Margaret Morton has been engaged with the photographic representation of alternative-built environments and the individuals who construct them for more than twenty-five years. Her four previous books form a permanent record of the temporary habitats that Manhattan’s homeless individuals created for themselves in public parks, vacant lots, abandoned buildings, along the waterfronts and beneath the city’s streets: The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City (Yale Press and Schirmer/Mosel, Germany); Fragile Dwelling (Aperture); Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives, co-authored with Diana Balmori (Yale Press); and Glass House (Penn State Press). Morton’s most recent book, Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan (University of Washington Press), reveals the otherworldly grandeur of architecturally unique and dramatically sited monuments, which she photographed on several visits to the region.
Danny Lyon wrote: “A powerful metaphor of America, Margaret Morton’s The Tunnel shows the beauty of people we shun, and the light in a world we cannot see.” Luc Sante said: “The body of literature on squatting is regrettably small. Margaret Morton’s Glass House is an important, richly evocative, and very moving book.” Phillip Lopate has written: “Margaret Morton has been doing remarkable, indeed invaluable, work at the juncture of photography and social documentation. She is our modern-day Jacob Riis. Glass House, her latest project, is a triumph of art and compassion.” Bonnie Yochelson has added: “Since 1989, Morton has honed her skills photographing, interviewing and presenting the compelling stories of people living on the margins of society. Her commitment and passionate advocacy justify comparison with Jacob Riis, the great nineteenth-century photographer and social reformer.” Mary Ellen Mark describes Morton’s Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives as “a brilliant book.” Finally, we quote Alan Trachtenberg of Yale on her Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan: “A spectacular book. Morton has a keen eye for the murky region where visibility of form and invisibility of meaning overlap, and this book contains some of her absolutely best work.”
Morton’s projects have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts/Visual Artist Grant in Photography, the New York State Council on the Arts/Individual Artist Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts/Catalog Project, and Graham Foundation Grant for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Morton also received the Harry Chapin Media Judges’ Award, World Hunger Year. Morton’s projects have appeared as portfolios, articles, or in reviews in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Newsday, The New York Observer, The Atlantic Monthly, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, Art Forum International, Art in America, Aperture, DoubleTake, Exposure, Grand Street, Grey Room, and n+1; and international publications including The Times, Evening Standard, and Time Out (London), Die Zeit, Zeitmagazin, Der Spiegel, and Daidalos (Germany), Asahi (Tokyo), Politiken (Copenhagen), and Dagbladet (Norway), and the Central Asian Times (Kyrgyzstan). Photographs from Morton’s projects have been exhibited in over twenty-five solo exhibitions and more than fifty group exhibitions in the past fifteen years, including Aperture Foundation’s Burden Gallery, Museum of the City of New York, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New-York Historical Society, The Municipal Art Society’s Urban Center, the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, Lowinsky Gallery, and Bodell Gallery in New York City; as well as the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Cranbrook Art Museum, MIT Museum and museums and galleries in Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, and Toronto. Morton received her MFA from Yale University School of Art. She is a professor in the School of Art at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and lives in New York City.
In the Oskar Barnack Room
Nancy Crampton: Artists of the ‘70s and ‘80s
Of Nancy Crampton’s first solo exhibition in 1976, Janet Malcolm wrote in The New Yorker: “The image of a writer, painter or musician that becomes fixed in the public imagination is often the result of a single, strong photograph.... This exhibition reveals Nancy Crampton to be one of the most artful of young image-makers working today.... Among Crampton’s most vivid conceptions are Louise Nevelson standing with three of her sculptures, seeming to be part of the one she is standing behind, and looking like a stern, aged priestess in her heavy makeup, turban, and floor-length mink coat;... Alexander Calder, a small, inconsequential figure lost in the incredible, mad mess of wires, ropes, strings, tools, and debris that fills his studio....”
In 2005, Leica Gallery hosted an exhibition to coincide with publication of the book Writers: Photographs by Nancy Crampton – an exhibition that traveled to the Boston Athenaeum, the Rosenbach Museum, the public libraries of Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis, and university museums around the country. Ten years on, we have invited Nancy to show some of her early photos of artists. The photographs on view, all gelatin silver prints, include twenty-five prominent artists at work in their studios or taking a break – among them Nevelson, Calder, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Joan Mitchell, Romare Bearden, Isamu Noguchi, Saul Steinberg, and Laurie Anderson.
Nancy was born in Philadelphia, attended Vassar College, moved to New York City, and took up photography in the late ‘60s. For over twenty-five years she has been the official photographer for the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y. She has exhibited her work since the early ‘70s, and her portraits of artists and writers have appeared on book covers and in publications worldwide. In a foreword to the book Writers, poet Mark Strand speaks of Nancy’s “pictures that magically combine the immediacy of a snapshot and the premeditatedcalm of a formal portrait.”
Various Artists - Margaret Morton: A Retrospective
- 06/26/2015 - 08/15/2015
Leica Gallery New York
670 Broadway / Suite 500
New York, NY 10012