"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Americans


There is a show of Robert Frank’s most famous photographs at the MET. I haven’t been yet but plan of getting there soon as I’m a great fan of those pictures.  In the Times review, Holland Cotter writes:

I’m reading feelings in here, but I think Mr. Frank was reading them into his subjects, which is why his pictures, separately and together, feel so personally laden. At this point, in 1955, he was on the first leg of a transcontinental car trip that would last 10 months and take him 10,000 miles. He was still learning the American language, the language of race and class, a stranger in a strange land that was getting more baffling.

How did he come to be there? Born in a German Jewish family in Zurich in 1924, he was interested in picture making early on. He apprenticed with several leading local photographers in his teens; in his early 20s he was doing promising work, examples of which are in the Met show. But he was temperamentally restless and impulsive. He needed to leave home, so he headed for New York.


Years after he took these career-making pictures, Frank directed an infamous (and officially un-released) documentary about the Rolling Stones.


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1 Rich   ~  Oct 22, 2009 11:57 am

He sounds like a modern day de Tocqueville.

2 Larry Koestler   ~  Oct 22, 2009 1:06 pm


I saw this exhibit several weeks ago, and it's stunning. I wasn't previously familiar with Frank's work, but "The Americans" should really be mandatory viewing for anyone with a pulse.

3 ms october   ~  Oct 22, 2009 1:29 pm

thanks for this post alex.

i am goinf nex weekend - in addition to this exhibit there are a couple of other things i want to see.

4 The Mick536   ~  Oct 22, 2009 4:17 pm

Frank has remained relevant and current. I wonder if it because he saw images at the time that no one else saw or because he saw universal images. Revisit Helen Levitt. A little dated. But Frank endures. I like Steven Shore, too. He is the next generation.

5 Jay Jaffe   ~  Oct 24, 2009 2:43 pm

I'm extremely excited to go see this. Having known about his work only via the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street album cover and mere whispers about Cocksucker Blues (which was virtually impossible to find pre-Internet), I had my mind sufficiently blown by seeing "Moving Out," his career retrospective at the Whitney in early 1996.

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