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
Date1947
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism
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About New York City W 1

Aaron Siskind’s “New York” is a gelatin silver print from 1947 that explores the internal formal relationships of man-made environments. This photograph is just one example of the artist’s shift in direction during the 1940s towards capturing neglected details such as graffiti, decaying walls, peeling paint, tattered posters, and rusted signs. Siskind was an American photographer who started out as a grade school English teacher in the New York Public School System for 25 years before pursuing photography full-time. He joined the New York Photo League in 1932 and became increasingly involved over time. He oversaw the league’s Feature Group from 1936 to 1940. Considered part of the abstract expressionist movement along with Harry Callahan, Siskind was known for his interest in texture and form. His photographs were often characterized by stark contrasts between light and dark areas, creating an almost abstract quality that was typical of mid-20th century American photographers. In conclusion, “New York” by Aaron Siskind captures a slice of urban life with its emphasis on internal formal relationships within man-made environments. Siskind’s interest in minimal detail helped him explore surfaces with greater depth than many other photographers working at the same time. Overall this photograph showcases his legacy as one of America’s most prominent artists who captured beauty where others may not have seen it.

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