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“Revealed”: Jay Etkin’s Exhibition of Czech Artist’s Works

The exhibit closes January 2nd.

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If you saw some guy pointing a cardboard toilet paper tube at you, you'd probably laugh, ham it up, and go along on your way. That's what most of Czech outsider artist Miroslav Tichý's subjects did.

Jay Etkin of the Jay Etkin Gallery has an exhibition of drawings and photographs on loan from the Cavin-Morris Gallery. The New York gallery is known for exhibiting artists from around the world, specializing in self-taught artists who make art independently of the art world.

"I feel very honored to have these drawings and photographs," says Etkin. "Though I tried to get a homemade camera on loan, the Cavin-Morris Gallery turned me down. I don't blame them."

Miroslav Tichý’s camera - COURTESY OF JAY ETKIN GALLERY
  • Courtesy of Jay Etkin Gallery
  • Miroslav Tichý’s camera

Once he discovered the works, Etkin wanted Memphis to know this voyeur photographer who took thousands of pictures of women in his hometown in the Czech Republic. His cameras were constructed using cardboard tubes, tin cans, and other at-hand materials. Most of his subjects were unaware that they were being photographed, striking poses when they sighted Tichý, not realizing that the camera he carried was real.

The brilliance of the photographs is that they are skewed, spotted, and badly printed. His primitive equipment and a series of deliberate processing mistakes were meant to add poetic imperfections.

Tichý has said, "If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world."

Stop by Etkin's gallery to bid the works farewell and revel in the perfectness of imperfection.

Closing reception for "Revealed," Jay Etkin Gallery, 942 Cooper, Saturday, Jan. 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free.

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