Photography Is Magic
Monday, October 5
“By considering contemporary photographic practices through the lens of magic, this conversation has a particular take on the current state of photography’s material presence—its status as a cultural material—within art.”
Join curator and writer Charlotte Cotton for a conversation with artists Leslie Hewitt, Kate Steciw, and Letha Wilson to consider the scope of photographic ideas circulating within contemporary creative practices, as framed by Cotton in her new book, Photography Is Magic (Aperture, 2015). This critical publication surveys over eighty artists, all of whom are engaged with experimental ideas about how our contemporary image environment shapes and is in dialogue with the most innovative photographic practices today. This panel discussion focuses on a range of aspects that are defining contemporary photography—from the use of a broad spectrum of photographic materials and tools, to the stances adopted by artists in our image-led society, and the parity between artists and their audiences, given our shared use and knowledge of photographic imagery.
Charlotte Cotton is an author and editor who has been at the forefront of the appraisal of contemporary art photography for over twenty years. She has held curatorial positions at institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been a visiting scholar and critic at institutions including Parsons The New School for Design, New York University, and the School of Visual Arts, New York; California College of the Arts, San Francisco; and Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. She is also the author of The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004) and founder of the discussion forum Words Without Pictures.
Leslie Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Yale University School of Art, and New York University, where she was a Clark Fellow in the Africana and Visual Culture Studies programs. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and was the recipient of the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands. Her work has been included in recent and forthcoming exhibitions at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Artists Space, New York; Project Row Houses, Houston; and LA><ART in Los Angeles. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University; and the American Academy in Berlin, among others. She has recently joined the faculty of Barnard College in the department of art history.
Kate Steciw holds a BA from Smith College and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Steciw has exhibited her art extensively in New York, most recently in group exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, Hauser & Wirth, Johannes Vogt Gallery, and Eyebeam. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin; Annarumma Gallery, Naples, Italy; and Levy Delval, Brussels. Her work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, and Interview magazine. Steciw lives and works in Brooklyn.
Letha Wilson was raised in Colorado, and received her BFA from Syracuse University and her MFA from Hunter College, New York. Wilson attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009, and her artwork has been shown at many venues, including Art in General, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, International Center of Photography, and Essl Museum of Contemporary Art. Wilson’s work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, the New York Times, and the New Yorker, among others. She was recently awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography and chosen to be a Deutsche Bank Fellow. She also received a Jerome Foundation Travel Grant in 2014. Wilson currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Photography Is Magic is a part of the Confounding Expectations lecture series, which is sponsored by Aperture Foundation, the Department of Photography at Parsons the New School for Design, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Charina Endowment Fund, William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Inc., and the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation.
Image: Kate Steciw, Composition 008, 2014. C-print, Plexiglass, wood, mixed media