Frederick Sommer

At the Crossroads of American Photography

This Friday and Saturday, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, in Scottsdale, Arizona (click here for directions), hosts a two-day symposium on the ground-breaking exhibition “At the Crossroads of American Photography: Callahan, Siskind, Sommer.” Radius Books has published the substantial catalogue, which accompanies the exhibition. The symposium—officially titled “Exchanging Ideas: photography, abstraction and metaphor at mid-century—kicks off with a lecture by Emmet Gowin on Friday night, at 7pm, followed by a full-day (8:30am–4pm) of talks and panel discussions with Joseph Sterling, Claire Carter, Leland Rice, Keith F. Davis and Harold Jones. A booksigning with the two authors of the catalogue—Dr. Britt Salvesen and Keith F. Davis—will take place at 4pm and is open to the public. (Symposium tickets are $15 for non-members. The booksigning is free.)

Joseph Sterling (photographer and student of Callahan, Siskind and Sommer at the Institute of Design) will share his personal experiences and Callahan, Siskind and Sommer’s role in developing a photography program at the Institute of Design, Chicago.
Claire C. Carter (co-curator of the exhibition and Curatorial Coordinator at SMoCA) will investigate Siskind’s work and its relationship to the paintings of the Abstract Expressionists.
Leland Rice (photographer, curator and writer) will discuss Sommer’s Arizona landscape photographs and how the Surrealist painters Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy influenced his work.
Keith F. Davis (Curator of Photography, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Chair, Art Selection Committee, Hallmark Cards, Inc., both in Kansas City, Missouri) will lecture on Harry Callahan’s interest in the universal.
Harold Jones, (photographer, curator and educator, director of LIGHT Gallery, New York [1973-1975] and founding Director of the Center of Creative Photography [1975-1977], University of Arizona) will discuss the inception of LIGHT Gallery and how these three artists’s archives came to reside in Arizona.