Kali, Artographer, 1932-2019

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Main Museum


November 19, 2023 – April 8, 2024


Main Museum


November 19, 2023 – April 8, 2024

In 1962, Long Island housewife Joan Archibald upended her life by fleeing to the warm and creative climes of Southern California where she reinvented herself as a photographer and took the name “Kali” after a Hindu goddess.

Kali soon moved to Palm Springs and spent the following decades experimenting with photography—while becoming increasingly withdrawn and eccentric. It was only in 2019 when Susan Archibald discovered an astonishing trove of images hidden in her late mother's home that Kali became recognized as a significant innovator in alternative photography. 

Kali developed approaches that used the classic tools of analog photography, but she manipulated her images in strikingly original ways suggestive of the psychedelic aesthetics of the time. Shooting on black-and-white film, she placed the prints in her swimming pool, physically agitating them as she applied dyes, paints, spray developer, and even organic material. After achieving the final mix of colors and textures, she left the prints to dry in the sun—creating truly one-of-a-kind images.

This exhibition, previously titled LA Woman: Kali, Artographer, was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH. The exhibition was curated by Nannette Maciejeunes and Len Prince. Museum Tour Management by the Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Sponsorship support provided by Carol Adney.

Special thanks to Randy Gue, Curator Kali Archibald papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Matt Tyrnauer on Kali

December 2, 2:00 p.m.

Join Matt Tyrnauer, co-author of the book Kali, Artographer, as he discusses the work of the one-of-a-kind Palm Springs photographer.


Kali, <em>Blue Stripe Face, Palm Springs, CA</em>, 1967
Kali, Blue Stripe Face, Palm Springs, CA, 1967
Kali, <em>Paul, Light My Fire, Palm Springs, CA</em>, 1968
Kali, Paul, Light My Fire, Palm Springs, CA, 1968
Kali, <em>Morphing UFO</em>, n.d.
Kali, Morphing UFO, n.d.
Kali, <em>PSC Mary, Blue, Bluegreen, Palm Springs, CA</em>, 1968
Kali, PSC Mary, Blue, Bluegreen, Palm Springs, CA, 1968
Kali, <em>Untitled (Collage #11), Palm Springs, CA</em>, 1973
Kali, Untitled (Collage #11), Palm Springs, CA, 1973

This exhibition is included in the cost of general admission.


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