New York City W 1 (1947) by Aaron Siskind

New York City W 1 - Aaron Siskind - 1947

Artwork Information

TitleNew York City W 1
ArtistAaron Siskind
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism

About New York City W 1

“New York City W 1” is a photograph captured by Aaron Siskind in 1947. As a distinguished work within the Abstract Expressionism movement, the artwork embeds a genre that is photographic in nature. This time period marked a significant era in art where artists sought to convey emotions and ideas through abstract forms and Siskind’s photograph is a quintessential example of this concept.

The artwork presents a stark and high-contrast composition, featuring the close-up of what appears to be torn and fragmented pieces of posters or paper adhering to a vertical surface, possibly a wall. The black and white tones emphasize textures and shapes, detaching the subject matter from its original context and inviting viewers to a form of visual abstraction that resonates with the emotional intensity characteristic of Abstract Expressionism.

The image is partitioned by a prominent central line that seems to represent the edge where two surfaces meet or the corner of a structure. The papers — torn and curling — occupy both sides of this dividing line, suggesting a symmetrical balance yet with each side having its own unique arrangement of fragments. The surrounding darkness serves to highlight these forms, creating a visual tension and focus on the abstract patterns and the play of light and shadow.

Aaron Siskind’s work, including this photograph, often bridges the gap between photography and painting by manipulating the usual context and scale of everyday objects and surfaces, thus enabling a photographic image to evoke the gestural brushstrokes of painters within the same art movement. In so doing, “New York City W 1” becomes more than a mere representation of reality; it is a complex interplay of elemental forms and deeper artistic expression.

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