Press Release

Burk Uzzle: American Puzzles
Exhibition: June 11th – July 31st 2015
Opening Reception: June 11th 2015, 6 – 8 PM


Steven Kasher Gallery is proud to announce a major exhibition, 

Burk Uzzle: American Puzzles, the first exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery. The exhibition features over 70 vintage black and white photographs of the American social landscape from the 1960s through the 2000s. Like the photographs of the New Topographics, Uzzle’s work offers a formal simplification of the visual field with an emotionally complex rendering of American society. His puzzle-like images question and confront the tensions present in our individual and cultural psyches.


Uzzle’s work utilizes nuanced compositions, quirky and obscure. They feature a poignant yet empathetic sense of irony. Uzzle says, “These photographs are an appreciation of America. Their structure, like that of America itself, evokes a melody of movement and collage – not an explanation.  Unlike documents, they play tag with layers of reality, both interior and exterior. America is like that, conditioning us to zig-zag and change with its constant, energetic barrage of many and various realities. But there is a melody in all the movement, and I can only feel it in America.”


Henri Cartier-Bresson advised Uzzle to study the Quattrocento painters which, as he says, erased his laser vision that riveted on a single headline moment and opened his eyes to the play of planes “to head me into confusion, riot, and the camera’s gluttony and the simultaneous distraction of the world.” Alongside of his artistic work, Uzzle has produced some of the most recognizable images we have of Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cambodian War.


Born in 1938 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Uzzle began working as a photographer at age 14.  He became a staff photographer for the Raleigh News & Observer at 17, and by 1957 was hired as a contract photographer for the Black Star Agency. 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 and Robert Capa. An active contributor to Magnum for over sixteen years, he was twice elected president.


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 Ties, 2006); and his first book of color photographs Just Add Water: Photographs by Burk Uzzle (Five Ties, 2007). His work has been included in anthologies including 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).


Burk Uzzle’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of numerous museums worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.;  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Art Institute of Chicago; International Center of Photography, New York; the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; and the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.


Timeline of Select Career Highlights
1962     Hired by LIFE magazine at age 23, their youngest ever photographer
1967     Invited to join Magnum Photos
              Liverpool work published as a portfolio in LIFE
1968     Travelled independently to Memphis and Atlanta to cover the death of Martin Luther King
              Image used by Newsweek as cover photo the week of King’s death
1969     Went independently to Woodstock, focused on social scene rather than music scene
                Image used as cover of the Woodstock album
                Woodstock work was re-featured in solo show at Laurence Miller Gallery in 2009
1971      First book, Landscapes, published by Magnum, the first book ever published by Magnum
                Solo show, Landscapes, at the Art Institute of Chicago
1979      Elected President of Magnum Photos, re-elected 1980
1985      All American, published by Aperture
               All American, solo show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
1992     Solo show at Chrysler Museum, accompanying catalogue A Progress Report on Civilization             
2006     A Family Named Spot published 2006, introduction by Charlie Rose
              A Family Named Spot, solo show at Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
              A Family Named Spot, solo show at Laurence Miller Gallery, NYC
2007     Just Add Water published, introductory essay by Vicki Goldberg
              Just Add Water, solo show at Laurence Miller Gallery, NYC
2010     Burned, solo show at Laurence Miller Gallery, New York City, 2012


Burk Uzzle: American Puzzles will be on view June 11th – July 31st, 2015. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM through July 10th. Summer Hours begin July 13th, Monday – Friday 10 AM to 6 PM. For more information about the exhibition and all other general inquiries, please contact Cassandra Johnson, 212 966 3978,