Michael Dweck

Michael Dweck

Michael Dweck
Born September 26, 1957 (1957-09-26) (age 54)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Field Fine art photography
Website http://michaeldweck.com/

Michael Dweck (born 26 September 1957) is a visual artist known for his suggestive photographic style.[1] The concept of the beautiful, and the aesthetics of beauty are important themes in much of his work, which he explores through figurative and abstract means. In 2003, he was the first living photographer to have a solo show at Sotheby's in New York.[2][3][4] He currently lives and works in New York City and Montauk, NY.


As visual artist

While his education was initially based in architecture and then communication/fine arts, and his first career was in advertising, Michael Dweck began his work in earnest in visual arts, the career for which he is most widely known, around 2002.

The End: Montauk, N.Y.

After closing his advertising agency, in 2002 Dweck began to photograph subjects and scenes around Montauk, focusing on its surfing subculture. The photos evoked "the paradise of summer, youth, and erotic possibility, and of community and camaraderie in a perfect setting."[5] The work is a blend of nostalgia, documentary, and fantasy.

Michael Dweck preparing his Sotheby's installation, New York, September 2003
Dweck's Sonya, Poles on exhibit at The Louvre in 2004

Dweck would parlay this collection of art photos into the 2003 solo show at Sotheby's in New York and the 2004 first published book of his photographs titled The End: Montauk, N.Y., published by Harry N. Abrams.[6] The 5,000-print run was sold out in less than three weeks.[7] The brisk sell-out of the book was attributed to its local interest, the beauty of the photography, and the allure of the nude models.[6]

The "signature image" of the book is Sonya, Poles, described as a portrait of "ecstatic summer" featuring a young woman in "full naked glory... breasts aloft" running across the beach, surfboard tucked under her opposing arm.[8] One print of this photo sold for over $17,000,[9] and then another sold for $30,000.[10]

Many of the photos from The End were exhibited at numerous galleries and solo exhibitions in New York, Belgium, San Francisco, Monaco, and the Blitz Gallery in Tokyo, and the Gallery Orchard in Nagoya.[11] Dweck's work was also presented at art fairs in Paris and Bologna.

Dweck himself worried about the allure of his photographs calling more unwanted attention to the quiet culture of Montauk.

That’s the way it always goes, isn’t it? Everyone who makes it to the fallout shelter tries to bolt the door behind him. It’s like some graffiti I read in the stall at the Shagwong Tavern. "Welcome to Montauk. Take a picture and get the f--- out."

Here are my pictures. Please, please stay away just a little longer.[12]

In July 2011, it was reported that Kanye West's video director scouted Montauk as a possible site for a music video. She was seen toting Dweck's book, looking for the same locations featured in the work.[13]


In 2005, Dweck released a series of triptychs entitled Three, which were exhibited in Tokyo.[14] Ninety images set on 15 foldout pages, only one hundred copies of Three were printed, each signed and numbered.[15]


At about that time, the artist's attention turned to extensive waterborne photography that would culminate in his second published book, Mermaids, released in 2008 by Ditch Plains Press.[16] The work, stemming from Dweck's fondness for water and the beauty he saw around it, celebrates the form of women who appear like mermaids to be very much at home underwater.[17] Dweck captured many of the photos at the Weeki Wachee Springs, where trained underwater "mermaids" perform. One gelatin silver print from the collection sold at auction in 2009 at Christie’s in London for over $17,000.[18] The Mermaids art was then featured by Playboy under the title "Sirens' Dance", with an introduction by Christopher Sweet that described Dweck's mermaids as "lovely, aloof and bare".[19] Photo art from Mermaids was exhibited at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, London, Belgium, Hamburg, and Tokyo.[20]

Habana Libre

Dweck has authored a 2011 pictorial book, Habana Libre, about the privileged class in modern Cuba. The book includes rare interviews with the sons of Fidel Castro and of Che Guevara, and it focuses largely on the "creative culture" of Cuba.[21] The book was featured in The New York Times, which documents Dweck's eight return visits to the island.[22] A review in Miami New Times notes that "it's hard to tell if [Dweck is] glamorizing the privilege or slyly exposing the hypocrisy of the myth of communist equality".[23] Highlighting the book, a feature pictorial story, "Elit Küba", appeared in the Turkish magazine Tempo.[24][25] An opinion column in El País noted how the sons of revolutionaries had undeniably broken a tacit pact with their elders, not to give aid to an American documentary of their lives; but perhaps they could not stand the constraint of the political party any longer.[26]

Other works

Snoecks published a series of Dweck's work titled Sex Bombs which features photographs of nuclear and other military missiles.[27] Dweck also produced another project that features oversized Polaroid instant camera pictures, called Giant Polaroids: Pin Up.[28] The Polaroids were taken with a rare Polaroid 20x24 large format camera.

