Nicholas Nixon: About Forty Years

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce About Forty Years, a four-decade survey of the work of Nicholas Nixon (b. 1947). The exhibition will be accompanied by a 180-page hardcover publication of the same title, to be published by Fraenkel Gallery and distributed by D.A.P.

In 1975 Nixon commented, “The world is infinitely more interesting than any of my opinions about it.” To present the world as he sees it Nixon has consistently used large, unwieldy cameras, with negatives measuring 8 x 10 inches or 11 x 14 inches, to describe life in precise, compelling detail.

His recurring themes—portraits of the very young and the very old, cities seen up close and afar, people on their porches, etc.—at first may appear to be unrelated strands. But, in retrospect, the photographs are woven together by the artist’s singular sensibility: a feeling of intimacy gained by clear-eyed, lucid description. In the frame of his camera, Nixon revels in the rich variation of surfaces and textures and the specific characteristics that give his subjects life.

Whether photographing landscape, couples making love, extreme close-ups of hair and skin, or family groups, Nixon’s work captures fleeting moments and gestures in an extended pause. His photographs seem to suspend time while evidencing a palpable consciousness of its passage.

Though well known for The Brown Sisters, the continuing annual portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters, Nixon’s wider body of work has been less well documented. The new book About Forty Years features 100 exquisitely reproduced images and will present the most thorough view yet of Nicholas Nixon’s expansive contributions to photography.

Self, Albuquerque, 1973
My Desk, Cambridge, 1975
View of Essex Street, Near the Massachusetts Turnpike, Boston, 1976
Yazoo City, Mississippi, 1979
Elm Street, East Cambridge, 1981
C.C., Boston, 1983
Bebe, Cambridge, 1980
Clementine, Cambridge, 1985
Robert Sappenfield and His Parents, Dorchester,Massachusetts, 1988
Bebe and I, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, 1998
R.L., S.V., Cambridge, 2000
John Royston, Easton, Massachusetts, 2006
View from Washington Street, Boston, 2008
Waverly Street, Brookline, 2011
Bebe and I, Brookline, 2012
Front Steps, Brookline, 2014
Our Front Porch, Brookline, 2014
Self, Brookline, 2015