ArtBeat: Leonard Nimoy: Secret Selves @ MASS MoCA, North Adams and Leonard Nimoy: A Retrospective @ R. Michelson Galleries, Northampton

Leonard Nimoy: Secret Selves

Leonard Nimoy: Secret Selves

Apparently, it’s Leonard Nimoy week in Massachusetts. Boston-born Nimoy, best known as the actor/director of Star Trek fame, has been a practicing photographer for most of his life and in April of this year he announced his retirement from acting to concentrate on photography. This week, two solo exhibitions kick off to showcase his work.

Opening at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Sunday is “Secret Selves”, a series of recent photographs examining the lost, unseen or hidden self:

Inspired by Aristophanes’ theory that humans were once double-sided creatures with two heads and multiple limbs before Zeus cleaved man in two and left him forever struggling to be whole again, Nimoy’s photographs reveal his subjects’ other half. Shooting in nearby Northampton, Massachusetts, Nimoy recruited volunteers from the local community with an open call for portrait models willing to be photographed posed and dressed as their true or imagined “secret selves.” From the popular rock star and superman to the more unexpected dog lover and Pan, these various secret identities (off-line avatars as they might be described) offer an intimate, sometimes humorous, and often profound new look at the residents of Northampton and the inner yearnings and fantasies that we all share.

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The life-sized photographs are acompanied by a video documenting Nimoy’s conversations with his subjects and the poignant, personal moments he masterfully elicits from his unlikely muses.

Note: To attend the artist reception and show preview on Saturday, you must be a member of MASS MoCA.

Additional note: Sorry fanboys and girls, there’s also this, from the MASS MoCA website:

Mr. Nimoy is signing 100 copies of the catalog Secret Selves, which will be available for purchase at Hardware: The MASS MoCA Store beginning at 4 p.m. on July 31. (Please note that he will not be signing books or autographs during the opening reception of the show.) Please also note that Mr. Nimoy will not sign any merchandise or Star Trek memorabilia at the museum; any such merchandise brought to the museum on July 31 will be checked at the door for the duration of the event.

If you’re looking to purchase prints or obtain a catalog with a personalized inscription, you’ll want to head over to the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, which is hosting a retrospective of Nimoy’s photographs, with work from his series “Secret Selves,” “The Full Body Project,” “Shekhina,” “The Black and White Series” and “Self Portraits.” The show opens with an artist reception tomorrow (Thursday) from 6-8pm.

Leonard Nimoy: Secret Selves @ MASS MoCA, North Adams. Exhibit opens Sunday, August 1. Artist reception: Saturday, July 31, 4-7pm. (Through December 31, 2010)

Leonard Nimoy: A Retrospective @ R. Michelson Galleries, Northampton. Exhibit opens Thursday, July 29. Artist reception: Thursday, July 29, 6-8pm. (Through October 31, 2010).

Leonard Nimoy interview about Secret Selves @ A.V.Club
Leonard Nimoy biography and image galleries @ R. Michelson Galleries
Secret Selves preview @ The New York Times

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