Opening Reception: March 13th, 6-8pm
Steven Kasher Gallery is proud to announce its representation of the estate of Jerome Liebling (1924-2011) with the exhibition Jerome Liebling: Matter of Life and Death. Curated by Liebling’s daughter, filmmaker Rachel Liebling, the show includes both early vintage photographs and later large-scale prints in black and white and color. Spanning six decades, the 75 photographs in the show comprise a retrospective of selected works that explore the themes of youth, maturity, and death.
Liebling's images capture unguarded intimacy on both sides of the lens. He reveled in subjects and places where fortitude battled against decay. “My sympathies have always been with the everyday people; they are the center of my photography,” Liebling said. “There is a sublime and special respect that is ordinary, but which I think I sometimes push to heights of importance.” Former student Ken Burns called Liebling “a fierce warrior, insisting on a kind of justice, a kind of truth, and an utterly American vitality. He saw in every individual his or her own worth.”
Liebling's body of work defies easy categorization. He was in his element in both color and black and white; at home on New York City streets or in Massachusetts apple orchards. In his last years, Liebling used digital printing with the deftness and refinement of a master to create new interpretations of his most iconic images. "Liebling's large-scale photographs are revelatory," wrote Boston Globe critic Mark Feeney. “Monumental but not overbearing, these pictures are hard to imagine as having been any other size." Many have never been exhibited until now.
Jerome Liebling grew up in Brooklyn, a first-generation son of European immigrants. During World War II, Liebling served in the 82nd Airborne. He enlisted to fight for a cause he believed in but returned from military service with a staunch anti-war sentiment that endured his entire lifetime. Back home, he enrolled at Brooklyn College under the G.I. Bill and studied design with the painter Ad Reinhardt and photography with Walter Rosenblum. In 1948, Liebling joined the Photo League, a socially minded photographers’ cooperative, where, along with Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith and Aaron Siskind, he took to the streets to focus his lens on undocumented corners of urban life.
At Hampshire College, where Liebling taught from 1969 to 1989, his educational philosophy had a powerful impact on generations of photographers and filmmakers. The story of his influences was the subject of a New York Times feature by Randy Kennedy in 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/19/arts/design/19lieb.html?_r=0).
Jerome Liebling's photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, among many others.
Jerome Liebling: Matter of Life and Death will be on view March 13th – April 19th, 2014. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM. For more information about the exhibition and all other general inquiries, please contact Maya Piergies, 212 966 3978, firstname.lastname@example.org.