ROBERT FRANK Exhibition Programming: In Conversation at the Metropolitan Museum OCTOBER 9; tickets on sale now!

After its launch at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the exhibition “LOOKING IN: ROBERT FRANK’S THE AMERICANS” is coming to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC (September 22, 2009 to January 3, 2010).  It is currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (through August 23rd) and the presentation at the Met will be its final venue.  This exhibition is not to be missed.   

Gallery Talks are planned for September 24th and November 4th at 11:00.  

On Friday, October 9th, Robert Frank will be appearing in conversation with the Sarah Greenough, Senior Curator of Photographs, National Gallery of Art and Curator of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, as well as Jeff  L. Rosenehim, Curator, Department of Photographs and organizer of its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum 

Beginning on Saturday, October 10th, the Metropolitan will present the “Robert Frank Film Series.”

On Saturday, October 17th, there will be a 1/2 day Teacher Program, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., fee of $40 includes one ticket to the special screening of the film Me and My Brother that afternoon at 2:30.

Learn about all three of these important events below, and book now as they are likely to sell out quickly!


From the Metropolitan Museum’s webpage for this event; seats are limited and available for purchase now ($23.00 each) :

An Evening with Robert Frank

Robert Frank, photographer and filmmaker. 
Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator, Department of Photographs. 
Sarah Greenough, Senior Curator of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Robert Frank, born in Switzerland in 1924, is one of the great living masters of photography. In a rare New York City appearance, he will discuss with curators Jeff L. Rosenheim and Sarah Greenough his career in photography and film and the conception, execution, and response to his ground-breaking book of photographs, The Americans, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.


From the Metropolitan Museum’s webpage for these Saturday events; seats are limited and available for purchase now ($40.00 each):

Robert Frank Film Series  (Saturdays, 2:30 p.m.)
Introduced by Jeff L. Rosenheim

October 10
Pull My Daisy
 (1959) and Conversations in Vermont (1969)

October 17 
Me and My Brother

October 24
Cocksucker Blues

October 31
Candy Mountain


From the education calendar webpage for this event for teachers:


October 17, 2009
Aimee Dixon; Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator, Department of Photographs, MMA; Rosa Tejada 

Half-Day Workshop—Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans
Robert Frank’s photographs, made on a cross-country road trip in 1955–56, offer a compelling portrait of the United States during times of great change. Discuss the photographs in the exhibition and possible classroom teaching approaches with the exhibition curator and Museum educators. Participants are provided with a complimentary ticket to a special screening of the Robert Frank film Me and My Brother at 2:30 p.m. that same afternoon. 

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Uris Center for Education, ground floor
Fee: $40 (Includes instruction and materials. Lunch is not provided.) 


Here is a link to the exhibition catalogue, softcover edition and expanded edition published by Steidl.

From the Steidl webpage about the book and the expanded edition:

“Published to accompany a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans” celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of this prescient book. Drawing on newly examined archival sources, it provides a fascinating in-depth examination of the making of the photographs and the book’s construction, using vintage contact sheets, work prints, and letters that literally chart Frank’s journey around the country on a Guggenheim grant in 1955 –1956. Curator and editor Sarah Greenough and her colleagues also explore the roots of The Americans in Frank’s earlier books, which are abundantly illustrated here, and in books by photographers Walker Evans, Bill Brandt, and others. The eighty-three original photographs from The Americans are presented in sequence in as near vintage prints as possible. The catalogue concludes with an examination of Frank’s later reinterpretations and deconstructions of The Americans, bringing full circle the history of this resounding entry in the annals of photography.

Published alongside the softcover edition, Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans” – Expanded Edition includes a wealth of additional materials, essential information for all interested in twentieth-century photography. It contains all of the essays and photographs in the softcover, plus all of Frank’s vintage contact sheets related to The Americans, a section that re-creates his preliminary sequence and presents variant croppings of the first and subsequent editions of the book, and a map and chronology, along with letters and manuscript materials by Frank, Walker Evans, and Jack Kerouac related to Frank’s Guggenheim fellowship, his travels around the United States in 1955 – 1956, and his construction of the book. This groundbreaking 528-page catalogue is certain to be the definitive source of information on The Americans for years to come.”

Here is a link to Summer Cannibals, “a music video collaboration between Patti Smith and photographer/filmmaker legend Robert Frank”  who is credited as Director (embedding disabled):


About the exhibition, from the Press Release posted on the Metropolitan Museum’s website:

Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans

  • Exhibition Dates: September 22, 2009–January 3, 2010
  • Exhibition Location: Galleries for Drawings, Prints and Photographs, and The Howard Gilman Gallery, second floor
  • Press Preview: Monday, September 21, 10 a.m.–noon

The 50th anniversary of the publication of The Americans, Robert Frank’s groundbreaking book of black-and-white photographs, will be celebrated with the major exhibition Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, on view at the Metropolitan Museum September 22, 2009–January 3, 2010. Robert Frank is one of the great living masters of photography, and his seminal book The Americans captured a culture on the brink of social upheaval. The exhibition traces the artist’s process of creating this once-controversial suite of photographs, which grew out of his beat-inflected road trips in 1955 and 1956. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank was an outsider encountering much of America for the first time; he discovered its power, its vastness, and—at times—its troubling emptiness. Although Frank’s depiction of American life was criticized when the book was released in the U.S. in 1959, The Americans soon became recognized as a masterpiece of 20th-century art. Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans features all 83 photographs from his original book. Remarkably, the Metropolitan’s exhibition will be the first time that this body of work is presented in its entirety to a New York audience.

