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Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan, The Morgan Library & Museum, October 25, 2019 – February 2, 2020

The Morgan Library & Museum proudly presents an exhibition combining a six-decade retrospective of Duane Michals with an artist’s-choice selection of works from all corners of the permanent collection. Michals is known for his picture sequences, inscribed photographs, and, more recently, films that pose emotional, conceptual, and cosmic questions beyond the scope of the lone camera image. Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan takes viewers on a tour of the artist’s mind, putting work from his expansive career in conversation with Old Master and modern drawings, books, manuscripts, and historical objects.

The first retrospective on Michals to be mounted by a New York City institution, the exhibition is organized around animating themes in the artist’s work: Theater, Reflection, Love and Desire, Playtime, Image and Word, Nature, Immortality, Time, Death, and Illusion. It showcases his storytelling instincts, both in stand-alone staged photographs and in sequences. The exhibition also includes screenings of short films, Michals’s preferred medium in recent years.” — The Morgan Library & Museum

Duane Michals. A Story About a Story, 1989. The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018.47. © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals. A Letter From My Father, 1960–1975. Gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Duane Michals, 2019.78. © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals. Andy Warhol. Gelatin silver print © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals. Self–Portrait Asleep in a Tomb of Mereruka Sakkara, 1978. The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018.42. © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals. The Illuminated Man, 1968. Gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018.37. © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals. Warren Beatty. 1966. The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018.35. © Duane Michals, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Illusions of the Photographer is a personal project for Michals, who explains, “The Morgan literally is my favorite museum in New York. I always learn something at the Morgan. I’m so thrilled about this show, because it’s probably going to be the very last time to see me there, with all my resources and touchstones. I’m … archaic, in a way. I’m eighty-seven! I’m of my generation. My references are not at all to what people are talking about today. I’m comfortable there, that’s where I belong—and that’s what I contribute.”

Images courtesy The Morgan Library & Museum.

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