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This exhibition highlights work by Rosalind Fox Solomon as discussed by the artist and Richard Grosbard in September 2019.  Exhibition features include: images, a video of the conversation, an essay, and interview highlights.



Born in 1930 outside of Chicago, IL, Rosalind Fox Solomon has been traversing the world and making pictures for over five decades.  Beginning in the early 1970s, Solomon traveled to New York frequently to study with Lisette Model, who encouraged Solomon's passion and unique vision.  As her studies progressed, and her personal life went through significant changes, Solomon realized that photography was her life's calling.  Never afraid to shoot difficult subject matter, whether it be landmine survivors in Cambodia or AIDS patients at the height of the epidemic in the 1980s, Solomon's work asks the viewer to accept their (perhaps) initial shock or discomfort, and then continue to look; to bestow the subject with dignity.    

Solomon's practice is distilled into what is essential: kinship between people. She continuously investigates what it means to know and be known by others, and if that is ever truly possible.  In honoring this experience, Solomon creates images that bear witness to the human condition in its multitudes.

After an interview conducted in 2003, Ingrid Sischy wrote of Solomon's practice: "Although the work has many, many subjects within it and has taken her on many journeys, both literally and metaphorically, when one looks at it as a whole there is a consistent sense of humanity to it all.  When I asked [Rosalind] recently why she did all this work, she answered in a way that says it all: 'I cared about connecting with other people.  Even though it was for brief moments I cared about connecting on a meaningful level, on a gut level.  I cared about saying what I thought about our society.  I cared about trying to get away from stereotypes.  And especially when I started to work in other countries, I felt, at that time, that so many of the pictures that had been done were clichéd.  I wanted to take portraits of people that showed them as real human beings, no matter where they were or what their background was'" (Chapalingas, Steidl, 2003).

On the occassion of speaking at the National Arts Club, Solomon was in conversation with longtime collector and friend, Richard Grosbard.  Mr. Grosbard asked Solomon poignant questions about her process, her subjects, and her life.  Their mutual love of photography and humorous banter is delightful to watch.

Solomon was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography in 2019, and her most recent publication, Liberty Theater, was listed as one of the best photography books of 2018 by The New York Times Magazine.  Solomon's work has been exhibited extensively internationally, and is held in many private collections.  Her work also belongs to over fifty public collections, including Musuem of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.  Solomon lives and works in New York City.

Rosalind Fox Solomon | In Conversation - Viewing Room - Bruce Silverstein

Ancash, Peru, 1995


I went to Peru because I read there had been an earthquake there about 10 years earlier.  My personal life was in chaos, and I thought that going to this earthquake -- the area where this earthquake had occurred -- would be a metaphor for my life at that time.  My husband was very ill, and we weren't getting along, so I went to Peru and I photographed in Ancash in the cemeteries and the ruins of the earthquake and various places. 


Rosalind Fox Solomon | In Conversation - Viewing Room - Bruce Silverstein

Mother, Daughter, and Maid, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1977

South Africa

I went there in 1988 and it was still during Apartheid, so I had to write a letter and convince the [government] that I wasn't a journalist.  So that was a very disturbing experience and very difficult, but very fascinating because I went to the townships and I met people of all kinds, and I made lots of pictures there.

Rosalind Fox Solomon | In Conversation - Viewing Room - Bruce Silverstein

Bill Browning, New York (from Portraits in the Time of AIDS), 1988

Portraits in the Time of AIDS

It seems to be received as the most important work that I've done, and it certainly was the most difficult and the most emotional work that I've done.  I met people through a young priest who was making his life's work helping people with AIDS, and he introduced me to a few of  his friends and I photographed them.  And then one person led me to another.  I couldn't see my old friends during that time, because I was totally consumed and disturbed by what I was doing.  I was asked, "Don't you think you could catch it?" -- yes, people thought you could catch it.  There was even conversation about isolating [people with AIDS] as kind of lepers.  So, I wanted to do something that was some kind of contribution, so that's how I got into it.  And it turned out to be a very deep and moving experience.

Rosalind Fox Solomon | In Conversation - Viewing Room - Bruce Silverstein

Photo by Jonno Rattman

Rosalind Fox Solomon

walking away from the familiar

i get lost in other lives

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