How was 2013 for Joel Meyerowitz?

Phaidon creatives look back on the year just gone and tell us about what they're going to be up to in 2014
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Joel Meyerowitz
Joel Meyerowitz

As the year draws to a close we've caught up with a number of our Phaidon contributors and creatives (including Ferran Adrià, Martin Parr, Edmund de Waal and Bernhard Edmaier) and have asked them how 2013 was for them: what were the things that inspired them, when were they at their most creative and what do they have planned for 2014. We'll be bringing you their answers - one a day - up until the new year.

 

JFK airport New York 1968 - Joel Meyerowitz
JFK airport New York 1968 - Joel Meyerowitz

Today we kick off the series with Joel Meyerowitz whose two volume career retrospective Taking My Time we published this year. Joel began his photography career on the streets of  New York but has constantly reinvented his art and creativity over the course of his lifetime. You can watch some videos of him talking about that life and career here.  And you can buy a strictly limited edition of Taking My Time here

 

NYC West 46th Street 1976
NYC West 46th Street 1976

What was the thing that inspired you most this year? 

I visited Cezanne's studio in Aix-en-Provence and had a revelation while there. It was based on his having painted his entire studio a fairly dark grey. This is a studio he designed and built in 1901, which has an enormous north light window almost the size of the studio itself, thus the light pours in. So why did he paint the studio space so dark? And he mixed the paint himself to get exactly the tone he wanted! The more I thought about the grey the more I felt that it was something essential to his concept of flattening the picture plane, and thereby setting up the beginning of modern painting, where the illusion of deep space and perspective gave way to the notion 'this is only paint on canvas'.

 

Grass growing among the leftover debris on the PATH train tracks (Spring 2002) - Joel Meyerowitz
Grass growing among the leftover debris on the PATH train tracks (Spring 2002) - Joel Meyerowitz

What was your personal working highlight this year? 

I made a leap from a lifetime of working on the street, or wherever I found myself - but always letting chance and time decide what the photograph was about - into working in an interior space, moving odd looking objects around on a table top with a dark background to see how they would 'speak to me.' Sometimes changes occur that just carry me away.

 

New York City 1975 - Joel Meyerowitz
New York City 1975 - Joel Meyerowitz

What can we expect from you in 2014? 

I have already shown some of this new work, and I will continue to both make and print more of it, but what is of dual importance to me will be the traveling of my retrospective show based on our book, Taking My Time, to some venues in Europe, and then a new installation for a museum in Roubaix, France; "la Piscine,' an amazing location that was once a swimming pool for an industrial town's factory workers, a crazy, wonderful place, where I'll show extremely large works, videos, and possibly a sculpture from a photograph of mine.

Check out Joel's books in our store including the truly monumental Taking My Time


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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