Biography

Born in 1938 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Uzzle began working as a photographer at age 14.  He became a staff photographer for the News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) at 17, and by 1957 was hired as a contract photographer for the Black Star Agency. During that time he documented the Civil Rights Movement and produced some of the most iconic images of the assassination and funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1962, at age 23, he became the youngest photographer ever hired by LIFE magazine.

 

In 1967, Uzzle became a member of Magnum Photos, the prestigious international cooperative founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson. An active contributor to the organization for over sixteen years, he was twice elected president.  He now works as an independent photographer. It was Cartier-Bresson who advised Uzzle to study the Quattrocento painters which, as he says, erased his laser vision that riveted on a single headline moment, opened his eyes to the play of planes, events and things back and forth in space, and “to head me into confusion, riot, and the camera’s gluttony and the simultaneous distraction of the world.”  

 

Burk Uzzle has conducted a visual love affair with America for over six decades. Having traveled to nearly every country in Europe and Southeast Asia, Brazil, Peru, Nigeria, Egypt and beyond, Uzzle says “America is the most exotic country in the world. It is also the loneliest.” A nuanced composition blending American culture, the quirky and obscure, with a poignant yet empathetic sense of irony, his images provide an intuitive and unique view of the persons, places and oddities that define the singular and diverse character of America.

 

Like the New Topographics, his work is an intriguing interplay of simple shapes, contrasting colors, and a simplification of the visual field. His flattened images prompt us to consider that which is not readily apparent, questioning  and confronting the harmony and tension present not only in his aesthetic but in our individual and cultural psyches. Throughout his prolific career, Uzzle has produced some of the most recognizable images we have of Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cambodian War, and small-town America.

 

Five monographs of the artist’s work have been published; Landscapes, Magnum, 1967, All American, Aperture, 1985; Progress Report on Civilization, Chrysler Museum, 1992; A Family Named Spot, Five Tie, 2006; and his first book of color photographs, Just Add Water: Photographs by Burk Uzzle, Five Ties, 2007. His work has been included in numerous anthologies including A Day in the Life of America, Harper Collins, 1986; Master Photographs, International Center of Photography, 1988; Magnum: Fifty Years on the Front Line of History, Grove Press, 1999; The Great LIFE Photographers, Bullfinch, 2004; American: The Social Landscape from 1940 – 2006, Masterpieces of American Photography, Damiani Editore, 2006; and Rethinking Landscape, Taubman Museum of Art, 2008.

 

The work of Burk Uzzle has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; International Center of Photography, New York; Laurence Miller Gallery, New York; The Photographer’s Gallery, London; Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris; Bodo Nieman Gallery, Berling; and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. In 2016, a retrospective of his work will open at the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham; the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill; and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. 

 

 

Selected Museum Permanent Collections:
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Art Institute of Chicago
Arts Council of Great Britain
Bibliotheque Nationale de France
Chrysler Museum of Art
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University
George Eastman House
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington at Seattle
International Center of Photography NYC
Library of Congress
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Modern Art
Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University
National Museum of Modern Art, Japan
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Smithsonian Institution
Stedelijk Museum
University of Texas
Weatherspoon Museum

 

 

 

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2016
Burk Uzzle Retrospective, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Burk Uzzle Retrospective, Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Burk Uzzle Retrospective, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
2012
Burned, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2011
Burk Uzzle, Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2010
Martin Luther King, Jr, Wilson Arts Council, Wilson NC
2009
Woodstock, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, FL
Woodstock 40th Anniversary, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2008
Burk Uzzle Recent Work, Barton College, Wilson, NC
2007
Just Add Water: America in Color, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2006
Burk Uzzle, Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2005
A Family Named Spot, The Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
2004
Burk Uzzle, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2001
America in the Seventies, Bodo Nieman Gallery, Berlin, Germany
1998
Daytona Bike Week, Gallery Contempo, St. Augustine, FL
1996
Correspondence Between Islands, Danforth Gallery, Portland, ME
1994
Burk Uzzle Recent Work, The Photography Gallery, Drew University, Madison, NJ
1992
A Progress Report on Civilization, The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
1985
Burk Uzzle, 253 Gallery, Norfolk, VA
1984
All America: Photographs by Burk Uzzle, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1983
Burk Uzzle, The Photographer’s Gallery, London, England
1982
Burk Uzzle, The Ffoto Gallery, Cardiff Wales
Burk Uzzle, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, England
1980
News from Cambodia, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1979
Burk Uzzle, Gallerie Agath Gaillard, Paris, France
Burk Uzzle, Galerie Fiolet, Amsterdam, Holland
Burk Uzzle, Witkin Gallery, New York, NY
Burk Uzzle, Galerie Breitling, Berlin, Germany
1977
Burk Uzzle, Aperion Workshop, Traveling Exhibition
Burk Uzzle, Columbia College, Chicago, IL
1974
Burk Uzzle, Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH
Burk Uzzle, 831 Gallery, Birmingham, MI
1973
Burk Uzzle, University of Massachusetts Art Gallery, Boston, MA
1971
Burk Uzzle, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1970
Typically American, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1969
Burk Uzzle, Riverside Museum, New York, NY
 

 

 

 

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2014
Modern Times: Photography in the 20th Century, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2013
Light Sensitive, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
2012
Director’s Choice, Ackland Art Musuem, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Man Made Color, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2010
Permanent Collection, Nasher Museum, Durham, NC
2009
70, La Photographie Americaine, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Reality Revisited, Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
2008
Ojos Privados, Foto Colectania Foundation, Collection of Laurence Miller, Barcelona, Spain
2006
Masterpieces of American Photography, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
2005
Florida Focus, Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Largo, FL
2004
Altered Eden, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
Riptide: America on the Flip Side, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
2003
Leslie Fry, Sculptor- Burk Uzzle, Photographer, Mira Mar Gallery, Sarasota, FL
The Faceless Figure, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
2002
Where We Live, The Selby Gallery at Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL
2001
Fourteen Photographers, J. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
1998
Daytona Bike Week, Leica Gallery, New York
1994
Three Decades of Photography, Leica Gallery, New York, NY
1988
Photography in the Fine Arts, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1987
Selected Works, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
1983
Burk Uzzle and JoAnn Callis, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
1982
New York City at Night, City Gallery, New York, NY
1979
Contemporary Photographers, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Selected Works, Witkin Gallery, New York, NY
1978
Contemporary Photographers, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1977
Burk Uzzle and Mary Ellen Mark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
La Photo Comme Photographie, Centre d’Arts Plastiques, Bordeaux, France
Through Other Eyes, Arts Council of Great Britan, London, England
1976
Festival d’Automne a Paris, Musee Galliera, Paris, France
1975
Impact of Strong Photography Design, Nikon House, New York, NY
1974
100 Years of American Photography, La Maison de Port Deauville, Paris, France
1973
Burk Uzzle and Liliane DeCock, Witkin Gallery, New York, NY
1971
Contemporary Photographers, Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1970
Creative Photography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
1969
Spectrum One, Inaugural Exhibition, Witkin Gallery, New York, NY
Vision and Expression, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
1968
People in the Environment, 831 Gallery, Columbus, OH
Photography 68, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY