Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Old-Timer Exhibitionist: Karl Katz

Film still of Karl Katz by Rachel Seed.

Production still by Nikol David.

It was a pleasure and an honor to spend an afternoon with Karl Katz, who at an advanced age, still turns up at his midtown post at Muse Film and Television to executive produce such knockout documentary films as Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Herb and Dorothy.

Katz, Conceptualist and Executive Film Producer, was on my interview list due to his early and close relationship with Cornell Capa and his notable influence on the shaping of the International Center of Photography (ICP). Sharp and with a lively twinkle in his eye, Katz recalled his days as Director of the Jewish Museum and of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Office of Film and Television, when he and Capa collaborated on groundbreaking photography exhibitions which showcased Israeli and Jewish photographers and photography and put them on display in New York City.

He counted "Jackie O" amongst his close friends and revealed how her passionate early support of photography and ICP (in the form of an anonymous New Yorker article that didn't fool many people) contributed to the smashing launch of the new institution, at a time when photography had yet to be taken seriously by most as an artform. She even attended Katz's 1970s wedding at ICP, unintentionally upstaging his big day with her celebrity.

In addition to various upcoming film projects, Katz is currently working on publishing a book about his life, titled, The Exhibitionist. May we all live as long and as fully.

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