June Kelly Gallery

Alex Harsley

Alex Harsley’s latest collection of his gripping photographs makes up another chapter in his four-decade pursuit to shape perception of a place.  His current exhibition entitled A Visual History of the Lower East Side / East Village will open at the June Kelly Gallery on June 20.  The work will remain on view through August 1.

As a walking tour often goes off the beaten path, so does Harsley with his keen eye, camera in hand, roaming on his bike, exploring aspects of the neighborhoods, their evolution and inhabitants.  Harsley’s images provide insights into places that are overlooked or never come to mind for most visitors.  His visual narratives afford access to one of the oldest, most historically significant and complex quarters in America, and today, some of the most visited enclaves and neighborhoods that include the East Village, the Bowery, Little Italy, and Chinatown.

Harsley’s personal exploration and inner passion for the daily human drama along with his uncanny sense of composition are both spontaneous and deliberate.  He approaches the subject of place in a personal and subjective way and produces images that represent a specific history – one continually evolving out of a larger movement of change through time.

The genesis of Harsley’s work resides in his experience as he captures images of places known and familiar as well as those that rise in the endless restaging of personalities, politics, and business.  This iconography from his own history allows him to create visually with conceptual understanding of how and why neighborhoods are formed, how they are connected, and how they are changing through time.  He uses this imagery to transform the links of inexorable change into broader and more universal experiences.

Harsley ‘s photographs, says Kelley Nicole Girod, who wrote the essay in the exhibition invitation, “are not only aesthetically dramatic but also offer a revealing slice of New York City’s past.”  She notes that the exhibition includes Harsley’s photographs of such iconic East Village figures as Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons and Quentin Crisp.

Harsley processes and prints his own work.  Each of his prints is unique as a result of his manipulation of the printing process in the darkroom, the layering of image, tone, and texture creating poignant as well as dream-like effects, transporting the viewer into unknown realms steeped with timely reality.

Harsley is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and grew up in New York City.  His images have been seen in numerous one-person and group exhibitions national and international and are represented in many private collections.

Harsley studied privately with Professor Lloyd Varden of Columbia University, a key figure in color photography.  He has collaborated on projects with a number of other artists, including videos with David Hammons and Candida Alvarez, and produced a video documentary,  “The Life and Work of Vincent Smith.”



Born Rock Hill, South Carolina
Lives and works in New York City

Private studies with Lloyd Varden (scientific advisor to photographic industry)

Solo Exhibitions
2014 A Visual History of the Lower East Side/ East Village, June Kelly Gallery, New York
Alex Harsley: The Comeback of Mohammed Ali, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2012 50 Years of Fine Art Images, June Kelly Gallery, New York
2005 Dualities, 4th Street Photo Gallery, New York
2004 44 Years of New York, June Kelly Gallery, New York
2002 Patchworks, essay by Dawoud Bey, June Kelly Gallery, New York
1997 Chiaroscuro, June Kelly Gallery, New York
1973-97 4th Street Photo Gallery, New York
1978 Black History Museum, Hempstead, NY
1974 Parallels of Inspiration, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA
1971 Optional Art One; Optional Art Two; Man, Matter & Art, Image Gallery, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions
2007 Celebration: Nine Artists Commemorate the 35th Anniversary of Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts,
  Winston-Salem, NC; brochure
2004 A Universe of Art, organized by Corporate Art Directions, Credit Suisse First Boston, NY
1976 Rhythms of Vision, Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York
1973 Communications ’73,Union Carbide Gallery, New York
Communications ’73, Long Island University, New York
1972 Symbols in the Mind - A Closer Look, Long Island University, New York

Selected Periodicals & Reviews
2013 Safran, Yehuda E., “Philip Johnson in MoMA’s Garden,” Potlach: A Journal of the
  Potlach Lab at Columbia University GSAPP, Issue #3, Spring, pp. 81-83, one
2012 Kley, Elisabeth, reviews: new york, “Alex Harsley, June Kelly,” ARTnews, September,
Cotter, Holland, “Alex Harsley,” Art in Review, The New York Times, June 15, p. C25
Boyd, Herb, “Alex Harsley’s Photos at June Kelly’s Gallery, The Network Journal,
  Friday, June 15
2004 Bey, Dawoud, “Into the Light,” review, art on paper, May/June
Aletti, Vince, review, Village Voice, February 4-10
2002 Tabron, Christopher, "Tiny 'Patchworks' of Art," SoHo Weekly News, April
1997 Schjeldahl, Peter, "Whitney Biennial," video collaboration with installation artist
  David Hammons, Village Voice
1985 Braff, Phyllis, "Pictures Worth a thousand Words," The New York Times,  Sunday, April
1975 Henni, P., "SWN Discoveries," Soho Weekly News
1971 Coleman, A. D., "Latent Image," Village Voice
Coleman, A. D., "Shows We've Seen," Popular Photography

Public Collection
  Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture,
  Washington, DC

Public Commissions
2000 Health and Hospital Corporation, Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Professional Experience
2004 Artist-in-Residence, Light Work, Syracuse, New York
1975-2003 Collaborative work with Dawoud Bey and David Hammons
1991-1999 Freelance: Schomburg Library for Research in Black Culture
1991-1992 Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration and Harlem Textiles Works
1971 Photojournalist, Relevant Magazine, photographing Muhammad Ali at training camp, Deer
  Lake, PA
1970-1971 Arverne Photographic Project
1967-1970 Supervisor, Color Lab (Types C&R)
1964-1967 Freelance for variety of black publications
1961-1963 Photographer, U.S. Army
1959 Photographer, New York County, District Attorney's Office

1994-2001 Collaboration with choreographer Rod Rogers
2000 Collaboration with poet John Farris at Tribes Gallery
1996-2000 Feature video, “The Life and Work of Vincent Smith”
1999 “Circles,” video collaboration with Candida Alvarez
“Passages,” feature piece for The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
1989-1999 Produced video for Harlem Textiles Works with the late director Kerris Wolsky
1998 Produced DVD for David Hammons
1995 “Kick the Bucket,” video collaboration with installation artist David Hammons
“The Plastic Man,” video collaboration with installation artist David Hammons

Contributor to the following publications:
1976 UNICEF Calendar, UNICEF, New York
1975 Looking Ahead, Harcourt Brace Jovanovic, Inc., New York
1974 Creative Photography, Eastman Kodak, Rochester, NY

1973-present Opened the 4th Street Photo Gallery, as owner and director
1971 Founded Minority Photographers, Inc, where he organized work and exhibitions of
  emerging photographers and acted as consultant
Published, “Person, Camera & The Image” newsletter (2,000 readership) to which he
  was a regular contributor with a piece called “To What Purpose a Leaf”
Organized special collection of photos taken in China, 1927-31by G.W. Meacham, U.S.
  merchant sailor

2000 Dictionary of International Biography, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge,
The Complete Book of Photographers, Macmillan
1988 Willis-Thomas, Debra, An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography of Black Photographers, 1940-1988,
  Vol. 2, Garland Publishing Company, New York, 1988

1971 Coached and collaborated with cyclist Patrick Gulanau who won national and
  international races both on track and road. In 2003, Gulanau won the Masters
  National Track championship
1960 Trained and collaborated with cyclist Herbert Francis, Olympics in Italy
1959 Photographed the six-day indoor bicycle races at Madison Square Garden, New York

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