The seductive glamour of Italy at the height of the “dolce vita” in documentary photography with a Surrealistic look
Milton Gendel : A Surreal Life traces the work of the American photographer and art critic Milton Gendel (1918–2018)—from his affiliation with André Breton and the Surrealist exiles in New York in the forties and in China during World War II to his fertile connection to Italy, where he has lived for over sixty years. He documented Sicilian agricultural workers and market scenes and became a vital catalyst for the exchanges between American and Italian art as the Rome correspondent for ART News.
His iconic portraits refer to such artists as Alberto Burri, Alexander Calder, and Willem de Kooning; art world luminaries like Leo Castelli and Peggy Guggenheim; and writers such as Iris Origo or Evelyn Waugh. Reasserting Rome as a cosmopolitan cultural laboratory during the postwar period, Gendel reveals affinities with documentary photography and Neorealist Italian cinema filtered through his Surrealist origins.