In 1943, Aaron Siskind began pointing his camera at the graphic forms he found on city surfaces around him. In this photograph of peeling signage, fragments of the stenciled word “AREA” are just legible across the bottom of the picture. In a 1963 interview, Siskind explained that in his turn from social documentary to formal concerns, “I was operating on a plane of ideas. I was wiping out real space and somehow making you feel that the objects were forces so that there's a whole shift from description to idea, meaning.” Siskind’s elimination of perspectival space echoed the practice of Abstract Expressionist painters such as Franz Kline, his friend and fellow exhibitor at the Charles Egan Gallery.
Aaron Siskind (1903–1991), New York 6, 1951. Gelatin silver print, 17 7/8 x 14 inches. Gift of Richard and Ronay Menschel, 2015.56.