Joel-Peter Witkin

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Joel-Peter Witkin
Joel Peter Witikin (12).jpg
Born (1939-09-13) 13 September 1939 (age 75)
Brooklyn, New York City
Occupation Photographer

Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939) is an American photographer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarves, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Witkin's complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or classical paintings.[1]

Biography[edit]

Witkin was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother. His twin brother, Jerome Witkin,[2] and son Kersen Witkin, are also painters. Witkin's parents divorced when he was young because they were unable to overcome their religious differences[citation needed]. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's in Brooklyn and went on to Grover Cleveland High School. Between 1961 and 1964 he was a war photographer documenting the Vietnam war. Going freelance in 1967, he became the official photographer for City Walls Inc. He attended Cooper Union in New York where he studied sculpture, attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. After Columbia University granted him a scholarship, he ended his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he became Master of Fine Arts.

Influences and themes[edit]

Witkin claims that his vision and sensibility spring from an episode he witnessed as a young child, an automobile accident in front of his house in which a little girl was decapitated.

He says his family's difficulties also influenced his work. His favorite artist is Giotto. His photographic techniques draw on early Daguerreotypes and on the work of E. J. Bellocq.[1]

Those of Witkin's works which use corpses have had to be created in Mexico in order to get around restrictive US laws. Because of the transgressive nature of the contents of his images, his works have been labelled exploitative and have sometimes shocked public opinion.[1]

His techniques include scratching the negative, bleaching or toning the print, and using a hands-in-the-chemicals printing technique. This experimentation began after seeing a 19th-century ambrotype of a woman and her ex-lover who had been scratched from the frame.[1]

Joel-Peter Witkin's photograph "Sanitarium" inspired the final presentation of Alexander McQueen's Spring/Summer 2001 collection based on avian imagery, the walls of another box within the faux psychiatric ward collapsed to reveal a startling tableau vivant: a reclining, masked nude breathing through a tube and surrounded by fluttering moths.

Documentary[edit]

In July 2011, filming began on the feature length documentary, Joel-Peter Witkin: An Objective Eye. The film, directed by Thomas Marino, takes a profound and introspective look into Witkin’s life and photographs. Along with all new in-depth interviews with Joel-Peter Witkin, the film features interviews from gallery owners, prominent artists, photographers, and scholars who share insight into the impact of Witkin's work and influence on modern culture. Filming took place in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. The film was released on July 6, 2013 for digital download and streaming/rental. The film will be part of the permanent collections at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, France, and the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile in Santiago, Chile.[4][5]

"Joel-Peter Witkin: An Objective Eye" was first publicly shown in Santiago, Chile at the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile on July 31, 2013, as part of the opening of the exhibition, "Vanitas: Joel-Peter Witkin en Chile".[6] Those in attendance of this premiere included Joel-Peter Witkin, his wife Barbara, and gallery owner Baudoin Lebon.

Chronology[edit]

