When Harry Met Aaron

A conversation between Harry Callahan & Aaron Siskind

January 11 – February 24, 2018

Harry Callahan Eleanor, 1951

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, 1951

Aaron Siskind Games Theater, 1965

Aaron Siskind
Games Theater, 1965

Aaron Siskind Harlem, circa 1935

Aaron Siskind
Harlem, circa 1935

Aaron Siskind The End of the Civic Repertory Theater, 1938

Aaron Siskind
The End of the Civic Repertory Theater, 1938

Aaron Siskind Homage to Franz Kline, 1973

Aaron Siskind
Peru, 1977

Harry Callahan Detroit, 1942

Harry Callahan
Detroit, 1942

Harry Callahan Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

Harry Callahan Collage, circa 1956

Harry Callahan
Collage, circa 1956

Harry Callahan ​Rhode Island, 1967

Harry Callahan
Providence, 1967

Aaron Siskind Martha's Vineyard, ​1947

Aaron Siskind
Martha's Vineyard, 1947

Harry Callahan Chicago, circa 1949

Harry Callahan
Chicago, circa 1949

Harry Callahan Chicago, circa 1949

Harry Callahan
Chicago, circa 1949

Aaron Siskind New York, 1947

Aaron Siskind
New York, 1947

Aaron Siskind New York, 1947

Aaron Siskind
New York, 1947

Aaron Siskind ​Gloucester, 1944

Aaron Siskind
Gloucester, 1944

Harry Callahan Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

Aaron Siskind  1967

Aaron Siskind 
1967

Harry Callahan Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan Aix-en-Provence, France, 1958

Harry Callahan
Aix-en-Provence, France, 1958

Harry Callahan Chicago, 1956

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1956

Harry Callahan Ansley Park, Atlanta, 1991

Harry Callahan
Ansley Park, Atlanta, 1991

Aaron Siskind Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation, 1961

Aaron Siskind
Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation #37, 1953

Aaron Siskind Double Exposure, 1958

Aaron Siskind
Pleasures and terrors of Levitation, 1958

Harry Callahan Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago, 1953

Harry Callahan
Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago, 1953

Aaron Siskind Martha's Vineyard, 1950

Aaron Siskind
Martha's Vineyard, 1954

Aaron Siskind Martha's Vineyard, 1954

Aaron Siskind
Martha's Vineyard, 1954

Aaron Siskind Martha's Vineyard, 1954

Aaron Siskind
Martha's Vineyard, 1954

Harry Callahan Chicago, 1949

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1949

Aaron Siskind Chicago, 1957

Aaron Siskind
Chicago, 1957

Aaron Siskind ​San Luis Potosi, 1961

Aaron Siskind
San Luis Potosi, 1961

Aaron Siskind Acolman, Mexico, 1955

Aaron Siskind
Acolman, Mexico, 1955

Aaron Siskind ​Edgartown, 1958

Aaron Siskind
Edgartown, 1958

Harry Callahan ​Chicago, 1949

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1949

Aaron Siskind New York, 1951

Aaron Siskind
New York, 1951

Aaron Siskind New York,1951

Aaron Siskind
New York, 1951

Harry Callahan Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1948

Aaron Siskind Tabernacle City, 1946

Aaron Siskind
Tabernacle City, 1946

Harry Callahan Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan
Eleanor, Chicago, 1948

Harry Callahan 1948

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1948

Harry Calllahan 1945

Harry Calllahan
New York, 1945

Harry Callahan  Cape Cod, 1972

Harry Callahan 
Cape Cod, 1972

Press Release

Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to present WHEN HARRY MET AARON, a conversation between the photographs of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Both were masters of their medium, and developed a deep and lasting friendship while teaching together - initially at the Institute of Design in Chicago, then later at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.  

Their backgrounds were starkly different – Callahan from the Midwest, inspired by Ansel Adams, versus Siskind from the Lower East Side, inspired by the Abstract Expressionists. Likewise, their approaches to photography were almost entirely opposite in temperament -  Callahan cool, reductive, and reticent, while Siskind was hot, expansive and ebullient. Yet there is much common ground to discover in their picture-making approach, and many parallels, as each artist had an exquisite sense of form and line, combined with deep humanity.
This becomes quite evident when comparing the elegant gestural quality of Callahan’s single grass against a dark sky, from Aix-en-Provence, 1958, with Siskind’s 1947 closeup of ironwork in New York.  
 

A fine example of opposite approaches yielding similar results are two pictures made in Chicago in the mid-1950’s: Callahan’s Multiple Exposure Tree, taken in winter, and Siskind’s Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation #37, taken in summer.  Both stark, each subject rendered against a white cloudless sky, Callahan’s dormant tree vibrates with energy, while Siskind’s floating diver appears motionless, frozen in time.  

Throughout their careers, both men frequently worked in series.  Siskind repeatedly photographed the stacked boulders he discovered on Martha’s Vineyard, while Callahan made dozens of close-up portraits of women lost in thought on the streets of Chicago. Building facades charmed them both, and though at times their pictures seem interchangeable, their unique personalities are revealed as Siskind favored grittiness and Callahan sought elegance.

The exhibition features over 20 prints by each photographer, including recognizable classics as well as many rarely seen and unpublished vintage prints.