Artist Talk: Joel Meyerowitz on Morandi’s Objects


November 18, 2015

CIMA is pleased to welcome celebrated American photographer Joel Meyerowitz to discuss his recent project, Morandi’s Objects. Working in Morandi’s Bologna studio, Meyerowitz created portraits of 270 objects used by the artist as inspiration for his still-life paintings. A selection of these photographs, along with one of the objects from Morandi’s studio, are on view at CIMA.

Thanks to the support of the Istituzione Bologna Musei | Museo Morandi, Meyerowitz was granted access to the rooms in Casa Morandi, where the painter’s objects still remain. Taking over 700 photographs, Meyerowitz completed a profoundly taxonometric survey of 270 dust-covered objects in the small room where Morandi worked: vases, shells, bottles of all sizes, painted over, filled with raw pigments, colored bottles or plain, silk flowers, jugs, boxes, tin cans, funnels, and more. Meyerowitz treated his photographs as portraits, turning each object slowly until one facet spoke more clearly than any other and revealed the secret identity that Morandi valued each object for.

Meyerowitz worked at Morandi’s table, where the light still falls, as it always has, on the circles and lines the painter drew to mark the positions of his objects. The background remains as Morandi left it, a pale, rosy golden paper that is brittle and ready to crumble at the slightest touch. His presence is in the room. As the essayist Maggie Barrett affirms, “entering the studio of such an important artist means exploring his soul in depth; a place inviting the visitor to translate these objects into a meaningful portrait of the artist.”

Copies of his new book, Morandi’s Objects (Damiani Editore, 2015), will be available for purchase.

Joel Meyerowitz (born March 6, 1938) is a street photographer and portrait and landscape photographer. He began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art. In 1962, inspired by seeing Robert Frank at work, Meyerowitz quit his job as an art director at an advertising agency and took to the streets of New York City with a 35mm camera and color film. The fleeting moments of street life in New York City and other American cities that Meyerowitz has captured are some of the earliest and best-known examples of color street photography. Many of his photographs are icons of modern photography, and made Meyerowitz, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, one of the most influential modern photographers and representatives of the “New Color Photography” of the 1960s and 70s. His work, which has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world, is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and many other museums worldwide. Joel Meyerowitz is represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York.

$10; free for CIMA members and students with ID