  • 1939: Born in Brooklyn September 13, 1939 to Max and Mary (Pellegrino) Witkin.; one child, Kersen Ahanu Witkin; m. Barbara Anne Gilbert, 2005.
  • 1959: Group show at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC
  • 1973- 1974: Student poetry fellow at Columbia University
  • 1974: Received his B.F.A. at Cooper Union
  • 1980: Exhibited in Projects Studio One, NYC
  • 1981: Group show at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • 1982: Exhibited in Galerie Texbraun, Paris. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
  • 1983: Exhibited in Kansas City Art Institute. Exhibited in Stedelijk Mus, Amsterdam. Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC
  • 1984: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC
  • 1985: Exhibited in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Group show at the Whitney Biennial
  • 1986: Received his M.F.A. at U.N. Mex. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Brooklyn Museum. Group show at Palis de Tokyo, Paris
  • 1987: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A.
  • 1988: Exhibited in Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid.
  • 1989: Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A.
  • 1990: Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
  • 1991: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A. Exhibited in Museum Of Modern Art Haifa, Israel
  • 1993: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC.[7] Exhibited in Photo Picture Space Gallery Osaka, Japan
  • 1994: Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Taipei Photo Gallery, Taiwan
  • 1995: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Photo Picture Space Gallery Osaka, Japan. Exhibited in Guggenheim Museum, NYC. Exhibited in Interkamera, Prague. Exhibited in II Castello de Rivoli Museum., Turin
  • 1996: Artist in residence Zerybthia Rome Italy summer of this year. Lecturer Am. Acad. Rome. Exhibited in Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, Portugal. Exhibited in Rencontres de la Photograpie, Arles, France. Exhibited in Taipei Photo Gallery, Taiwan. Group show at La Photographie Contemporaine en France
  • 1997: Exhibited in Fraenkel Gallery. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein MacGill Gallery, NYC Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A. Group show at Foto Masson, Goteberg, Sweden. Group show at Hanlin Museum, South Korea. Group show at Hayward Gallery, London
  • 1998: Exhibited in Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe. Exhibited in Wildenstein Gallery, Tokyo. Exhibited in Pace Wildenstein, L.A.Exhibited in Taipei Photo Gallery, Taiwan. Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Artist in residence Berlin fall of 1998 and Paris winter 1998. Exhibited in Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, Portugal. Exhibited in Camera Work, Berlin, El Escorial, Spain. Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A. Group show at Bogardenkapel, Bruges. Group show at Srasborg Mus. D’Art Moderne et Contemporaine
  • 1999: Exhibited in Sternburg Museum, Prague. Exhibited in Mesiac Fotographie, Slovakia. Group show the Ansel Adams Ctr., San Francisco Group show at Camera Work, San Francisco. Group show at The Louvre, Paris
  • 2000: Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Hotel de Sully, Paris Exhibited in Caherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago. Exhibited in Ctr. Contemporary Art, Honolulu. Group show at Musee Bourdelle, Paris. Group show at John Gibson Gallery, NYC. Group show at The High Mus. Art, Ga.,
  • 2001: Lecture at Yale University. Exhibited in Photo Picture Space Gallery Osaka, Japan. Exhibited in Etherton Gallery, Tucson. Group show at The Fotografie Forum, Frankfort
  • 2002: Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Stadt Mus., Jena. Exhibited in Picture Photo Space, Osaka. Exhibited in Infinito Gallery, Turin. Group show at National Gallery of Canada. Group show at Hotel de Sully, Paris. Group show at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Group show at The Whitney Museum, NYC
  • 2003: Exhibited in Galeria Juaa de Aizpura, Madrid. Exhibited in Photoes Pana, Madrid. Exhibited in Le Garage Galerie, Toulouse. Group show at H. Lunn Collection, Lille. Group show at Photology, Milan. Group show at Akira Ikeda Gallery, Berlin
  • 2004: Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Exhibited in ARCO, Madrid. Group show at National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Group show at Yancey Richardson Gallery, NYC
  • 2005: Exhibited in Fahey/Klein Gallery, L.A. Exhibited in Etherton Gallery, Tucson. Exhibited in Linda Durham Gallery, Santa Fe. Exhibited Gary Tatinstian Gallery, Moscow. Exhibited in Moscow House Photography. Group show at Guggenheim, Bilbao. Group show at D’Art Del’Yonne. Group show at Wessel and O’Connor Fine Art, NYC. Group show at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
  • 2006: Lecturer at Ecole Supérieure, Paris. Lecturer at Spanish Embassy, Moscow. Solo show Witkin Vintage, Hasted Hunt, NYC Solo show Café Francoise, Brussels, Paris Photo. Group show at Cité Internationale: “The Book,” M.E.P. Paris. Group show at Houston Center for Photography, Silver Retrospective
  • 2007: Exhibited in Human Kind, Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris and at Hasted Hunt Gallery, New York, NY; Lecturer at Medici Palace, Seravezza; Exhibited in Paris Photo; Exhibited in The Invisible Landscape, National Gallery of Canada; Exhibited in Myst: Mystic and Mystery of a photographic collection, CRAM, Italy
  • 2008: Exhibited in Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, Exhibited in Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2010: Exhibited in Counterfactuals, Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris, Exhibited in 1000 Eventi Gallery, Milan, Exhibited in Minshar Gallery, Tel Aviv, Exhibited in Bodies, Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm,[8] Exhibited in Discoveries, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY,[9] Exhibited in “Memento Mori:” The Birth & Resurrection of Postmortem Photography, Merchant's House Museum, New York, NY,[10] Exhibited in "Decadence Now!" BRNO House of Arts, Czech Republic [11]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]