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Selecting the best of New York City’s arts scene

Being aware of yourself means not only knowing you are alive, but that someday you will die. Each thought enhances the other, giving shape and meaning to life. It’s a paradox that appeals to artists, giving an endless supply of ideas to play with, although executing the concepts can be tricky. One person who has consistently gotten it right throughout the decades is Duane Michals, whose photography embraces and rejoices in the absurdity of existence. This fall New York has two exhibitions featuring his work: Duane Michals: Mischievous Eye at D C Moore Gallery and the career retrospective The Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan at the Morgan Library and Museum. Each show displays Michals’ ability to meld humor and sadness, without being sentimental or cruel, as so many contemporary artists seem to do. The result is much of the work feels personal and universal, giving viewers a glimpse into a unique mind grappling with eternal questions of life and death.