Michael Zwack Dies

BY Katrina Kufer / May 15 2017 / 19:10 PM

The New-York based artist passes away at 67 from lung cancer

Michael Zwack Dies
Photography by Grace Villamil
Michael Zwack looking at his portrait taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. 2012.

Associated with the Pictures Generation (1974-84), Zwack worked within a group of artists including Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Laurie Simmons, who used the principles of Minimal and Conceptual art towards imagery. With notions of pure idea or linguistic proposition, they explored how photographic images shaped perceptions of reality, and their works were lauded as responses to the image and media dominated atmosphere in continental America in the 1970s.

Zwack’s body of work often had a strong emotive or spiritual element – his sea or forest landscapes were often superimposed with ancient symbols that induced a meditative quality. In the 1990s, Zwack delved deeper into phenomenological concerns and he started on an immersive journey that would result in his attainment of a high level Haitian Vodou Priest. “I want to seduce people into worlds that they may not ordinarily take themselves - into a world of morality, a world of humanity, where everything reverberates with potential meanings; a place where everything is alive, a place where it is difficult to deny reality,” he once explained.

Zwack also co-founded Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre with Sherman, Charles Clough, Nancy Dwyer and Robert Longo.