Exhibition - Sidney Mishkin Gallery

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Between Language and Geography:
Words, Signs and Symbols in Photography

September 28 – October 26, 2007

Hudson River Waterfront at Midtown, 1945 by Andreas Feininger

Andreas Feininger
Hudson River Waterfront at Midtown, 1945
From the portfolio Vintage New York, edition: 15/35.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a single word can radically alter the meaning of a picture, a fact repeatedly demonstrated in the exhibition Between Language and Geography: Words, Signs and Symbols in Photography, at Baruch College’s Mishkin Gallery, September 28 – October 26, 2007.

The casual or accidental presence of words, symbols or signs in a photographic landscape shifts the meaning of images, sometimes providing ironic commentary, at other times shock value, or sheer descriptive power. In each instance, a verbal ad or signal complicates and enriches the viewer’s experience.

Andreas Feininger’s New York City harbor scene becomes a poignant historic document with the words “Welcome Home” carrying the weight of our World War II troops into what would otherwise be a straightforward waterfront scene. Candace Scharsu’s color-drenched African photographs jolt the viewer with reminders of civil war, child soldiers and torture evoked by the RUF carving on a young girl’s chest. In another of her photos, the deadly specter of AIDS appears in a poster of rifles shooting condoms on a local billboard. A somewhat gentler punch is delivered by Milt Hinton’s genial group photo of jazz musicians in an Atlanta bus station beneath a demeaning sign, announcing, “Colored Entrance.”

The distance between language and geography can be vast, engaging the viewer in contradiction and paradox. Gilles Peress’ study of the grim-faced strollers on Belfast’s Shankhill Road is ironically underscored by a sign enjoining them to Get Right With God. An opposite effect is achieved in the photographs of Caleb Cain Marcus whose studies of India become more intense and accessible with the addition of a poem written by the artist.

This exhibition, which also includes photographs by Jerome Liebling, Marilyn Bridges, Jill Mathis, Joe Meyerowitz, Neal Slavin, Edward Steichen, Catherine Wagner, Carrie Mae Weems and Garry Winogrand, is curated by gallery director Sandra Kraskin. It will be at the Mishkin Gallery from Friday, September 28 through Friday, October 26, 2007.

Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 27 from 6 to 8 P.M.

The Sidney Mishkin Gallery is located at:
Baruch College
135 East 22nd Street
New York City

Gallery hours are:
Tuesday – Friday, 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Thursdays, 12 noon – 7 p.m.
All exhibitions at the gallery are free and open to the public.

© 2007 Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College


Manny Romero
(646) 660-6141

Mercedes Sanchez

(646) 660-6112

Sandra Kraskin
Gallery (646) 660-6652

The City University of New York