Filter Photo is pleased to welcome Joel-Peter Witkin to the 2016 Filter Photo Festival. Witkin will be speaking at the 8th annual Festival with the support of Headline Sponsor Columbia College Chicago Photography Department.
Joel-Peter Witkin is renowned as the creator of elaborately constructed and often erotically charged photographic tableaux exploring grand themes of religion, sex and mortality with continual references to art history. Born in 1939 in Brooklyn. Witkin has pursued complex issues of the human condition for more than 40 years through people most often cast aside by society. In his teens he befriended and photographed sideshow performers at Coney Island. Edward Steichen chose one of his early pictures for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art when Witkin was sixteen years old. Witkin studied at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture, New York (BA, 1974) and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (MFA, 1986).
His provocative imagery has created a sensation since early in his career in the 1970s and particularly in museum exhibitions in the early 1980s at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was afforded a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 1995. Recent major exhibitions include the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, and the Bibloteca Nacional de Chile, Santiago, and in 2016 at Foto Museo Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, a joint retrospective exhibition with Witkin’s twin brother, painter Jerome Witkin.
Joel-Peter Witkin’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery, MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, among many others. Witkin’s photographs are also the subject of several monographs, including Joel-Peter Witkin, A Retrospective (1995); Harms Way (1994); Joel-Peter Witkin, Twelve Photographs in Gravure (1994); The Bone House (1998); Joel-Peter Witkin: Vanitas (2012) and Witkin and Witkin (2015). Joel-Peter Witkin was awarded four National Endowments in Photography and is Commander of Arts and Letters of France.