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Jay DeFeo, Self-Portrait with Camera, Larkspur Studio, CA, 1972
Self-Portrait with Camera, Larkspur Studio, CA , 1972, contact print detail.

Leah Levy, Executive Director of the Jay DeFeo Foundation, joins Natalie Dupêcher, Assistant Curator of Modern Art, for a conversation about the photo-based work of American artist Jay DeFeo (1929–1989). They discuss works by DeFeo on view in the Menil’s exhibition Photography and the Surreal Imagination and in the Menil’s permanent collection. Levy and Dupêcher also consider how the artist adopted and transformed Surrealist strategies throughout her boldly imaginative career.

Jay DeFeo was a pivotal figure in the California Bay Area arts community from the mid-1950s until her death in 1989. By experimenting with unorthodox techniques and materials and pushing the boundaries of traditional media, she created a widely varied, poetic body of work that explored abstraction, memory, and totemic personal objects, evading easy categorization. In 2013, her work was the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

The program will livestream directly on the linked page or the Menil’s YouTube channel on Wednesday, August 19, at 6 p.m. CDT. No login or RSVP is required.

You are invited to submit your questions for the speakers in advance and during the program to