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Art Talks: Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees | Beth Moon, Renate Aller | An Artist Dialogue Series Event


May 17, 2017

Registration does not guarantee admission. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. All registered seats are released 15 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.

Celebrating the publication of the new book Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees, the critically acclaimed photographer Beth Moon and photographer Renate Aller discuss Moon's encounters with the world’s most ancient collection of great arboreal specimens.

Fornax, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.
Fornax, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.

Beth Moon delves into her artistic process and the experience of photographing the world’s oldest trees in the darkest places on earth. The photographer's appreciation of the cosmos began with her fourteen-year quest, spanning from continent to continent, to record the subjects of her debut bestseller Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time. Moon’s much awaited sequel Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees captures the boundless beauty of trees under the night sky, seemingly undisturbed by humans.

Throughout much of the world, night skies are growing increasingly brighter, but the force that protects the remaining naturally dark sky, unpolluted by artificial light, is the same that saves its ancient trees—isolation. Staking out some of the world’s last dark places, Beth Moon uses a digital camera to reveal constellations, nebulae, and the Milky Way, in rich hues that are often too faint to be seen by the naked eye. These magnificent images encounter great arboreal specimens, including baobabs, olive trees, and redwoods, in such places as South Africa, England, and California.

Corvus, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.
Corvus, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.

A collection of over 50 full-color prints, only achieved through Moon’s relentless dedication—undeterred by knee-high mud, windstorms, and distance—Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees reveals the rich hues of the night that are often too faint to be seen by the naked eye. A look into some of the most remote locations around the world, Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees is an adventure into the wild, wrapped in an elegant binding. In her artist’s statement, Beth Moon describes the experience of photographing at night in these remote places. An essay by Jana Grcevich, postdoctoral fellow of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, provides the perspective of a scientist racing to study the stars in a world growing increasingly brighter. Clark Strand, the author of Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, takes a different tack, illuminating the inherent spirituality of trees. The ideal book for any lover of nature and photography, Beth Moon’s photography collection is guaranteed to take you on a journey.

Copies of Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees (Abbeville Press, 2016), and Renate Aller: Ocean | Desert (Radius Books, 2014) are available for purchase and signing at the end of the event. 

Atlas, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.
Atlas, archival Pigment Print. Copyright ©2014 Beth Moon.

Beth Moon is a photographer based in New York who has gained international recognition for her large-scale, richly toned platinum prints. Her prints are held in numerous public and private collections and have appeared in more than sixty solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Italy, England, France, Israel, Brazil, Dubai, Singapore, and Canada, receiving widespread critical acclaim. With this new book, she explores color photography for the first time. Her work is represented by several galleries worldwide. 

Born in Germany, Renate Aller lives and works in New York. The long term project Oceanscapes – One View – Ten Years was a critic’s choice by Nord Wennerstrom for ArtForum and was reviewed by Vince Aletti for The New Yorker. Pieces from that series and other site specific art works are in the collections of corporate institutions, private collectors and museums, including the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI ; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT;  New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM; and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The Art Collection is pleased to present an exhibition of archival pigment prints from Renate Aller: Ocean | Desert book, as part of Photo Walls in Picture Collection Exhibition Series, on view through June 28 on in the Picture Collection of Mid-Manhattan Library.

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.

Ocean | Desert, 13, archival pigment print, 2014. © Renate Aller
Ocean | Desert, 13, archival pigment print, 2014. © Renate Aller

The event is free and advanced registration is recommended. 

Events at The New York Public Library may be photographed or recorded. By attending these events, you consent to the use of your image and voice by the Library for all purposes.

Renate Aller, Ocean | Desert, 2014, exhibition view. Photo Arezoo Moseni
Renate Aller, Ocean | Desert, 2014, exhibition view. Photo: Arezoo Moseni