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August 28, 2017 - December 10, 2017
Aaron Siskind (1903-1991) revolutionized photography and influenced successive generations of artists in all mediums. “When I make a photograph,” he wrote, “I want it to be an altogether new object.” Originally a documentary photographer, Siskind turned his probing eye toward the ordinary and overlooked: torn posters, graffiti, seaweed strewn on the beach. He collapsed the space of the photograph, relying on a dynamic sense of composition to organize two-dimensional surface and texture. In the 1950s, Siskind exhibited his photographs alongside Abstract Expressionist painters Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell. He went on to teach at the Institute of Design in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Black Mountain College where his ideas influenced such students as Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Weil, and Cy Twombly. Through his black-and-white photography, Siskind assembled a vocabulary of fragmented language, gestural line, and resonant detail that continues to speak to us today.