Duane Michals

BirthplaceMcKeesport, Pennsylvania
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageEuropean-American
Light Work RelationshipMaster Print Edition, 2013
Fine Print Program, 2013




Duane Michals’ series of brightly colored prints with hand-applied text features images that assume the shape of traditional Japanese fans. Unconventional in format, the series references Ukiyo-e, a popular genre of Japanese woodblock printing noted for the absence of perspective and flat areas of pronounced color. The English translation of Ukiyo-e is “floating world,” and images of this genre aspire to divorce the viewer from the mundane and lift the spirit to the realm of the transcendent. Michals presents a modern and personal approach to this artistic tradition, exploring the enigmatic nature of contemporary life by blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality with Eastern and Western influences. Since the 1960s Michals been recognized as an innovative and influential artist. His work is included in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Moderna Musetet, Stockholm, Sweden; the National Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, among other public and private collections. His bibliography includes over ten monographs, including Photographs from the Floating World (Steidl, 2012), featuring his colorful Japanese-inspired images.