Legacies of LIGHT – a Three-Day Celebration

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LIGHT Gallery sign from 1018 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
LIGHT Gallery sign from 1018 Madison Avenue, New York, NY,  ​ ​ ​ Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: LIGHT Gallery Archive
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Noon Jan. 17, 2020 to Noon Jan. 19, 2020


Center for Creative Photography Gallery

Programming from the Legacies of LIGHT can now be viewed in a playlist on our Youtube channel here


The CCP symposium Legacies of LIGHT is underwayOrganized in conjunction with the exhibition The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery, this three-day, multi-faceted symposium uses the immense influence of LIGHT, a contemporary fine-art photography gallery that operated in the 1970s and 1980s, as a starting point for a larger discussion about photography. The discussion will explore the trajectory of the photographic medium, photography's communities and institutions, and the photography/art market in the United States. LIGHT was the first gallery exclusively dedicated to the promotion, exhibition, and sale of contemporary photographers' work, and supported a market for contemporary photography by treating the medium as a serious art form. The symposium, Legacies of LIGHT, combines invited presentations with panel discussions in which the story of how LIGHT was realized, the impact that it made on photography, and what it means in today's field will be the subject of lively conversation.

The weekend opens on Friday (January 17) with an afternoon of behind-the-scenes tours, a keynote that will trace the role occupied by LIGHT since the 1970s, and a cocktail reception. Saturday (January 18) features a full-day program that addresses the context of LIGHT and its relationship to photography's current moment. The day concludes with a film screening of a new short documentary, by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, that explores the founding and philosophy of LIGHT, followed by an exhibition opening at Etherton Gallery. Sunday (January 19) consists of a morning of moderated panel discussions that bring together LIGHT's communities to reflect on the weekend's proceedings. The weekend concludes with a celebration of LIGHT founding director Harold Jones and a brunch co-presented by The University of Arizona School of Art.

Legacies of LIGHT is now sold out! A live stream of the entire symposium (with the exception of the film) will be available on the Center’s YouTube channel. For those in New York City, The School of Visual Arts, MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media will host a public streaming of the symposium on Saturday January 18 starting at 9:00 AM at 214 East 21st Street. For more information visit the public streaming event page here.

The "Honoring Harold Jones" program is sold out. If you are interested in overflow seating, please contact Meg Hagyard here



Friday, January 17  

9:00 AM
Symposium registration begins in the CCP Lobby  

2:00PM - 4:30PM
Behind-the-scenes CCP building tours will be given every twenty minutes to symposium attendees and participants.
Friday Evening

An introduction to the weekend’s topics, on LIGHT, the art/photography market, and the intersections of past and present.  

Introductions: Anne Breckenridge Barrett, Associate Vice President of the Arts for University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Creative Photography, will welcome all symposium attendants and describe the spirit and nature of the presentations to come.

Keynote: Britt Salvesen, Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will present an overview about how LIGHT, and its moment of the 1970s and early 1980s, fit into a larger trajectory of the development of the medium in the US through the 20th century, and how it relates to the present moment and the current photography/art market.

Conversation and Q&A: Britt Salvesen; Charles Traub, photographer, Chair, MFA Photography and Related Media Department, School of Visual Arts, and former director of LIGHT; and Fern Schad, a steady presence at LIGHT and widow of LIGHT founder Tennyson Schad, will engage in a discussion about Traub and Schad’s experiences working at LIGHT and thoughts about how the present moment in the photography field is influenced by, similar to, and different from the time of LIGHT.  The audience will be invited to share their perceptions and questions of these different points in the history of the medium and the market.

7:15PM - 8:30PM


Saturday, January 18

Two presentations, paired with a conversation and an extensive Q&A forum, considering LIGHT, its spirit, and the 1970s and 1980s art world more broadly.

Introductions: Fern Schad will share a short reflection on her experience with LIGHT and introduce the morning’s speakers.

9:15AM - 9:45AM
Conversation: Two former employees of LIGHT’s earliest years at 1018 Madison Avenue, Marvin Heiferman, author and curator, and Sally Stein, Professor Emeritus at University of California Irvine, will discuss the spirit with which the gallery operated, why it was so pivotal to their lives, and how their work from the early 1970s looks from the perspective of today.

9:45AM - 10:15AM
Presentation one: Michal Raz-Russo, David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Associate Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, will talk about the type and significance of the work showed at LIGHT.  Drawn from the research conducted for her Master’s Thesis on LIGHT, for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she will focus on several exhibitions that took place at LIGHT in the early and mid-1970s.

10:15AM - 10:45AM
Presentation two: Andy Grundberg, art critic, curator, and educator will position LIGHT within the art world of the 1970s and 1980s.  Undertaken for a new book, How Photography Became Contemporary Art, Grundberg’s research includes a focused study of LIGHT.

