October 2016


Peter Benson Miller - Cy Twombly and Photography

  • Monday, 3 October 2016 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room
Cy Twombly, Light Flowers VI, Gaeta, 2008, Color Dry Print. Courtesy Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio

Celebrated American artist Cy Twombly, who lived and worked in Rome for much of his life, tended to express himself in the most elemental, even deliberately archaic, artistic techniques, striving, in works on paper and on canvas, for a completely unaffected and unmediated drawing style. He also made photographs throughout his career, although none were exhibited publicly or published prior to 1993. If photography tends toward the particular and the explicit, Twombly’s paintings and drawings pursue the elusive and the inchoate. At first glance, these two qualities appear almost impossible to reconcile in a single artist, especially one with Twombly's stature and singular vision.

Considering Twombly’s polaroid photographs as an archive, a body of images in close dialogue with his own artistic project and the wider context offered by the history of photography, helps to unravel this apparent paradox and provides insight into the artist’s working method and the themes he explored in a variety of artistic media. For a famously tight-lipped artist, the photographic archive is a vital, if still under exploited resource for information about his process, overall aesthetic and sources of inspiration, and helps us to reconstruct states of mind and specific sensory experiences that he sought to convey in enigmatic works of art.

Peter Benson Miller is the Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

The shoptalk will be held in English. You can watch this event livestreamed at

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.