The discovery of never-before-seen artwork—vivid, psychedelic, treatment-texured, and intensely-colorful photographic prints and Polaroids—of a 1960s runaway housewife named Joan Archibald from Long Island, reborn in Palm Springs, by way of Malibu, as Kali.
Joan Archibald left her Long Island home and family in 1966, and ran away to the West Coast to reinvent herself as Kali and take up photography at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs. After palling around with the likes of Richard Chamberlain in Malibu, she moved to a house in Palm Springs once owned by Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, and began creating “Artography” in earnest: haunting portraits and double-exposed landscapes made with film, developed in her Roman bathtub, and finished by hand coloring with dyes, spray paint, and even dirt and bugs, in her swimming pool. Trippy, painterly, intensely colorful prints and later Polaroids were made and seldom seen outside a tight circle (one muse was a teenage Cindy Sherman). She published a few pieces in photo magazines, but by the late 70s locked the work away in suitcases inside her garage, never to be seen again for over 40 years.
Kali’s daughter, when cleaning out the house after her death, discovered the work and something more: journals and journals of photos from closed circuit TV monitors, copied and illustrated with diagrams, drawings, and coded notes: she had been housebound for years, convinced that aliens and supernatural beings were visiting, spooking, and tormenting her, perhaps trying to make contact.
The discovery of the work by Kali’s daughter Susan Archibald and her ex Len Prince is being heralded as a west coast version of the Vivian Maier discovery, and a limited edition release of a four-volume set of the work (Matt Tyrnauer essay monograph, Portraits and Landscapes, Polaroids, and Outer Space) was published to wild acclaim in the fall of 2021 in an edition of 600 (Kali Deluxe Edition, powerHouse Books).
Gathered here in a trade photo book for the very first time, Kali’s prodigious output, which was rarely seen in the 60s and 70s and then locked away for 40 years, is nothing less than “California’s Vivian Maier” according to Matt Tyrnauer in his substantial essay in this new book.
The first major museum exhibition to show Kali’s work will open at the Columbus Museum of Art September 10, 2022 and run through March 12, 2023, and travel thereafter.
About the Authors:
Matt Tyrnauer is a director, writer and journalist, whose films include Valentino: The Last Emperor; Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood; Studio 54; and Where’s My Roy Cohn? As Editor-At-Large and Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair he contributed many feature articles, and has contributed to publications including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, and L’Uomo Vogue. He is a native of Los Angeles.
Len Prince is an American photographer whose work includes portraiture of film, dance, and music legends, fashion, nudes, and cityscapes. Publications include About Glamour (1997), Make Over Your Man (2001), Remembering Marvin Hamlisch (2016), as well as numerous prints and interviews in Vanity Fair, Interview Magazine, Essence, and Paper Magazine. Prince’s focus on theatrical and entertainment photography has led to campaign work for several Broadway theater productions, including The Graduate with Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs, and Alicia Silverstone, and Chicago with Gretchen Mol, Usher, Brooke Shields, Mel B, among others. His work is held at The Getty Museum and the Archives at Emory University. Prince resides in upstate New York.
By Matt Tyrnauer and Len Prince
published by powerHouse Books
Hardcover, 8.25 x 10.75 inches, 224 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64823-021-9, $50.00 US / $70.00 CAN