The most comprehensive exhibition to pay homage to New York’s legendary LIGHT Gallery will be on view at the Center for Creative Photography from December 14, 2019, through May 9, 2020. The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery will showcase the work of more than 20 photographers whose work rose to prominence during the gallery’s run from 1971 to 1987, including Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Linda Connor, Emmet Gowin, Betty Hahn, Eikoh Hosoe, Ray Metzker, Duane Michals, Stephen Shore, Aaron Siskind, and Garry Winogrand.
This exhibition celebrating the legacies of LIGHT (1971-1987), a significant early photography gallery, focuses on characteristics identified by those who visited, worked, showed, and were impacted by the gallery. It draws heavily on archives at the Center for Creative Photography. Sections of the exhibition highlight LIGHT’s innovation, commitment to artists, focus on education, cultivation of community, and influence on the market, illustrated by photographic artworks, archival documentation, film or audio footage, installation views, period snapshots, and contemporary photographs, all chosen for their potential to illuminate.
Educational programming is an integral component of the exhibition, offering visitors opportunities to better understand the critical period of the 1970s and 1980s within the history of photography and the seminal influence of LIGHT, as well as encouraging creative inquiry into broader ideas about the photographic market, artist legacies, and the nature of a research center and archive like the Center for Creative Photography.
Earlier this year, the Center for Creative Photography invited photographers from across the globe to submit photographic artworks to be included in The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery. This open call aimed to invoke the spirt of LIGHT Gallery, a hub for emerging and established photographers, by engaging artists working with the medium today. These submissions were reviewed by a panel of jurors comprised of Center for Creative Photography curatorial staff, former LIGHT directors, and other photographic community members. Each finalist was asked to send one artwork for inclusion in these flat file drawers.
Accepted photographs are displayed in flat file drawers in the Center’s gallery, a nod to the banks of flat file drawers that were present at LIGHT Gallery. Rather than faithfully recreate these drawers, restaging their content as it would have been at the time, we hope to invoke their intentions and impact by displaying a wide range of contemporary photographic production.
The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery
December 14, 2019 – May 9, 2020
CENTER FOR CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY