Joel-Peter Witkin at the MNAF in Florence through June 24

Woman with Small Breasts, 2007 © Joel-Peter Witkin, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

Woman with Small Breasts, 2007 © Joel-Peter Witkin, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

Joel-Peter Witkin (American, b.1939) is a photographer whose subject matter is quite particular, revolving around death, unusual forms of beauty and cultural acceptance of the deformed and unfortunate. Although his photos have an elegantly theatrical and historical presentation with an elaborate printing method that replicates early photography and Daguerreotypes, his subjects and models come from a darker world full of circus freak show horrors with bodily deformations, erotic curiosities, deviant behaviors, and nightmares.

Witkin’s subjects and models come from the social underground and even from the morgue, realities not normally seen by the general public, let alone made into fine art. Needless to say, his work sometimes shocks and repulses while intriguing the viewer to take a closer examination, not unlike the urge to stare into a car crash to see what happened.

In fact, Witkin sites that his work is greatly inspired by a horrifying accident he witnessed as a young child, where a small girl was killed and her decapitated head rolled over to his feet! And as a young photographer, he also worked during the Vietnam War from 1961-64 as a war photographer. Witkin studied sculpture at Columbia University where he earned a BFA in 1974, and received an MFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 1986.

The exhibition at the Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia shows 55 of Witkin’s photographs, beautiful images of macaber and morbid, and definitely worth seeing if you are in Florence and interested in photography – not to miss this rare opportunity to see Witkin’s work in person.

Courbet in Rejlander’s Pool, New Mexico, 1985 © Joel-Peter Witkin, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

Courbet in Rejlander’s Pool, New Mexico, 1985 © Joel-Peter Witkin, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

MNAFlogo

 

Joel-Peter Witkin

IL MAESTRO DEI SUOI MAESTRI 
March 21 – June 24, 2013

MNAF Alinari National Museum of Photography
Piazza Santa Maria Novella 14a rosso – Florence, Italy

Hours: 10 am – 6:30 pm (Wednesday closed) 

Admission: Adults €9 (includes exhibit and Museum) – Reduced €7.50 – Admission charge for schools: €4 per person

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: