Concrete Abstraction: Aaron Siskind Photographs celebrates one of the giants of American photography. The exhibition spans the artist's career, from his first major series documenting Harlem in the 1930s to subsequent works in which urban graffiti is transformed into visual poetry. As the artist told an interviewer late in life, "There are things in motion, there are things in conflict—but I am trying to make a picture out of it."
Siskind is best known for black and white images—buildings or landscapes photographed in extreme close-up—whose formal abstraction invites comparison to works of the Abstract Expressionists. He dedicated a series of his mature photographs to Franz Kline, one of the New York painters with whom he was friends. For his part, Siskind's legacy lay in using straight photography to create compelling compositions, capturing what he called "the drama of objects."
Born in New York in 1903, Siskind published his first book of photographs in 1959 and had his first major retrospective at the George Eastman House, Rochester, in 1965. He continued to make photographs into his eighties, before establishing the Aaron Siskind Foundation in 1984. Aaron Siskind died in 1991 at the age of 87.
Concrete Abstraction: Aaron Siskind Photographs is organized by guest curator James Rhem for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be on view from September 7, 2003 through January 4, 2004. (The exhibition is closed for two weeks beginning November 16 to make way for the Holiday Art Fair.)
Concrete Abstraction: Aaron Siskind Photographs is a Bassett Exhibit Series Event. Generous support has also been provided by the Steinhauer Charitable Trust; the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Madison Community Foundation and the Overture Foundation; the Terry Family Foundation; The Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Exhibition Initiative Fund; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's 2003-2004 Sustaining Benefactors; and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.