Michael Stipe: Even the Birds Gave Pause
Artbook /D.A.P

Michael Stipe: Even the Birds Gave Pause

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The artistic polymath behind R.E.M. explores the potency of portraiture

Before his wildly successful foray into music—as frontman of the 1990s international sensation R.E.M.—Michael Stipe was a visual arts student at the University of Georgia in Athens. After the band dissolved in 2011, Stipe returned to his first love: generating illustrations, photography and sculptures. His diaristic photographs are perhaps his best known works, and he has previously published three photobooks with Damiani that largely consisted of portraits.
In this fourth publication, portraiture once again takes focus. This time, however, Stipe articulates the form through a plethora of mediums: including plaster, concrete, rotocast plastics, bookmaking, ceramics, video and darkroom photographic printing. The book privileges process over product, displaying a series of works in progress that continue an exploration of contemporary portraiture, instinct and abstraction. Classical and conceptual forms create a cohesive whole from seemingly disparate elements, culminating in an inclusive and complete vision, in which the familiar and unfamiliar are granted equal grounding. The volume is published in conjunction with Stipe’s solo exhibition of his artwork at the ICA Milano, which opened in December 2023 and will be up through March 2024.
The New York City–based artist Michael Stipe (born 1960) studied photography and painting before leaving school upon the formation of R.E.M. The sensibility that he began to develop during his time as an art student transferred to the spectrum of his work for R.E.M., from art directing all graphic, video and stage designs, to writing, composing and performance, and his iconoclastic personal style.

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