Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to return to Art Basel with work by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Sophie Calle, Liz Deschenes, Adam Fuss, Martine Gutierrez, Peter Hujar, Richard Learoyd, Christian Marclay, Wardell Milan, Richard Misrach, Irving Penn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Carrie Mae Weems and others.
Robert Adams’s early, unpublished image of a Colorado commercial strip is from his seminal body of work, The New West, a photographic essay about our imprint on the landscape of the American West. Adams’s work is the subject of a current exhibition American Silence: The Photographs of Robert Adams at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which explores the spiritual and environmental meanings of his work. The show is accompanied by a catalogue (available for purchase here).
A collection of typologies by Bernd & Hilla Becher, assembled by a close friend of the artists, brings together four types of structures, subverting the viewer’s expectation of what is being typologized: the structures or the prints.
Hiroshi Sugimoto works in metal to produce mathematical models, following the tradition of forms envisioned by mathematicians to give substance to geometric ideas. “I have attempted to transform mathematical equations into tangible objects,” he has written about the works, which are created using a computer and advanced machining tools to sculpt each form.
Diane Arbus signed and inscribed the verso of this print:
“Miss Betty Broadbent, tattooed lady with Goldie, Her dog. Phila. 1964.“
The image is included in the definitive monograph Diane Arbus: Revelations, to be reissued by Aperture in the fall of 2022.
Activism has been central to Carrie Mae Weems’s practice. In new, large-format photographs made in Portland, Oregon, Weems records the aftermath of the city’s 2020 protests for racial justice. In the series, boarded-up windows become a canvas, collecting traces of graffiti and the paint used to cover it.
Inspired in part by Paul Gauguin’s 1902 painting Still Life with Parrots, Richard Learoyd’s photograph captures the iridescent feathers and the talismanic form of the two birds. Learoyd describes the image as “a joyous celebration of the exotic mingled with the tragedy of mortality.”
Wardell Milan works in mixed media, combining elements of photography, drawing, painting, and collage. Themes of freedom of expression and safe spaces are often at the forefront of his works, especially as they apply to the marginalized body.
“Lightly bearded, with tousled hair falling over one eye, he looks like a Greenpoint hipster,” Vince Aletti has written about one of Peter Hujar’s portraits of Keith Cameron.
Since the early 1990s, Liz Deschenes has made the medium of photography the subject of her work, exploring the meaning inherent in its materials. This work is from a series that references the Blue Wool Scale, a standard developed by textile manufacturers to measure lightfastness, and widely used in art conservation.
Writing in 1975 about Irving Penn’s platinum-palladium prints of cigarettes, John Szarkowski noted, “The capricious and frankly inconsequential nature of the nominal subject matter, in conjunction with its ambitious and enormously sophisticated handling, constitute a clear statement of intention: these photographs can be considered only as works of art.”
Working across mediums, Martine Gutierrez acts as an idiosyncratic cultural producer, blurring the lines between art and advertisement. In Neo-Indeo, a fashion editorial in the self-produced magazine Indigenous Woman, Gutierrez wears Indigenous textiles, some of which belonged to her Mayan grandparents, in a personal, multicultural version of high fashion.