The exhibition is made possible by Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans is the most comprehensive and in-depth exploration of Frank’s original book ever undertaken and will feature more than 100 photographs, 17 books, and 15 manuscripts, as well as 28 contact sheets made from the artist’s negatives. First published in France in 1958, The Americans remains the single most important book of photographs published since World War II. The exhibition begins with an examination of the roots of The Americans through a display of Frank’s earlier books and other series of photographs made in Europe, Peru, and New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In this prefatory group of works, the artist had already established his style of street photography and his thoughtful approach to sequencing his photographs.

In 1955 and 1956, with funding from a Guggenheim Fellowship, the young photographer undertook a 10,000-mile journey across more than 30 states. While crisscrossing the U.S., Frank made more than 27,000 photographs. The exhibition follows the artist’s process through his production of more than 1,000 work prints, and a year spent editing the images, selecting the photographs, and constructing the sequence. A large display comprised of rough work prints Frank made in 1956 and 1957 reveals the themes he wanted his book to explore: racism, politics, consumer culture, families, and the way Americans lived, worked, and played. Vintage contact sheets and letters to photographer Walker Evans and author Jack Kerouac also help trace Frank’s preparations and planning for the book.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the presentation of all 83 photographs from The Americans, often in rarely exhibited vintage prints, and in the sequence that Frank established. The first image in the book,Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey (1955) sets the tone for Frank’s journey of discovery across the country: two women stand in their respective windows, one face in shadow, the other’s view obstructed by a large and billowing American flag. Trolley—New Orleans (1955), a signature work by Frank in the Museum’s collection, depicts street-car passengers of different ages, genders, and races that brings to the forefront racial politics in the segregated South and the hierarchies among men and women, the young and the old.

Frank often focused on introspective individuals. Rodeo—New York City (1954) is a study of a cowboy—not in the West, but on the streets of Manhattan, in town for the rodeo. Elevator—Miami Beach (1955) inspired Jack Kerouac to write in his introduction to the original book, “…that little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what’s her name and address?”

Frank also found beauty in overlooked corners of the country and, in the process, helped redefine the icons of America. U.S. 285, New Mexico (1955) is a view of the open highway that reminds us of the raw poetry of the journey itself. In his photographs of diners, cars, and the road, Frank pioneered a seemingly intuitive, off-kilter style that was as innovative as his choice of subjects. Equally influential was the way he sequenced photographs in The Americans, linking them thematically, formally, and emotionally, and ultimately creating a haunting picture of mid-century America.

The conclusion of the exhibition addresses the impact of The Americans on Frank’s subsequent career and includes still photographs and a short film made by the artist in 2008 especially for this exhibition.

The exhibition was organized by Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art. It is organized at the Metropolitan Museum by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in the Department of Photographs.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published in two different editions by the National Gallery of Art in association with Steidl. The 396-page softcover edition features 384 illustrations and essays by Sarah Greenough, Jeff L. Rosenheim, Anne Wilkes Tucker, Stuart Alexander, Martin Gasser, Michel Frizot, Luc Sante, and Philip Brookman. The hardcover edition was expanded to also include reproductions of the artist’s contact sheets; correspondence, and archival documents; a comparison of varying editions of The Americans; and a chronology and map. The hardcover edition is 528 pages with 486 illustrations. Both editions will be available in the Museum’s bookshops ($75 hardcover, $45 softcover), as well as the facsimile of the original U.S. edition of The Americans (Steidl, $39.95).

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum will offer an extensive array of educational programs, such as: a Sunday at the Met program on October 4; a conversation with Robert Frank on October 9; a concert titled “Patti Smith and Friends–A Salute to Robert Frank” on October 17; and a subscription series of Robert Frank’s films in October, including Pull My Daisy (1959) and Cocksucker Blues (1972). Among the other education programs are: additional screenings of films and videos by the artist; a “Film and Art” class for ages 15-18; numerous gallery talks by curator Jeff L. Rosenheim; a “Pictures This!” workshop for adults who are blind or partially sighted; a teacher workshop; and a photography class for people with visual impairments. The exhibition will also be featured on the Museum’s website at

The exhibition was previously on view at National Gallery of Art, Washington, and it is traveling to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (May 16–August 23, 2009) before its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum (September 22, 2009–January 3, 2010).

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June 2, 2009


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