Photograph of Duane Michals with his hands on his head and his thumbs up

Duane Michals in Conversation at NYPL

Last Wednesday Duane Michals was on stage in the South Court Auditorium at the New York Public Library to discuss his two new books: ABCDuane and Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals,. As part of An Art Book, the library’s ongoing series that celebrates the essential importance and beauty of art books, moderator Christopher Lyon offered the audience a brief introduction to Michals’s work and career.

“His activities touch on so many bases,” Lyon said about Michals. “Pioneering art photography. Unmatched portraitist. He’s a masterful editorial photographer, painter, art collectorstoryteller above alland an aesthetic gadfly who entertainingly undermines the claims of photography to represent reality. But I want to suggest that the apparent multi-sidedness of Duane is, itself, an illusion. As Duane made clear in [the text to his book Real Dreams], the key word, he wrote, is ‘expression’ not photography, not writing, not painting. So tonight I’m hoping that this really extraordinary gathering of critics, scholars, and curators will engage in a conversation illuminating Duane’s work and life.”

Sharing the stage with Michals that night was Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art, Jonas Cuénin, Allen Ellenzweig, Martin Filler, Marvin Heiferman, and Cay Sophie Rabinowitz. Included below is a podcast of this conversation in its entirety, complete with Michals’s signature humor, as well as comments and observations from a distinguished panel of guests.

Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals is at Carnegie Museum of Art from November 1, 2014 to February 16, 2015. Duane Michals: Collector is at Carnegie Museum of Art from November 1, 2014 to March 2, 2015.