Aaron Siskind

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aaron Siskind (born December 4, 1903 in New York , † February 8, 1991 in Providence , Rhode Island ) was an American photographer . He developed an abstract expressionist photography that made him a key figure in modern American art after 1945.


With the desire to become a writer, Siskind first studied literature at the City University of New York . In the early 1930s he began to occupy himself with photography. According to his own statement, he received a camera as a wedding present and discovered his passion for photography on his honeymoon. From 1932 to 1941 he was a member of the New York Workers Film and Photo League , (from 1936 Photo League) and dealt primarily with social documentary photography . For example, he wrote the widely acclaimed photo essay The Harlem Document (1938–40). Similar time-critical photo series followed. From the 1940s on, he turned away from narrative photography and developed an abstract, lyrical imagery. He increasingly concentrated on surface structures and depicted, for example, walls with peeling paint, stained walls, erosion , rotten wood and other inanimate objects. In 1945 he published the photo series The Drama of Objects in which he alludes to the magic of inanimate objects. His works were described as "art wrested from the rubbish". Technically, he followed straight photography . His pictorial compositions achieved a painterly quality that anticipated the works of Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning or Jackson Pollock .

From 1947 to 1949, Siskind taught photography at Trenton Junior College in New Jersey. In the summer of 1950 he taught with Harry Callahan at Black Mountain College . Callahan later persuaded him to join the faculty at the IIT Institute of Design (New Bauhaus; Illinois Institute of Technology ) in Chicago . There he taught as a professor of photography until 1959. During that time he published specialist articles in Aperture magazine . In 1959 he published his first book. From 1960 to 1970 he was co-editor of Choice magazine . In 1963 he became a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education . Together with Harry Callahan, he taught photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence from 1971 to 1976 . In 1984 he founded the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

Siskind died at the age of 87 on February 8, 1991 in Providence, Rhode Island.


  • 1947: First solo exhibition at the Egan Gallery, New York
  • 1951: 9th Street Art Exhibition , New York
  • 1965: Siskind Recently , Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 1969: Aaron Siskind, Photographer , National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • 1989: Siskind in the Collection , Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 1999: Abstractions , Lee Gallery, Wincester
  • 2000: Aaron Siskind: Between A Rock & A High Place , Robert Mann Gallery, New York
  • 2003: Aaron Siskind - From Chicago to Providence, 1951–91 , The RISD Museum, University of Rhode Island, Providence
  • 2003: Aaron Siskind 100 , Robert Mann Gallery, New York
  • 2003: Aaron Siskind at 100 , Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton
  • 2003: In Conversation: A Centennial Exhibition of Photographs by Aaron Siskind , Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • 2004: Aaron Siskind: Centennial Celebration , Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston
  • 2006: Aaron Siskind , Galerie Berinson, Berlin


From Aaron Siskind:

  • Bucks County: Photographs of Early Architecture . Horizon Press, 1974, ISBN 0-8180-1416-4
  • Harlem Document Photographs 1932-1940 ; with Ann Banks, Matrix, 1981, ISBN 0-936554-07-X
  • Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors ; with Carl Chiarenza, New York Graphic Society, 1983, ISBN 0-8212-1522-1
  • Road Trip: Photographs 1980–1988 ; with Charles Traub, The Friends of Photography, 1989, ISBN 0-933286-53-8


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. In: Michael Langford: The great photo encyclopedia . Christian Verlag, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-88472-087-2 , p. 367