INsight Artist, 2008

“History shows that only the artists who worked outside the parameters of established art, have, and will always make contributions to history.” —Joel-Peter Witkin

Joel-Peter Witkin began making photographs at the age of sixteen with a twin lens camera. In the Army from 1961-64 he photographed accidents, maneuvers, and suicides. Returning to New York to work as an assistant, he received his BFA in sculpture from Cooper Union.

While pursuing graduate work at the University of New Mexico he developed intensive darkroom and finishing techniques in a relationship to the history of painting and sculpture. With his unique vision Witkin fashions works that “confront our sense of normalcy and decency, while constantly examining the teachings handed down through Christianity.”

Among his awards are two Ford Foundation and four NEA grants, the ICP Award for Visual Arts, and the Commander de L’Order des Artes et des Lettres. His work is collected globally, including by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.