Lucas Samaras “AutoPolaroids, 1969-71”

Craig F. Starr Associates

poster for Lucas Samaras “AutoPolaroids, 1969-71”

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Craig F. Starr Gallery presents Lucas Samaras: AutoPolaroids 1969-71. The exhibition offers an in‐depth look at the artist’s first foray into photography, bringing together more than fifty works, including the very first AutoPolaroid and several that have never been seen before. This show is the first presentation to focus solely on the AutoPolaroids, since their debut exhibition 45 years ago.

This experimental and self-reflective series examines the artist’s desire to explore his own body, something he was unable to do until the Polaroid camera allowed him the freedom to be, in his own words, “my own critic, my own exciter, my own director, my own audience.” AutoPolaroid, a term coined by Samaras – a play on the French autoportrait, meaning self-portrait – addresses the automatic, instantaneous, and intimate nature of the Polaroid 360 camera.

This series – composed in solitude, within the confines of the artist’s apartment, and shot mostly late at night or early morning – includes formal compositions and still-lifes, in addition to a vast majority of self-portraits. Samaras appears in an almost endless array of poses – often naked and from unusual and shocking points of view. Some of the AutoPolaroids are spectacularly embellished with hand-applied ink; rich black or vibrant colors appear in a variety of different line and dot patterns filling in the backgrounds. As a body of work, the AutoPolaroids are performative, provocative, stylized, and incredibly personal. They break taboos, strangely integrating the reality of Samaras’s body, his physicality and sexuality, with the humorous, theatrical, and even the beautiful.

Samaras is well known for a wide range of work including performance, painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, and photography. The AutoPolaroids are amongst Samaras’s most transgressive photographic images, and they reveal his extraordinary inventiveness and seminal importance as a contemporary photographer. The photographs in this series are not only precursors to his later photographs; their art historical significance predates the work of artists who also took on role-playing and explored their own body as subjects, such as Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Lucas Samaras (b. 1936, Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece) graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1959 with a degree in Art and later studied at Columbia University in New York. His works can be found in private and public collections worldwide, including The Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Samaras has also been the subject of more than one-hundred solo exhibitions and seven major career retrospectives, including Unrepentant Ego: The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 2004. In 2009, Samaras represented Greece at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition that spanned four decades of the artist’s practice. Recent exhibitions include; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2015) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014). Dreams in Dust: The Pastels of Lucas Samaras is currently on view at The Morgan Library & Museum, New York through August 21, 2016.



from June 09, 2016 to August 12, 2016


Lucas Samaras

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