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Duane Michals: The Portraitist

The exhibition presents the first comprehensive overview of photographic portraits by one of the medium’s most influential artists, Duane Michals (American, born 1932). Michals is widely recognized for his ability to navigate between imposing his style and allowing his sitters to express themselves, and for this sequence he conveys personal visual narratives, often adding handwritten messages and poems on the photographic print surface.

More than 125 portraits are included in the exhibition, many of which were recently discovered in a workroom in his brownstone building in New York City. Frequently commissioned to create portraits of actors, writers, musicians, and others, Michals relished the challenge of distinguishing each personality with an improvisational approach. Among the wide ranging selection for the exhibition are images of Pop artist Andy Warhol and his mother Julia Warhola (1958), the original cast of “Saturday Night Live” (1970s), actress Meryl Streep (1975), director Francis Ford Coppola (1982), performer and activist Eartha Kitt (2007), and the creative siblings David and Amy Sedaris (2000s).

The exhibition is curated by Linda Benedict-Jones, former photography curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and currently Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the exhibition tour is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions.

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