David Michalek is an artist who takes the concept and techniques of portraiture as the starting points for the creation of his works, on both a large and small-scale, in a range of mediums. His focus over the past ten years has been closely tied to his interest in relational aesthetics—specifically using performative and interactive techniques—storytelling, dialogue, movement—relying on the input and responses of others—subjects, collaborators, and audience—as integral to both the creation and the experience of his art. Michalek earned a B.A. in English Literature from U.C.L.A. and also studied filmmaking at NYU. He worked as an assistant to noted photographer Herb Ritts for two years. Beginning in the mid-1990s, he began his professional photographic career and worked regularly as a portrait artist for publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Interview, and Vogue. Concurrently, Michalek began experimenting with performance and installation, and developing large-scale, multi-dimensional projects. His solo and collaborative work has been shown nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at Yale University, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Kitchen. He has collaborated with director Peter Sellars on two staged works: Kafka Fragments, presented as part of Carnegie Hall's 2005-06 season; and St. François d'Assise, presented at the Salzburg Festival and Paris Opera. Other film and video work for theater includes collaborations with The Tallis Scholars; John Malpede and L.A.P.D. on three works, Agents and Assets, The Skid Row Museum, and RFK in EKY; and with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a project for The Brooklyn Museum's "Music Off the Walls" series. Michalek has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, from, among others, The Franklin Furnace, The Durfee Foundation, The California State Arts Council, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Karen-Weiss Foundation, and the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (commission grant toward the creation of Slow Dancing). Beginning in spring 2007, he will be an artist in residence with The World Performance Project at Yale University. He is a visiting faculty member at Yale Divinity School, where he lectures on religion and the arts. David Michalek lives in New York with his wife Wendy Whelan, principal dancer of New York City Ballet. B.A. UCLA.