John Szarkowski: Now
January 19–February 18, 2006
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
I don’t have a schedule. I just take my camera outside. Some days I go to the pond and some days I don’t. Some days I look at the apple trees, and some days I find other things. I love it even more now, because these are my trees.
- John Szarkowski, Vanity Fair, January 2005
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent photographs by John Szarkowski. Comprised of single, gelatin silver prints and a large multi-part work consisting of twelve 11 x 14 inch photographs, the exhibition elaborates upon Szarkowski’s ongoing exploration of the American landscape with a special emphasis on trees. Taken during his travels around the country and on everyday meanders near his home in upstate New York, Szarkowski’s photographs are careful studies of the natural world that surrounds him. Whether capturing the monumental glory of the primeval redwoods populating Rockefeller Forest in California’s Humboldt State Park or a generous tangle of branches on a favorite backyard Tomkins County King apple tree, Szarkowski’s photographs emote a lyricism grounded in an awareness of time and place. Szarkowski’s newest multi-part work, “Graft,” provides twelve different views of grafts he has undertaken between varieties of apple trees. Images include supple branches extending Shiva-like from a sturdy trunk and the triumphant emergence of new buds. His pictures are observations and documentations of the continuum innate to nature - life and death – and they ultimately pay homage to its remarkable and regenerative power.
Pace/MacGill’s exhibition coincides with the traveling retrospective “John Szarkowski: Photographs” on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from February 1 through May 15, 2006. The exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and opened there in February 2005. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will be the final venue for the retrospective (June 18 through September 10, 2006).
John Szarkowski (b. 1925, Ashland, Wisc.) attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received his undergraduate degree in the History of Art. Soon after his graduation, Szarkowski joined the staff of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where he was hired as the museum photographer (1948-51). He had his first solo show there in 1949 and other one-person exhibitions promptly followed. He quickly established a strong reputation as a practicing photographer and continued in that direction for over a decade. During that time the monographs The Idea of Louis Sullivan (1956) and The Face of Minnesota(1958) were published. Appearing on the New York Times best-seller list for eight weeks, The Face of Minnesota was reprinted in 1964.
In 1962 Szarkowski was chosen to succeed legendary curator Edward Steichen as the Director of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. During his nearly 30-year tenure in that post, Szarkowski expanded upon the major accomplishments of his predecessor, giving solo exhibitions to Andre Kertesz, J.H. Lartigue, and Diane Arbus, among others. Unanimously acknowledged for his curatorial vision and articulate advocacy of the photographic medium, Szarkowski authored numerous books and catalogs while establishing one of the most comprehensive collections of photography in the world. Following his 1991 retirement from MoMA, Szarkowski resumed work as a photographer. Recent monographs include Mr. Bristol’s Barn: With Excerpts from Mr. Blinn’s Diary (1997), and John Szarkowski: Photographs (2005).
Szarkowski’s work can be found in numerous collections, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Princeton University Art Museum, N.J.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.