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About the Author
Aaron Siskind (1903-1991) was born in New York City. His first major exhibition was in 1949 at the Charles Egan Gallery, New York, and he was the only photographer invited to participate in the famed Ninth Street Show of abstract expressionist painters, which included Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Jack Tworkov. His first book, Aaron Siskind Photogaphs, with an introduction by respected art critic Harold Rosenberg, was published with the help of Kline and other artists who provided financial support. Siskind's work is in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Cleveland Art Museum; The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; the Canadian Center for Architecture, Quebec; the Art Institute of Chicago; the; the Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum, Providence; The Center for the Museum of Fine Arts and the Fogg Museum, Boston, among others. Siskind died in Rhode Island in 1991.
One of the most important and influential artists working in photography during the twentieth century, Aaron Siskind is being celebrated on the occasion of his 100th birthday with the publication of this sumptuous and comprehensive monograph bringing together both well-known and never-before-published images. Siskind's prolific career spanned six decades and has left its mark on both photography and art history. In 1932, at age twenty-nine, Siskind began his career as a photographer and spent the next nine years, under the auspices of the New York Photo League, working on social documentary photography. Around 1940, Siskind made a shift towards abstraction and suddenly entered an art world populated by painters and sculptors. During the course of the decade, Siskind began to explore a vision that depended on the shallow plane, and utilized delicate, minimal designs. "For the first time in my life subject matter, as such, had ceased to be of primary importance," Siskind explained. "Instead I found myself involved in the relationships of these objects, so much so that the pictures turned out to be deeply moving and personal experiences." The photograph had become the object. Siskind's style of gesture and nuance, a new form of visual calligraphy, dominated his work for the next forty years, and ran parallel to the developments of his colleagues, the abstract expressionists. Siskind was not only a key figure to the development of modern photography, but also influenced the work of painters of that period, including Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg. AARON SISKIND 100, book and exhibition, honors the legacy of this legendary artist through six decades of an incredible photographic journey. "Aaron Siskind has remained uniquely faithful to a kind of photographic purity while moving beyond an immediate illusion to reality. He finds his vision in real time and space, each body of work is an assemblage of experience that transforms each focused locale, allowing for further travel in the mind's eye. This trip is a necessary passage for the photographer. Keep on traveling, Aaron, and thanks for taking us along." (Charles Traub, Dean of MFA Studies, School of Visual Art, NY and a Trustee on the board of the Siskind Foundation) EXHIBITIONS: Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago (July 25 - September 8, 2003); Madison Art Center, Madison, WI (September 6, 2003 - January 4, 2004); Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ (September 9 - November 9, 2003); Cleveland Museum of Art (September 13 - November 19, 2003); Whitney Museum of America Art, New York (October 4, 2003 - February 1, 2004); Studio Museum, Harlem, NY (October 15, 2003 - January 4, 2004); Hanmi Museum of Photography, Seoul (November 1 - December 13, 2003); The RISD Museum, Providence (November 14, 2003 - January 25, 2004)