Robert Frank in America

September 10, 2014 – January 5, 2015

See details below for exact dates and times.

Cantor Arts Center, just off Palm Drive, at Museum Way and Lomita Drive Map

This major exhibition of 130 photographs will illuminate and present—for the very first time—Frank’s extensive work from the 1950s that surrounded his legendary work, The Americans. Drawn from the Cantor’s substantial collection and complemented by other key loans, the exhibition sheds new light on the making of The Americans and on this influential artist. Robert Frank in America opens a door to a rich body of work largely unknown more than half a century after it was made.

In 1955 and 1956 Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank traveled through the nation documenting everyday Americans. He shot 750 rolls of film, and chose 83 of the photographs for a book, The Americans, published in Paris in 1958 and in New York the following year. The photographic techniques Frank used—unusual focus, low lighting, and heavy cropping—sharply diverged from those accepted at the time, and the images revealed social issues disturbing to Frank, such as racial inequality and heavy consumerism. Frank’s fame rose, and his work was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Wanting to shed the burden of his early achievement, he never presented as a body of work the hundreds of photographs from which the book was crafted.

The exhibition will include a selection of photographs from The Americans together with many unknown and unfamiliar pictures. It will be organized both to highlight major themes—politics, race, religion, consumer culture, cars and the road—and to elucidate the photographer’s formal strategies. The wider range of images will show the artist at work as he probed major subjects such as Hollywood (seen both from within the studio and from the fans’ perspective) and the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit. And it will follow Frank as he returned repeatedly not only to certain subjects but to particular motifs, such as individual men, often mildly eccentric, forthrightly presented at full length in vertical frames; people whose eye contact with the photographer is the main event of the photograph; and individuals trapped, even overwhelmed, by their personal surroundings.

This exhibition is organized with the encouragement of Robert Frank by Peter Galassi, former chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art. In association with the Cantor, Steidl is publishing a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue with an essay by Galassi.

Ongoing every day from September 10, 2014 through January 5, 2015.

Open Wednesday - Monday, 11am - 5pm, Thursdays until 8pm; admission is free. Closed Tuesday.


Arts International Exhibition 

General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends, Members