Michael Dweck is an American visual artist and filmmaker. Best known for his narrative photography, Dweck's work "explores ongoing struggles between identity and adaptation in endangered societal enclaves." In 2003, he became the first living photographer to have a solo exhibition at Sotheby's, and in 2012, he was the first American photographer to exhibit his work in Cuba since the beginning of the United States embargo in 1960. He lives and works in New York City and in Montauk, New York.
Born in 1957 in Brooklyn, Dweck grew up in Bellmore, Long Island, attending John F. Kennedy High School and then Brooklyn's Pratt Institute to study architecture, communication and fine arts. Upon graduation, Dweck founded Michael Dweck & Co., later known as Dweck & Campbell, winning a number of advertising industry awards before closing the firm in 2001 to pursue his artistic interests. Over the next decade, Dweck built a substantial reputation in fine art photography with works including The End: Montauk, N.Y. (2004,) Mermaids (2008,) and Habana Libre (2011.) In recent years Dweck's artwork has branched into other media including sculpture and filmmaking, with his first feature-length film The Last Race premiering at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Early life and education
Dweck was born in Brooklyn in 1957 to David and Sydelle Dweck. The family moved to Bellmore, a town on Long Island about 27 miles east of Manhattan, where David worked as accountant. Dweck's father presented him with his first camera on the occasion of the 1964 New York World's Fair.
Dweck graduated from Bellmore's John F. Kennedy High School in 1975. He then attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Initially an architecture student, Dweck switched to communication and fine arts in 1976 at the suggestion of the department, who told him that humor had no place in architecture after he chose to design a house for Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken for a school project. For another project, he designed an AT&T building to resemble a gigantic phone booth. After receiving his bachelor's degree in 1979, he went on to study with artist James Wines and with semiotician Marshall Blonsky at The New School for Social Research.