September 12, 2017
The Ford Foundation continues to bring us exceptional works of art providing fresh framing challenges and opportunities. We just completed this oversized shadow box frame for a large-scale print from photographer Alex Harsley. We floated the photo on archival museum board with mulberry paper hinges and completed mounting the artwork behind conservation acrylic glazing. A "shadow box" is appropriate for the work we framed titled “I Am the Greatest” (versions of this image have also appeared as "I am Beautiful" and "Up Close and Personal") and depicts boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 1972, at the height of his fame. Ali is captured in mid powerful gesture; obviously speaking with the forcefulness he was known for.
The framed photo, "I am the Greatest" in our studio ready for delivery
Alex Harsley is a native of South Carolina and a photographer and experimental videographer who began his career as the first black photographer for NYC’s District Attorney in 1959. In 1971 he became the founder of the non-profit Minority Photographers Inc. Following that he founded The 4th Street Photo Gallery in 1973 on NYC’s Lower East Side. The 4th Street Photo gallery has been in operation since 1973 at its original location, a storefront between Bowery and Second Avenue in Manhattan. Harlsey serves as the director of the 4th Street Gallery, “where he has exhibited generations of artists, young and old, and kept a welcoming, mentoring salon, which tends to keep jazz hours, opening midafternoon and operating well into the evening.” *
Antonio preparing the hinges for the floating process
As well as his responsibilities with the 4th Street gallery, he is a highly successful photographer in his own right. “I am the Greatest” is part of a group of photos he took of Ali during the fighter’s heyday. Works from this series have been shown internationally in venues including Torch Gallery, Amsterdam and June Kelly here in New York.
Photographer Alex Harsley, self-portrait
Harsley is strongly representative of artists in the Ford Foundation’s collection. They continue to acquire works and support artists in keeping with their mission of inclusiveness and opportunities for all. It is an honor and a pleasure to continue our ongoing working relationship with them and we look forward to framing more relevant and exciting art.