George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta

Feb 14, 2015 - Jul 31, 2015
Eisenberg Gallery

The photographer Donald Lokuta met the sculptor George Segal in 1984, when a friend who had modeled for Segal invited him to come to the studio to see the finished sculpture. At that first meeting, which included a studio tour, Lokuta arranged to come back to shoot a professional portrait. This marked the beginning of the project that would engage him for more than sixteen years and comprise nearly fifteen thousand negatives.

Not simply a photographer in the studio, Lokuta worked closely with the sculptor, helping to cast models and serving as a model himself. He paused often to take photographs of the artist, the works in process, and the labyrinthine space of the studio intending to make a fully three-dimensional portrait of the artist and his work. In the years that Lokuta photographed Segal, the sculptor produced the first bronze casts of his figural groups; experimented with relief sculpture, still life, and photography; and returned to drawing. While photography’s seeming transparency lets us imagine that we are looking at Segal in his studio as we would have seen him, in fact, we are privileged to see a view of the artist that was Lokuta’s own view. Providing insights into Segal’s life and work, these photographs by Lokuta embody a long-term collaborative project that knitted friendship and photography together.   

The first installment of this two-part exhibition, which includes a selection of approximately 45 photographs, is on view from February 14 to May 17, 2015. It was organized by students from Inside the Art Museum: A Curator’s Perspective , a Byrne First-Year Seminar taught by Donna Gustafson, the Zimmerli’s Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator, in the fall of 2014. The students in the seminar researched the artists, visited the Segal Studio, selected photographs, wrote labels and exhibition texts, and planned the installation. Their selection of photographs considers images of George Segal beyond the walls of the studio; the artist at work on specific pieces; Segal with friends, family, and models; and the studio as a subject for Lokuta’s camera lens. 

A second installment of photographs focusing more deeply on George Segal in the studio and curated by Kate Scott, PhD Candidate in Art History at Rutgers University, opens on May 23 and remains on view until July 31, 2015. 

A book with an essay by Donna Gustafson and contributions from Suzanne Delehanty, Marti Mayo, and Robert Pinsky accompanies the exhibition. The book is made possible by the George and Helen Segal Foundation with additional support from Suzanne Delehanty in memory of Helen Segal.  

For a preview of the exhibition, watch this video.

Donald Lokuta

Casting Miles Forst for The Red Scaffold, 1990

Silver gelatin print

11 x 14 in. (29 x 36 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and hpgrp GALLERY, NEW YORK