The Easel

Archives: The New York Review of Books

19th November 2019

The Ceaseless Innovation of Duane Michals

Some artists – just a few – seem endlessly innovative. Michals is one. He was never attracted to the photography of objective story telling, à la Life magazine. His work is almost the opposite – staged sequences, handwriting on his images, manipulated images. In so doing he has expanded what photography can be. As the curator expresses it “Duane cut photography’s umbilical cord”.

12th November 2019

The Muse at Her Easel

Superb writing. The artist’s muse – art topic or relationship topic … or both? Celia Paul, a celebrated artist, has written about her relationship with Lucien Freud. The heart of her narrative is the competing demands of a relationship versus her own art. Conventional views of the muse as victim don’t, in this case, suffice. What is clear, as another of Freud’s lovers put it, is that “selfishness is what it takes to make great art”.