Joel-Peter Witkin: Poetic Realism September 5 — November 1, 2008

Joel-Peter Witkin is a photographer whose images of the human condition are undeniably powerful. For more than twenty years he has pursued his interest in spirituality and how it impacts the physical world in which we exist. Finding beauty within the grotesque, Witkin pursues this complex issue through people most often cast aside by society -- human spectacles including hermaphrodites, dwarfs, amputees, androgynes, carcases, people with odd physical capabilities, fetishists and "any living myth ... anyone bearing the wounds of Christ." His fascination with other people's physicality has inspired works that confront our sense of normalcy and decency, while constantly examining the teachings handed down through Christianity.

His constant reference to paintings from art history, including the works of Picasso, Balthus, Goya, Velásquez and Miro, are testaments to his need to create a new history for himself. By using imagery and symbols from the past, Witkin celebrates our history while constantly redefining its present day context. Visiting medicals schools, morgues and insane asylums around the world, Witkin seeks out his collaborators, who, in the end, represent the numerous personas of the artist himself.

The resulting photographs are haunting and beautiful, grotesque yet bold in their defiance – a hideous beauty that is as compelling as it is taboo. Witkin begins each image by sketching his ideas on paper, perfecting every detail by arranging the scene before he gets into the studio to stage his elaborate tableaus. Once photographed, Witkin spends hours in the darkroom, scratching and piercing his negatives, transforming them into images that look made rather than taken. Through printing, Witkin reinterprets his original idea in a final act of adoration.

Joel-Peter Witkin lets us look into his created world, which is both frightening and fascinating, as he seeks to dismantle our preconceived notions about sexuality and physical beauty. Through his imagery, we gain a greater understanding about human difference and tolerance.

Most images are available in two sizes. 16 x 20" gelatin silver prints are in editions of 10 for $5,000, and 30 x 40" gelatin silver prints are in editions of 12 for $10,000.

Drawings range from $2,000 - $4,200.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

Joel-Peter Witkin
20th Century Sandwich: Arbus on E. Hopper, Bacon with DK,...Muy Pic(asso)ante, Bogota, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Ars Moriendi, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Bad Student, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Bogota (drawing for Prom Foto), 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Bogota (drawing for The Scale), 2008

sold

Joel-Peter Witkin
But Dad! New Mexico (drawing for The Raft of George W. Bush), 2006

sold

Joel-Peter Witkin
Cameraless Camera, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Countess de Maublanc, Paris, 2006
Joel-Peter Witkin
History of the White World: Arabia, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
La Giovanissima, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Man Reflected, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Night in a Small Town, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Night in a Small Town (study for the photograph), 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
Prom Foto, Bogota, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Reality is an Invention Balthus, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Retablo, New Mexico, 2007
Joel-Peter Witkin
The Raft of George Bush, 2006
Joel-Peter Witkin
The Scale, Bogota, 2008
Joel-Peter Witkin
Woman with Small Breasts drawing, 2007

sold

Joel-Peter Witkin
Woman with Small Breasts, Paris, 2007