Americans Looking in: Curator Talk with Emilie Ahern & Sherri Littlefield

Join the curators of Americans Looking In for an exclusive conversation around the themes and inspiration behind the exhibition.

The Americans, by Robert Frank, was a highly influential book in post-war American photography. The photographs were notable for their distanced view of both high and low strata of American society and the book as a whole created a complicated portrait of the period, interpreted as skeptical of contemporary values and evocative of ubiquitous loneliness.

Both curators of this exhibition have reflected on what it means to be “American.” Having multicultural backgrounds and being raised in the States has given them both moments of confusion and frustration, and has led them to wonder what this country has to do with personal identity. When forming this exhibition, the curators presented themselves, artists, editors, leaders and everyday-people with the question – “What is American culture today, and what does an American look like?”

They ask the viewer to consider the question with them starting through the eyes of the artists in this exhibition, leading to self reflection upon exiting the space.

About the Curators

Emilie Ahern

Emilie Ahern is an artist living in New York. Working with language and sound, she alters the semiotic system that is our language, obscuring meaning.

Sherri Littlefield

Sherri is a New York City based photographer and curator interested in data, collaborative projects and using contemporary art toward social good.

Sherri was the director of Foley Gallery from 2016-2019, and was briefly the Interim Director of ClampArt in 2020. Projects curated by Littlefield have been featured at PULSE Art Fair, AIPAD, the Huffington Post, artnet, dnainfo new york and Whitewall Magazine.

She has served as a juror and reviewer for many competitions, including Photo Lucida Critical Mass (2020), PDN’S The Curator (2019), Photoville and PDN’s Photo Plus. She will be a reviewer during Palm Springs Photo Festival in September 2020.

As an artist, Sherri has exhibited her art internationally, including the Brighton Photo Biennial, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Aperture Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art – Georgia. Since 2018, Sherri serves on the advisory board of the New York Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers.

Littlefield has previously been on faculty at the Savannah College of Art and Design (2012-2015) and Parsons School of Design. (2015-2018) Sherri will resume her career in teaching in August 2020 at the International Center of Photography.

For curatorial projects and inquiries, please follow Sherri’s project treat gallery.

About The Center for Book Arts

The Center for Book Arts promotes active explorations of both contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to the book as an art object. The Center seeks to facilitate communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary visual and literary arts, while being a model organization locally, nationally, and internationally within the field. We achieve this through exhibitions, classes, public programming, literary presentations, opportunities for artists and writers, publications, and collecting.

Top Image by Kris Graves

Image edited by Emilie Ahern