Early life and career in advertising

Early life

Dweck was born in Brooklyn to David and Sydelle Dweck.[1] He was raised in Bellmore, New York,[1] a town on Long Island about 27 miles east of Manhattan and close to beaches.


Dweck graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, New York in 1975.[1] He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, first as an architecture student, then switching to communication and fine arts in 1976. After graduating in 1979, he went on to study with artist James Wines and with semiotician Marshall Blonsky at The New School for Social Research.[1][29]

Advertising career

In 1993, Dweck founded the advertising agency Dweck & Campbell with Lori Campbell. In a 1998 interview with CNN Money, Dweck was quoted as saying "Advertising is the quintessential sitcom. The love affairs with clients, the breakups, the coming back together again and, of course, the constant reruns."[30] A highlight for the firm in 1998 was its Dial-a-Mattress television commercial featuring an angry, man-sized squirrel who wants to hibernate for the winter. The ad, noted for its comic abrasiveness, was pulled from the airwaves after only 13 days.[31] But it went on to win a coveted Gold Lion award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival,[32] and it was selected for inclusion in both the Gale Group publication of the 100 most influential marketing campaigns of the year[33] and the Boards magazine Top 10 Boards awards of 1999.[34]

After the agency won the American Association of Advertising Agencies 1999 award for small agencies,[35] Campbell departed the firm, and it was renamed Dweck, Inc.[36] The firm continued with its "usual creative mischief", doubling its previous year's billings to $50 million.[31]

In 2001, Dweck closed his company and left advertising to concentrate on photography. He was quoted in The New York Times as saying he wanted to "concentrate on what I love, which is creative development."[37]

Published works

Noteworthy photographs

  • Sonya, Poles - Montauk, NY, 2002. Sold at auction in 2009 at Christie’s in London for over $17,000.[9] In March 2010, Dweck filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a New York based clothing company, accusing them of using his Sonya, Poles photograph in their advertisements without permission.[41][42][43] Another print then sold in 2011 for $30,000.[10]
  • Lilla - Napeague Beach, Montauk, NY, 2002. Sold at auction for £2,200.[44]
  • Dave and Pam in their Caddy - Montauk, NY, 2002. Sold at auction in 2009 at Christie’s in London for over $12,000.[45]
  • Mermaid 1 - Amagansett, NY, 2005. Sold at auction in 2009 at Christie’s in London for over $17,000.[18]
  • Mermaid 18
  • Surf’s Up - Montauk, NY, 2006. Sold at auction in 2009 at Christie’s in London for over $32,000.[46]


  • December 30, 2010-February 15, 2011: Michael Dweck: Giant Pin-Up Polaroids, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery. Knokke, Belgium.
  • December 9, 2011-January 28, 2012: Michael Dweck: The End and Habana Libre, Staley Wise Gallery. New York, NY.
  • December 2, 2011-February 25, 2012: Habana Libre, Blitz Gallery. Tokyo, Japan.
  • November 17-December 8, 2011: Michael Dweck: Island Life, Izzy Gallery. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • September 8-October 29, 2011: Habana Libre, MODERNISM. San Francisco, CA.
  • September 16-October 25, 2010: American Mermaid, Acte 2 Galerie. Paris, France, in collaboration with Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery.
  • June 24-August 28, 2010: Michael Dweck: Paradise Lost, MODERNISM. San Francisco, CA.
  • January 24-March 14, 2009: Mermaids, Gallery Orchard. Nagoya, Japan.
  • October 15-December 15, 2008: Mermaids, Blitz Gallery. Tokyo, Japan.
  • September 19–November 10, 2008: Mermaids, Robert Morat Galerie. Hamburg, Germany.
  • September 13-October 4, 2008: Michael Dweck: Mermaids, The End, and Flowers, Keszler Gallery. Southampton, NY.
  • June 19-September 1, 2008: Mermaids, Staley Wise Gallery. New York, NY.
  • May 15-September 1, 2008: Mermaids, Delphine Pastor Galery, Monte Carlo, Monaco in collaboration with Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery.
  • March 1-April 20, 2008: Michael Dweck, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery. Knokke, Belgium.
  • November 17-December 28, 2006: 'A Surfer's Life, Nagoya, Tokyo, Japan.
  • May 30-July 15, 2006: A Surfer's Life, Blitz House. Meguro-ku and Shimomeguro. Tokyo, Japan.
  • April 1-29, 2006: A Surfer's Life, Gallery Orchard, Oosu, Naka-Ku, Japan.
  • September 30-November 15, 2005: Three, Aoyama. Tokyo, Japan.
  • September 2003: The End: Montauk, NY, Sotheby's. New York, NY.


