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Jan Staller and Sean Corcoran - An Artist Dialogue

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June 2, 2012

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Mid-Manhattan Library

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Boats Wrapped in Plastic, Fort Lee, New Jersey. chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2010 Jan StallerBoats Wrapped in Plastic, Fort Lee, New Jersey. chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2010 Jan Staller

In celebration of Jan Staller's Art Wall on Third exhibition More than a Passing Glance the conversation between photographer Jan Staller and curator Sean Corcoran examines the trajectory of Staller’s photography as practiced over 35 years. The discussion touches on his subject matter from his early images of the last vestiges of the industrial age through his eventual focus on landscapes altered by human activity. Staller’s work has long stymied easy categorization, being more expressive than traditional documentary photography and at the same time not conforming to abstraction, appropriation or other canon. Corcoran attempts to shape an understanding of Staller’s oeuvre within the context of the history of photography.  

Chicken Wire and Landcape cloth Fence, Sims Construction Site, Brooklyn, New York. Chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2011 Jan StallerChicken Wire and Landcape cloth Fence, Sims Construction Site, Brooklyn, New York. Chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2011 Jan StallerUpon becoming an adult, Long Island bred Jan Staller migrated to Manhattan. Involved with photography from childhood and educated with a bachelors degree in fine art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Staller began work as a photographer. Soon after settling in New York City he was completing assignments for The New York Times Magazine, Life, Fortune, Forbes and other publications. At the same time he began producing his personal work of color photographs of the industrial and urban landscape of Manhattan and the greater metropolitan area. His influential nighttime photographs have been exhibited or acquired in galleries and museums worldwide, including Julie Saul Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum and The New Museum to name a few. He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Award. Two monographs of his works have been published: Frontier New York, and On Planet Earth: Travels in an Unfamiliar Land. Staller continues to regularly photograph and exhibit. 

Shipping Container in Snow. Chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2011 Jan StallerShipping Container in Snow. Chromogenic print, 20x40 inches. © 2011 Jan Staller

Since 2006 Sean Corcoran has been the Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Museum of the City of New York. He previously served as Assistant Curator of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY and as adjunct faculty of Ryerson University’s Masters Program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management (Toronto,Ontario). Over the years he has organized a wide range of historical and contemporary photographic exhibitions including, Site Seeing: Photographic Excursions in Tourism, Eudora Welty in New York, and the exhibition currently on display Police Work: Photographs by Leonard Freed, 1972-1979.

Initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provide an open forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.

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