Today @ AK
Home > Exhibitions > Ken Heyman: Pop Portraits

Ken Heyman: Pop Portraits

in collaboration with CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Friday, June 15–Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ken Heyman (American, born 1930). Andy Warhol with Self-Portraits, 1964.
Silver gelatin print, 16 x 20" (40.6 x 50.8 cm.). Image courtesy the artist.

While Ken Heyman’s name may not be instantly familiar to most, his body of photographic work is extensive and has penetrated printed media and popular culture for the past fifty years. As a photographer for Magnum Photos (an international photographic organization) Heyman shot more than 150 photojournalist assignments for Life magazine and is perhaps best known for his lengthy, twenty-year collaboration with well-known anthropologist Dr. Margaret Mead. Heyman, who was a student of Mead’s at Columbia College, submitted a photographic essay to fulfill a term paper assignment in one of her courses. Impressed by what she saw, Mead invited Heyman to accompany her on a trip to Bali after his graduation. With Mead, Heyman traveled the world and documented it all through the lens of his camera. Together, they co-authored two books - Family,1965 and World Enough,1976 - both of which were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes. Their pioneering partnership helped define the course of visual anthropology and forever altered the public’s perspective of the world and the people who inhabit it.

Throughout his career, Heyman has continually captured the human psyche and the poignancy of everyday life. He has an uncanny ability to capture humans in their most honest state. His most recent work includes Hipshot, an innovative and compelling series for which Heyman literally shot from his hip, one-handed, with an auto focus camera, resulting in candid, simple, and pure images that peel away the layers between photographer and subject.

In 1964, Heyman was invited by Basic Books Publishing to collaborate on the subject of pop art. In the fall of 1964, Heyman spent three days photographing such artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, and Tom Wesselmann. All artists were photographed in their studios except for Warhol, who was photographed in his home, and Oldenburg, who posed in a department store. The resulting book entitled Pop Art was published the same year and included a text by noted author and cultural historian John Rublowsky. It was the first book on the subject of pop art and its groundbreaking approach set out to analyze the artists, their sources, and those who collected their work. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery will exhibit twenty-four works from the Pop Art series, as well as a selection of photographs of artists from the permanent collection.

This exhibition is part of the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in collaboration with CEPA Gallery, Buffalo. The work presented at CEPA Gallery highlights Heyman’s early journalistic and anthropological work, including images from the Family and Hipshots series.

Holly E. Hughes, Associate Curator