  • 1998 - Gold Lion - Cannes International Festival for Arctic Ground Squirrel[32][47]
  • 2000 - Advertising Excellence - AICP - Work entered into the permanent collection of the Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art, New York.[48]

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e "Michael Dweck on artnet". artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/artist/424449954/michael-dweck.html. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Michael Dweck in artnet Monographs". Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/awc/michael-dweck.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  3. ^ Ignacio Villarreal. "Michael Dweck's American Mermaids Opens at acte2galerie in Paris". Artdaily.com. http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=40887&int_modo=2. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  4. ^ "Sothebys, New York, 2003". Michaeldweck.com. http://www.michaeldweck.com/index.php?option=com_igallery&view=gallery&id=8&Itemid=18. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  5. ^ "Michael Dweck in artnet Monographs". Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/usernet/awc/awc_history_view.asp?aid=425452479&info_type_id=9. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  6. ^ a b "BOOKS; A Tale of Montauk And Naked Women - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 2004-07-18. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/18/nyregion/books-a-tale-of-montauk-and-naked-women.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  7. ^ Mead, Julia C. (2004-12-05). "BOOKS - For This Publisher, the East End Is a Profitable Subject - NYTimes.com". Long Island (NY); Hamptons (NY): New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9400E3DA1E3EF936A35751C1A9629C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=al. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  8. ^ "Michael Dweck.". Excelencias Magazines. http://excellencesmagazines.com/Arte/English/SaveArticle.aspx?a=276737. Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Michael Dweck (b.1957) Sonya, Poles, Montauk, NY, 2002". Christies.com. http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5219856. Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  10. ^ a b "Lot 76, Michael Dweck, Sonya, Poles, Montauk, NY, 2002". Phillips de Pury. http://www.phillipsdepury.com/auctions/lot-detail/MICHAEL-DWECK/NY040111/76/1/1/12/detail.aspx. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  11. ^ "Gallery Orchard, Nagoya, Tokyo, 2006". Michaeldweck.com. http://www.michaeldweck.com/index.php?option=com_igallery&view=gallery&id=42&Itemid=101. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  12. ^ "Michael Dweck; The End: Montauk, N.Y. (essay)". Michaeldweck.com. http://www.michaeldweck.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=59. Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  13. ^ "Montauk Look", New York Post, July 3, 2011.
  14. ^ "Michael Dweck in artnet Monographs". Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/awc/michael-dweck.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  15. ^ "Three 2006". Michaeldweck.com. http://michaeldweck.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=102&Itemid=132. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  16. ^ a b "Michael Dweck". Artphotoexpo.com. http://www.artphotoexpo.com/photographer.php?id=56. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  17. ^ Ignacio Villarreal. "Michael Dweck’s American Mermaids Opens at acte2galerie in Paris". Artdaily.com. http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=40887&int_modo=2. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  18. ^ a b "Michael Dweck (b.1957) Mermaid 1, Amagansett, NY, 2005". Christies.com. http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5219859. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  19. ^ "Sirens' Dance: Underwater, the supernatural beauty of Michael Dweck's mermaids will leave you out of breath". Playboy. http://www.playboy.com/arts-entertainment/features/sirens-dance/sirens-dance-p1.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  20. ^ "Michael Dweck – Mermaids (press release)". Ditch Plains Press. http://www.ditchplainspress.com/release.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  21. ^ a b "Habana Libre". Damiani. http://www.amazon.co.jp/Habana-Libre-Michael-Dweck/dp/8862081847. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  22. ^ "What Would Che Say?". The New York Times. 2011-07-27. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/fashion/habana-libre-looks-at-cubas-boldface-names.html. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  23. ^ "Habana Libre: New Photo Book Shows Fidel and Che's Sons Living in Luxury in Cuba". Miami New Times. 2011-07-27. http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/07/habana_libre_new_photo_book_sh.php. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  24. ^ Sogukdere, Ozlem (2011). "Elit Küba". Tempo (Dogan Media Group): 118–125. doi:August 2011. http://www.tempoonline.com.tr/. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  25. ^ "ELİT KÜBA". Milliyet. 2011-09-08. http://cadde.milliyet.com.tr/2011/09/04/HaberDetay/1423825/elit-kuba. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  26. ^ "En el árbol dinástico de la revolución". El País. 2011-09-05. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/opinion/arbol/dinastico/revolucion/elpepiopi/20110905elpepiopi_4/Tes. