdrop, shells, and objects that formed the making of this remarkable photograph.

Joel-Peter Witkin: From the Studio
Catherine Edelman Gallery
Through July 3, 2019

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Fine Art


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