Friday, January 15, 2021 | 12pm
ADMISSION: This online program is free
Why do twenty-first century photographers employ nineteenth-century photographic techniques? Julian Cox, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and artist Stephen Berkman come together to consider this question as they discuss Berkman’s visual language and practice in colloidal plate photographic techniques—and illuminate the art of Victorian-era photography in the present day. This program is presented in partnership with SF Camerawork.
In Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years (now on view at The CJM), Berkman looks to these antiqued methods to bring to life a set of mysterious photographs that immerse the viewer in the world of Victorian life in New York's predominantly Jewish lower-east side in the early 1900s.
This online program is hosted on Facebook. Click the link below to attend.
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Born in Syracuse New York and now based in Pasadena, California, Stephen Berkman's work revolves around the use of antiquated photographic and optical processes. Having worked with the wet collodion process since 1997, Berkman exploits the archaic quality of the medium to reimagine the nineteenth century and create displacements between notions of the past and the present. In his work, history is viewed as an evolving work in progress still open to moments of serendipity.
Berkman’s work has been featured in the definitive compendium on the revival of historic photography: Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde, published by Abrams in 2002 and authored by New York Times contributor Lyle Rexer, as well as in Blind Spot; Art in America; i-D magazine; and the book The Journal of Contemporary Photography: Strange Genius, among others.
Berkman’s photographs have also been included in solo and group exhibitions at The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) Laband Gallery; University of Southern California, Cepa; and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. His photographs are in the permanent collections of MoPA and Portland Art Museum. In addition to his fine art work, Berkman has been commissioned to create historic photographs for many films and documentaries, including Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; and Cold Mountain. Berkman currently is on the film faculty at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he has taught since 1995.
Julian Cox joined the Art Gallery of Ontario as Deputy Director and Chief Curator in January 2018, where he leads a diverse team of curatorial, library, and archives professionals with a particular focus on research, collection development, and special exhibitions. Prior to relocating to Canada, Cox was the Founding Curator of Photography and Chief Curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), working across two museums—the de Young and the Legion of Honor.
Cox's core area of expertise is photography. He has organized numerous exhibitions on subjects ranging from the invention of photography in nineteenth-century Europe to contemporary practice in the United States. He served as Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta from 2005 to 2010, and previously held several positions in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Cox was educated in Great Britain and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Manchester and a Master of Philosophy in the History of Photography from the University College of Wales.
Along with Colin Ford, Cox is co-author of the critically acclaimed publication Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (2003), the first catalogue raisonné produced on the work of a photographer. He is also the author of many articles and books, including: Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007); Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (2008); Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales (2013), Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay (2014), and Danny Lyon: Message to the Future (2016).
Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years includes photography and installation by Los Angeles-based artist Stephen Berkman, who grew up in the Bay Area. The exhibition features images by the nineteenth century Jewish immigrant photographer Shimmel Zohar from his studio on the Lower East Side in New York City. Prints in elaborate Victorian frames address both Jewish life and the scientific state of understanding over one hundred years ago. In addition, environmental installations utilize antique technological visual phenomena.
Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Leadership support is generously provided by Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and the John Pritzker Family Fund. Major support is provided by Anonymous, Joyce B. Linker, and Dorothy R. Saxe.
Media Sponsorship is provided by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.