Sixty Inches From Center Discusses Recent CEG Panel ‘Otherness & Beauty’

Image: Las Meninas, New Mexico, 1987 by Joel-Peter Witkin. A black and white photograph with a multitude of surreal figures. At center, a woman with a partial leg sits atop a cage-like structure on wheels with a sleeping dog at the bottom right. On the left, a bare-chested man lies on the floor, modeling for a painter holding his palette. In the background, a man exits out an open door. Art historical and religious references fill the room.
Joel-Peter Witkin, Las Meninas, New Mexico, 1987

Local Chicago publication Sixty Inches From Center recently published an article on our panel discussion “Otherness & Beauty: Discussing Themes Within the Work of Joel-Peter Witkin.” The discussion, which took place at the gallery on June 1, explored Witkin’s photographs of people considered “other”, including those born with physical abnormalities, and those that are intersex and transexual. By placing his subjects into art referential tableaus often laced with Catholic overtones, the artist highlights the beauty of those that have been marginalized by society.

When discussing the depiction of the disabled body in art, author Courtney Graham writes:

It’s a broad and complicated spectrum from stigma to romanticism, but it’s through conversations like this panel discussion as well as deep looks into work like Witkin’s that understanding is built. “I think we should be talking about each other constantly,” said Lehrer. I was impressed Catherine Edelman Gallery hosted such a program to dive into the complexities of Witkin’s work through critical discussion—critical as in important as well as critiquing.

Reach the full article here.

Image: Joel-Peter Witkin, A Mermaid’s Tale, NM, 2018. A black and white photograph of a woman wearing a mermaid tail, seated on a seashell-ladened formation. She is bare-chested holding a baby, also adorned with a mermaid tail. Behind them is a painted backdrop depicting a sea full of waves and a ship off to the right.
Joel-Peter Witkin, A Mermaid’s Tale, NM, 2018.