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Masters Series: Duane Michals WHAT NOT ALL

Photographer Duane Michals to hold Retrospective at the Visual Arts Museum and receive Masters Series Award from the School of Visual Arts.  Exhibition scheduled from September 18 through October 21, 2000.

Photographer and visual storyteller Duane Michals is the 14th recipient of the coveted Masters Series Award of the School of Visual Arts (SVA).  Duane Michals is considered one of the major innovators of photography in the twentieth century. Born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, his interest in art began at age 14 while attending watercolor classes at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Denver in Colorado in 1953, he spent two years as a lieutenant in the Army. He then went on to study at Parsons School of Design with thoughts of becoming a graphic designer. After just one year he left and pursued various jobs in publishing- including stints as an assistant art director for Dance Magazine and as a designer in the publicity department of Time, Inc. He had no thoughts of becoming a photographer. A three-week visit to Russia with a borrowed camera changed Michals forever. Photographing people he encountered during his travels led to his first public exhibition and the realization that he had found his true creative direction.

By 1969, Michals was earning a living shooting commercially, though he has never owned a studio nor even learned how to use strobe lighting. He has photographed everything from covers of Life magazine to fashion spreads for Vogue, from annual reports for the New York Times to advertisements for the Gap and Microsoft. He even created the album cover for "Synchronicity," a record by the rock group The Police.  In his work, Michals explores facets of his own personal and emotional life through themes that intrigue and inspire him: spirituality, life-after-death, dreams, fears and desires. Employing the technique of double-and-triple exposure, and writing poetic text by hand on his photographs--sometimes even painting on them--Michals achieves a surreal and almost cinematic style. Not surprisingly, he cites Magritte, DeChirico and Balthus (all of whom he has photographed) as chief sources of his inspiration.

His photographic works have been featured in major venues throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, the Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., as well as in galleries in France, Italy, England and Sweden. Over 20 books have been written by him or about his work, including The Essential Duane Michals, The Nature of Desire, and Salute: Walt Whitman.

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