Danziger Gallery presents an exhibition devoted to Robert Frank American photographs, his best known and arguably most important work. The exhibition will be comprised of 40 photographs – 15 from Frank’s seminal book “The Americans” (now celebrating the 60th anniversary of its American publication) and 25 unpublished works from Frank’s travels at the time.
Robert Frank died today. As Sean O’Hagan wrote for The Guardian “it is impossible to imagine photography’s recent past and overwhelmingly confusing present without (Robert Frank’s) lingeringly pervasive presence. Frank was 31 in 1955 when he secured the Guggenheim Grant… He shot around 28,000 pictures. When Les Americains was published by Robert Delpire in France in 1958, it consisted of just 83 black and white images, but it changed the nature of photography, what it could say and how it could say it… it remains perhaps the most influential photography book of the 20th century… (Robert Frank) caught what Diane Arbus called the ‘hollowness’ at the heart of many American lives, the chasm between the American dream and the everyday reality.” One of the photographers I know in Cape Breton, Chad Tobin, @tobinchad, has been photographing Robert Frank at his summer home in Mabou, Nova Scotia for ten years now. He and Robert Frank had a special connection.
The Laura Israel-directed Don’t Blink made its world premier last fall during the New York Film Festival and according to our reviewer Judy Gelman Myers, the documentary offers a multifaceted view of the photographer so well known for The Americans. “This is Robert Frank the funny guy, the experimental filmmaker, the fan of the ’60s Beat scene,” she wrote.
When the current Robert Frank exhibit at New York University closes next week, it’s really closing: The images will be handed over to photo students who will, in a private ceremony, draw on them or sculpt them into some creation of their choosing. Then they will destroy them.