Zeke Berman has been making singular, studio-based photographs since the late 1970's, when, while recording his sculptures, his attention turned from object to image. The formal range of his work and his inventive use of materials, such as string, clay and ice is varied, original and idiosyncratic. His photographs reflect a long-standing interest in the evolution of visual cognition, the mystery and paradox of optics, as well as finding an intersection between sculpture, photography and drawing. If an artist can be said to possess esthetic values, his would best be described as epistemological.
Writing in the New Yorker, Vince Aletti says: Berman’s meticulously constructed, cleverly confusing, eccentric photographs echo Cubist collage and anticipate digital manipulation. Using simple materials, he introduces Braque to Jasper Johns in a fun house.
Berman’s work has been collected, exhibited and published widely by museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim, Metropolitan and Whitney Museum. His awards include Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA and McDowell and Yaddo colony fellowships.
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Chief curator, Photography Department, Museum of Modern Art, NY 1962 - 1991
Photography’s first still life was a picture of a table set for a simple meal, made by Nicephore Niepce in about 1827 --years before the world even knew there was such a thing as photography. Daguerre made one 1837. Henry Fox Talbot was a little tardier, completing his his first before 1840.
These all seem to me remarkably good and one might think that by now the problem might have been finally solved, or at least exhausted, but is, on the contrary full of life, as demonstrated by the work of Zeke Berman, Joan Fontcumberta, Lee Friedlander, Jan Groover and Abelard Morrel, as well as that of Irving Penn, the old master. The subject of the book.
From the introduction to a book of Irving Penn Still Lifes.
Selected Solo Shows
2016 “Zeke Berman, Studio Constructions, Photographs since 1979” Hamilton Gallery, UArts, Philadelphia, PA (formerly PCA, his art school) - with catalogue
2015 Julie Saul Gallery, NY
2007 Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT
1999 Laurence Miller Gallery New York, NY
1997 Institute of Contemporary Art , Main College of Art
1997 Portland Main Eli Marsh Gallery, Amherst College, Amherst, MA
1997 Laurence Miller Gallery New York, NY
1995 Julie Saul Gallery, NY
1993 Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1992 University of Missouri Museum Kansas City, MO (with catalogue)
1991 Friends of Photography, San Francisco, CA
1985, 1987, 1989, 1991 Lieberman & Saul Gallery, NY
1989 Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1989 Edwyn Houk Gallery, Chicago, IL
1983 The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
1987 San Francisco Camera Works, San Francisco, CA
1986 The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1984 The Museum of Modern Art, Bern, Switzerland
Grants & Fellowships
1988 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
1988 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship
1984 Guggenheim Fellowship
1980 Creative Arts Public Service Fellowship
1999, 2000 Yaddo Colony Residency, Saratoga Springs, NY
1987/88/91/92/93 MacDowell Colony Residency, Peterborough, NH
2018 Residency at The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Amherst, VA
Selected Group Shows
2018 D. I. Y. Julie Saul Gallery, NY
2018 Eighty at Eighty, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, FL
2017 A History of Photography: Selections from the Museum’s Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
2016 MoCP at 40 The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Il
2015 U of NM Gallery, Albuquerque, NM, From Rembrant to Pollack to Atget: Celebrating a Collection.
2014 (un) real Abstraction in Contemporary Photography Maddox Art Gallery, London, UK
2014 A world of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio Museum Of Modern Art, NY
2014 Abstraction in Contemporary Photography, Maddox Arts Gallery, London, UK
2013 Museum Of Modern Art, NY Selections from the Permanent Collection
2013 Artists EvolvedMusic and Art HS class of 1969
2012 Artists choice: Rebus, Vic Muniz, Museum Of Modern Art, NY
2011/12 Museum Of Modern Art, NY Selections from the Permanent Collection
2011 Mud Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
2010 Milwaukee Art Museum, Selections from the Permanent Collection
2010 Pencil of Nature, Julie Saul Gallery, NY
2010 Making it Up Packer Colligate Institute, Brooklyn, NY
2009 Flower Power Herter Galler, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
2008 International Center of Photography< NY
2008 Laurence Miller Gallery, NY
2007 Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY, Seeing Things
2002 The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY Visions From America, Photographs from the Museum Collection 1940-2001
2001 Museum of Modern Art, NY, Open Ends Contemporary Art from 1960 to Now
2000 The Art Institute of Chicago Conceptual Photography, Colin Westerbeck Curator
2000 American Perspectives Photographs from the Poporoid Collection
1980–1999 Museum of Modern Art, NY Installation of the Permanent Collection
1999 The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, “Photography’s Multiple Roles” (with catalogue)
1993 Museum of Modern Art, NY "Multiple Images"
1992 Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
1993 Museum of Modern Art, NY "More Than One Photography”
1990 Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC
1990 The Museum of Modern Art, NY, "Photography Until Now"
1999 The Los Angeles County Museum Of Art, CA
1990 Vrej-Baghoomian Gallery, NY, "Grids"
1989 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, "Invention and Continuity in Contemporary Photography"
1989 The National Gallery, Washington, DC, "On the Art of Fixing a Shadow, 150 Years of Photography"
1989 The National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, "The Photography of Invention"
1988 International Center of Photography, NY, "Fabrications"
1986 The Whitney Museum, Stanford, CT, “Photo Fictions”
1985 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, "New Photography," #1
1982 The Museum of Modern Art, NY, "Still Lifes”
1982 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, "Counterparts"
1982 Seibu Museum, Tokyo, Japan "20th Century Photographs From The Museum of Modern Art"
1980, The Museum of Modern Art and curator John Szarkowski, begins collecting and exhibiting work over the following 10 years.
The Museum of Modern Art, NY
The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The Guggenheim Museum, NY
The Brooklyn Museum, NY
The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
The National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Chase Manhattan Collection, New York, NY
Hallmark Collection, Kansas City, MO
The Progressive Corporation Collection, Mayfield Village, OH
2000 Open Ends Catalogue, Museum of Modern Art, NY
1999 Blind Spot Magazine, Issue 14
1998 Graphis Fine Art Photography #2
1998 Blind Spot Magazine, Issue 11
1997 The Art Institute of Chicago: “The Essential Guide”
1997 Oxford History of Art, “The Photograph” by Graham Clark
1996 New Art on Paper 2, Philadelphia Museum of Art
1995 Graphis Fine Art Photography #1
1995 An American Century of Photography : From Dry-plate to Digital, Essay By Keith Davis, Hallmark Collection
1994 Blindspot Magazine, Issue 3
1990 “Photography Until Now” By John Szarkowski Museum Of Modern Art, NY
Selected Visiting Artist Progerams
Fordham University 2017 • Sarah Laurence College • Yale U. Summer Program, Norfolk, CT • Bard College • Yale University, Graduate School 1987 / 89 /90/ 92 • Amherst College • The School of Visual Art • Columbia College, Chicago -The Friends of Photography, San Francisco • Rhode Island School of Design • The Friends of Photography, Workshop • Art Center College of Design, Pasadena • Bard College • The Museum of Modern Art, NY, Fellows of Photography Lecture • Metropolitan Museum of Art International Center Photography, Still Life Workshop • Woodstock Center for Photography Still Life Workshop • Ohio Arts Council, Summer Media Institute, Athens,1990 / 1991 / 1992 • University of Chicago, Graduate Program • Art School of the Art Institute of Chicago • Maine Photographic Workshop • Massachusetts College of Art, Boston • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY • Syracuse University, NY