The gallery presents a selection of Ira Cohen’s black and white and mylar photographs in the Project Room, to coincide with Ira’s participation in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Day For Night.
Noted also as a Poet, Filmmaker and Keeper of the Akashic Record, Cohen has spent over thirty years capturing images of shamanic splendor, archetypal images of the unconscious. Following on from Ira’s debut solo exhibition at the gallery in 2001, this exhibition includes portraits of leading figures of the counterculture, shots from his years in India and Nepal, and his mylar images of the world behind the mirror.
Masks, skulls and mirrors recur throughout Cohen’s images, reminding us of the power and possibility of transformation and revelation. His subjects are Initiates, a tribe of yogis, literati, divas and tricksters, including legends such as Jack Smith, Jimi Hendrix, William Burroughs and Eugene Ionesco. Cohen’s camera documents the timeless netherworld of dreams, dope and the divine, the world of esoteric ritual and disguise, and the magical theatre of street life and self-awareness. Here we find the poetry of life – sublime, humorous and deadly.
A native New Yorker, he has also lived in Tangier, Amsterdam and Katmandu. He is considered the Father of Mylar Photography, developing a unique style with the use of bendable mirrors. He has travelled worldwide as a poet, has been translated into several languages and has worked extensively as a publisher and editor. His film, The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda has won critical acclaim, and was presented on March 17 as part of the Whitney Biennial’s film program. It is scheduled to play again on Friday May 12.
Ira will be giving a poetry reading at the gallery on an upcoming date (soon to be announced) during the exhibit. Two of Ira’s mylar photographs, presented for the first time in light boxes, can be viewed at the Whitney Museum of American Art until May 28, 2006.
A catalog, CDs, DVDs and poetry books of Ira’s work are available at the gallery.