11:00AM - Noon
Q&A: With moderator Rebecca Senf, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography, the morning speakers will engage in a conversation with the audience about LIGHT and its time.

Noon - 1:30PM
Lunch Break

Saturday Afternoon

The afternoon's two panel discussions bring together a multi-disciplinary group of participants to reflect on photography’s communities in our globally-networked contemporary and on the emergent forms of oral storytelling about photography.

Introduction to the afternoon panel discussions.

1:45PM - 3:00PM
Panel discussion one: Engaging “Community”
One of LIGHT’s significant functions was to create a place where a photography community could meet, discuss ideas, feel a sense of camaraderie – in a word, commune.  In the last decades, the photographic community has vastly expanded and topics of discussion have shifted, resulting in multiple communities.  To explore its evolution, questions to be considered will be: How and where do we feel a sense of community in the present moment?  Do on-line platforms allow us to commune?  Is the sense of community weaker now? Or just as strong?  As we look ahead, how can we support the feeling of community that we want?

Moderated by Rick Wester, of Rick Wester Fine Art, and including Sarah Stolfa, photographer and President, Chief Executive Officer, and Artistic Director of Philadelphia Photo Arts Center; Alec Soth, photographer and book-maker; Dominique Luster, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archivist at the Carnegie Museum of Art; & Liz Allen, Director of the Arizona State University Northlight Gallery and SPE Executive Director.

3:15PM - 4:30PM
Panel discussion two: Valuing Story
The Center for Creative Photography holds the LIGHT Gallery archive, along with those of many of LIGHT’s artists, and includes an extensive oral history project initiated by Harold Jones as part of the Center’s Voices of Photography.  The CCP’s LIGHT Gallery research also involved long-form interviews, and the collection of visual material and testimonials. What is the power in storytelling? How have interviews, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, and material culture augmented our understanding of culture, and ourselves?  How are these sources being archived, why, and how will their existence alter the process of history-telling?

Moderated by Meg Jackson Fox, the associate curator of academic and public programs, and Emily Una Weirich, the associate archivist for digital initiatives, at the Center for Creative Photography, and including Molly Garfinkel, Director of Place Matters, City Lore in New York; Matthew Grilli, Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at University of Arizona and Director of the Human Memory Lab;  Cassie Mey, Oral History Archivist of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; and Judy Natal, photographer and author.

5:00PM - 6:00PM
The evening kicks off with a film screening of the new documentary by Lisa Immordino Vreeland that combines archival documents, contemporary interviews, and historic footage to explore the significance and impact of LIGHT Gallery.  The screening will be followed by a conversation between the filmmaker and Anne Breckenridge Barrett.

7:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturday closes with the opening of Land Re-Form at Etherton Gallery (135 S 6th Ave, Tucson). Etherton presents four photographers: Michael Berman, Mark Klett, Frank Gohlke and Michael Mulno, whose work emboldens us to confront the land—its forms and breadth, its use and politics, and its exquisite challenges— while also examining the ongoing desire to understand our shared existence.

Sunday, January 19

The symposium concludes with a panel, featuring insights and reflections on the weekend’s conversations, and a program celebrating the career of Harold Jones.

Introductions: Anne Breckenridge Barrett, Associate Vice President of the Arts for University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Creative Photography, will frame Sunday’s panels and make connections between the weekend of conversations and the Center for Creative Photography.

9:45AM - 11:15AM
Panel discussion one: How LIGHT Illuminates
This discussion will feature insights from those who worked at LIGHT, as well as their reflections on conversations of the weekend.  These perspectives will help draw together the many threads and ideas that were raised over the previous days.  Conclusions and observations will also be welcomed from the audience.

Panelists include Peter MacGill of Pace/MacGIll, Laurence Miller of Laurence Miller Gallery, Rick Wester of Rick Wester Fine Art, photography dealer Susan Harder, and artists Jack Sal and JoAnn Verburg.

Honoring Harold Jones
Join us as we celebrate Harold Jones and hear from his friends and colleagues about how his dedication and commitment to the field of photography fueled the innovative spirit behind LIGHT, the earliest days at the Center for Creative Photography, and the creation of the studio photography program at the University of Arizona. We close the weekend with a lunch reception and “raise a glass” to Harold Jones. Co-presented by the University of Arizona School of Art. This event is sold out. 

Thank you to the supporters of Legacies of LIGHT!

Susan VonKersburg

Fern M. Schad

J W Kieckhefer Foundation

Jett and Julie Anderson

Tim Hagyard Long Realty

Christopher Herbert and Nancy Welch

University of Arizona School of Art

Richard Menschel

Glenn Willumson

Peter MacGill and Susan Paulsen MacGill 

Etherton Gallery

Center for Creative Photography Director's Circle- Learn more about the Director’s Circle here.



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