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  27. ^ "Michael Dweck – Snoecks 2011". Snoecks.com. http://www.snoecks.be/snoecks2011/fotografie/Michael_Dweck.html. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  28. ^ "Michael Dweck Catalogue". Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/usernet/awc/awc_history_view.asp?aid=425452479&info_type_id=9. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  29. ^ "Michael Dweck". Staleywise.com. http://www.staleywise.com/collection/michaeldweck/michael_dweck411.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  30. ^ "Ads about nothing?". CNN Money. 8 April 1998. http://money.cnn.com/1998/04/08/bizbuzz/seinfeld/. Retrieved 12 November 2010. ""Advertising is the quintessential sitcom," Dweck told the Times. "The love affairs with clients, the breakups, the coming back together again and, of course, the constant reruns."" 
  31. ^ a b Tim Nudd (6 September 1999). "Creative Profile: Comic Bigwig". AdWeek. http://www.adweek.com/aw/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=516788. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  32. ^ a b 29 June 1998, 12:00am (1998-06-29). "Nike skateboarders win Cannes Film Grand Prix - advertising news - Campaign". Campaignlive.co.uk. http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/rss/46589/Nike-skateboarders-win-Cannes-Film-Grand-Prix/. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  33. ^ Riggs, Thomas (2000). Major Marketing Campaigns Annual. Farmington, Michigan: Gale Group. pp. 500. ISBN 9780787638153. 
  34. ^ "The 1999 Boards Awards". Boards Magazine (Brunico Communications). 1999-12-01. http://www.boardsmag.com/articles/magazine/19991201/awards.html?page=2. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  35. ^ "O'Toole Creative Awards Winners & Finalists". American Association of Advertising Agencies. 2008. http://www.aaaa.org/agency/creative/awards/Documents/otoole.pdf. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  36. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING -- ADDENDA; Co-Founder Departs The Dweck Agency". The New York Times. 29 April 1999. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/29/business/the-media-business-advertising-addenda-co-founder-departs-the-dweck-agency.html. Retrieved 15 November 2010. "Ms. Campbell, 36, had been partner and creative director at Dweck & Campbell, which has gained a reputation in the industry for unconventional creative work." 
  37. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING -- ADDENDA; Dweck to Shut Doors After a 9-Year Run". The New York Times. 29 June 2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/29/business/the-media-business-advertising-addenda-dweck-to-shut-doors-after-a-9-year-run.html. Retrieved 15 November 2010. "Dweck in New York, an agency known for producing award-winning, attention-getting campaigns for smaller advertisers, said yesterday that it would close after nine years." 
  38. ^ MEAD, JULIA C. (2004-07-18). "BOOKS; A Tale of Montauk And Naked Women". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30F16FE3C5E0C7B8DDDAE0894DC404482. Retrieved 2010-11-17. "At once nostalgic and cunningly commercial, The End purports to reminisce about all that Montauk has lost since the 1970's when Mr. Dweck, who lives in Glen Cove, first found it." 
  39. ^ "The End: Montauk, N.Y. 2004". Michaeldweck.com. http://michaeldweck.com/index.php?option=com_igallery&view=gallery&id=20&Itemid=137. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  40. ^ http://www.danshamptons.com/content/danspapers/issue07_2007/15.html
  41. ^ "Photog sues Malibu Denim over purloined pic". New York Post. 23 March 2002. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/jeans_display_naked_thievery_suit_JBM9bdbXs50kUjsBp5jsKI. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  42. ^ "Lawsuit Summary - Michael Dweck v. Diana Amadi et al". rfcexpress.com. 24 March 2010. http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuit.asp?id=55752. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  43. ^ "Dweck v. Amadi et al :: Justia Dockets & Filings". justia.com. 22 March 2002. http://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-york/nysdce/1:2010cv02577/360398/. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  44. ^ "MICHAEL DWECK, Lilla, Napeague, Montauk, New York". LiveAuctioneers.com. http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8063605. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  45. ^ "Michael Dweck (b.1957) Dave and Pam in their Caddy, Montauk, NY, 2002". Christies.com. http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5219857. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  46. ^ "Michael Dweck (b.1957) Surf's Up, Montauk, NY, 2006". Christies.com. http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5219858. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  47. ^ "Goodby Wins TV Grand Prix". Adweekmedia.com. 1998-06-29. http://www.adweekmedia.com/aw/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=529587. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  48. ^ "Michael Dweck list on artnet". artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/Galleries/Artists_detail.asp?G=&gid=425054379&which=&aid=424449954&ViewArtistBy. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 

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