June 15, 2004

Fact Sheet


Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske
June 15-September 26, 2004, at the Getty Center


Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske
This new exhibition is the first comprehensive retrospective of Teske’s work, surveying the entire range of his 60-year career. Drawn chiefly from the Getty’s collection, many of the 128 works on view have never been published or exhibited, including a large body of prints recently acquired from Teske’s heirs.


Edmund Teske (1911–1996), one of the unheralded alchemists of 20th-century American photography, created photographs that transformed our perception and understanding of the visual world. He often experimented with chemical processes and combined images in his quest to create new realities and shape spirit into matter.


June 15–September 26, 2004


The Getty Center


Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske
By Julian Cox
This exhibition catalogue should become the standard monograph on Edmund Teske. Cox, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition, offers an extensive biocritical essay on the photographer, tracing his 60-year career. The book includes a chronology, exhibition history, selected bibliography, and an edited transcript of a conversation with artist George Herms, who was a close friend of Teske’s for 30 years.
Getty Publications
180 pages, 9x12 inches
127 illustrations
cloth $70.00; paper $40.00
Available at the Getty Bookstore, by calling 800-223-3431 or 310-440-7059, or online at

All events are free and take place in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations and information, please call 310-440-7300 or visit


Edmund Teske’s Los Angeles: An Evening of Spoken Word and Conversation
Wednesday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.
Presented by the Getty Research Institute
Photographer Edmund Teske’s life and work are intimately connected to the fabric of the city of Los Angeles. During the 1950s and 1960s, Teske was active in the L.A. avant-garde film, theater, and visual art scenes. This event features readings from Teske’s poetry and letters and a discussion among his friends and associates. Scheduled to appear are assemblage artist George Herms, actor Russ Tamblyn, photographer and collector Leland Rice, and Teske heirs Nils Vidstrand and Laurence Bump. The discussion is moderated by Julian Cox, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition.
Limit four seats per reservation. Reservations available beginning May 25 at 9:00 a.m.


Edmund Teske’s Los Angeles: Reflections on Film
Friday, June 25, 7:30 p.m.
Presented by the Getty Research Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum
Teske’s intensely personal and highly imaginative photography had a significant impact on the film community, and film had an equally important effect on him. This interchange will be examined through a screening of short films by James and John Whitney and Terry Sanders, and newly restored and seldom seen films by actor Russ Tamblyn and assemblage artist George Herms. A discussion follows with figures from both Hollywood and avant-garde circles, including Herms, Sanders, Tamblyn, and actor John Saxon, moderated by Rani Singh, research associate at the Getty Research Institute.
Limit four seats per reservation. Reservations available beginning May 25 at 9:00 a.m.


Friday, July 23, 7:00 p.m.
Julian Cox, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of Spirit into Matter, talks about the exhibition. Held in the Museum galleries, meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.


Thursdays, August 12 and August 19, 1:00 3:00 p.m.
Julian Cox, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition, and Amy Kesselhaut, gallery teacher at the J. Paul Getty Museum, conduct a two-session course related to the exhibition.
No experience necessary. Limited to 25 participants; course fee $20. Held in the Museum galleries. Reservations available beginning July 23 at 9:00 a.m.


John Hammond
Friday, September 10, 7:30 p.m.
John Hammond makes a special solo appearance at the Getty Center, performing songs from his latest album Ready for Love. Edmund Teske was a keen follower of blues and folk music, and he photographed John Hammond on a few occasions in the early 1970s after seeing him perform at a number of L.A. venues. The portraits he made of Hammond are in keeping with the spirit of his pictures of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott from the 1950s. Limit four seats per reservation. Reservations available beginning August 25 at 9:00 a.m.


The Brightness Beckons: Aging and Mortality as Themes in the Work of Edmund Teske, Wallace Berman and Jay De Feo
Sunday, September 12, 4:00 p.m.
Lecture by Richard Cándida Smith, professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.


Talks are held at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Museum galleries. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Friday, July 9
Nils Vidstrand is a fine art and commercial photographer and the co owner of the Edmund Teske archive. As Teske’s photographic assistant, model, and apprentice for 20 years, he will provide personal insights into Teske’s personality and creative process in his talk.
Friday, August 20
James Fee is a fine-art photographer who produces evocative and poetic work through subject and dark room manipulation, such as Teske uses in many of his works.


Close to Home: An American Album
October 12, 2004–January 16, 2005
Family activities are often commemorated by spontaneous photography. This exhibition looks at the family snapshot, featuring works made between about 1930 and 1970 by photographers untrained in the art of photography who focused on home, family, and community. The exhibition is divided into three sections: one devoted to the historical antecedents of family photographs, another to black-and-white snapshots created between 1930 and 1970, and a third to color images from the 1940s to the 1960s. An ode to the family album, this exhibition aims to elevate the general understanding of the value and importance of family photographs by establishing a variety of cultural and historic contexts for them. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

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Note to editors: Images available on request.


Tracy Gilbert
Getty Communications Dept.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Grant Program. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs are based at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Visiting the Getty Center
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