Photographer Judy Dater kicks off two new exhibits at Kinsey Institute

Guest post courtesy of newsroom colleague Tracy James, who typically blogs at Health and Vitality:

Judy Dater, considered one of the most significant photographers of the modern era, is presenting “Judy Dater – Memories & Reminiscences,” at 4 p.m. Friday, April 12, in Room 15 of the School of Fine Arts. Following her talk, two new exhibits open at the Kinsey Institute, with the exhibit “Face Value” including perhaps Dater’s best known portrait: “Imogen and Twinka, Yosemite, 1974.”

“Imogen and Twinka” is captivating, and not just because of the gorgeous naked woman leaning against the mammoth tree. In the photograph, a grandmotherly Imogen Cunningham, also a noted photographer, looks around the tree at model Twinka Thiebaud, a smiling wood nymph who returns her gaze. The image was the first full frontal female nude to be published in Life magazine.

Self-Portrait and Rain

Judy Dater’s “Self-Portrait & Rain, 1982.”

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction is the primary sponsor of this talk, along with the IU Art Museum, Department of Gender Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies. The talk also received financial support from Horizons of Knowledge.

The new exhibits, “Face Value: Portraits from The Kinsey Institute” and “Casual Encounters,” run through Aug. 30. “Face Value” also includes “Ties that Bind,” a self-portrait of Dater. An opening reception will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday in The Kinsey Institute Gallery in Morrison Hall.

Catherine Johnson-Roehr, curator of art, artifacts and photographs at The Kinsey Institute, answers some questions about Dater’s talk and the exhibits.

What makes Judy Dater special, in your opinion?
Judy Dater is best known for her work done in the 1970s and 1980s, when she was exploring feminist ideas in her portraits of both women and men as well as a series of self-portraits. Now it is not uncommon for a female artist to photograph the nude figure, but Judy was doing figure studies of both men and women from the start of her career in the 1960s. One of her influential projects was a book titled “Women and Other Visions,” published in 1975. This was a collaborative effort with Jack Welpott, another highly regarded photographer who received his MFA from Indiana University in 1959. Both artists photographed women and published their images side by side in the book, allowing viewers to consider whether there is a difference between the male and female gaze in art.

What will she be talking about? The art of her photography? Her background? Politics? What kind of audience so you think would most appreciate her talk?
Judy will discuss her interesting life and lengthy career as a fine artist; she studied photography in the early 1960s, so she’s been active for more than five decades. She’ll be showing slides of work produced throughout her career. I don’t expect politics to play a large role in her talk. I heard her speak at the opening of her show at an LA gallery last year; she’s very engaging, and I’m sure a wide audience would enjoy her presentation (students, faculty, staff, Kinsey fans, anyone interested in photography).

Does The Kinsey Institute have any of her photographs in its collections besides “Imogen and Twinka, Yosemite”?
We also have one self-portrait, and a collection of her very early work, donated in 1965.

What would you like to point out about the exhibits?
“Face Value” will feature portraits by some of the most significant photographers in The Kinsey Institute’s art collection. In addition to Judy Dater, we will be exhibiting prints by Wilhelm von Gloeden, George Platt Lynes, Arnold Newman, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Doris Ulmann, Joel-Peter Witkin, and others. The exhibition will also include drawings, prints, and sculpture from The Kinsey Institute collections. While “Face Value” presents the individual as seen through the eyes of artists, “Casual Encounters” takes the opposite approach, with its focus on chance meetings by anonymous characters.

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