Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to return to Paris Photo with works by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Peter Hujar, Richard Learoyd, Christian Marclay, Wardell Milan, Richard Misrach, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Carrie Mae Weems, Garry Winogrand and others.
Christopher Ethelbert Cheyne operated a photographic studio in Hampton, Virginia, starting in 1894. His subjects included local businesses and family portraits, and in 1909, he photographed the graduating men and women of the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), a historically Black university founded in 1868. The Hampton Institute was the subject of a book published by the Museum of Modern Art in 1966, featuring Frances Benjamin Johnston’s photographs of the school and its students, commissioned for the Paris Centennial Exposition of 1900.
This print, made by Arbus between 1963 and 1965, includes a hand-drawn border with the name of the subject inscribed below. The image was included in the landmark exhibition New Documents, at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.
“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl,” according to the French New Wave film director Jean Luc Godard. Known for her complex critiques of popular culture and gender archetypes, the transdisciplinary artist Martine Gutierrez stages her own movie, assuming a diverse cast of femme fatales in Hit Movie. The photograph—a still from her video piece—alludes to the posters used to promote the 1990s action blockbuster films from which her heroines are drawn. Picturing herself as the Hollywood bombshells, she confronts the industry’s hyperfixation on feminine sexuality, revising Godard’s trope: “whether or not she is born with one, give a girl a gun and you’ve got a hit movie.”
In this self-portrait by Lee Friedlander, the artist’s shadow stands beneath a small sign noting the shop owner’s partial retirement—a sly image made early in Friedlander’s own career. Known for his playful layering of stylistic elements, Friedlander has often included his own shadow in photographs, inserting himself into the scene with mischievous humor.
In 2020, Robert Adams began making painted woodblocks—simplified compositions that draw on the stillness and grandeur he remembers from his time spent on the Colorado prairie. Modest in size and painted in springlike hues with block-printing ink, the wooden works sometimes echo forms found in his photographs. Robert Adams: The Plains, from Memory, collects these works in a catalogue published recently by Steidl.
Richard Misrach recently documented cargo ships in the San Francisco Bay, during a critical moment for the global shipping industry. Made in the light of early morning or late afternoon, Misrach’s images suggest a comparison to J.M.W Turner’s atmospheric maritime paintings, and recall the careful observation of the sky and water in Misrach’s own “Golden Gate” series.
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s ambitious nine-part typology pictures a series of cooling towers with an eye toward precision, clarity, and consistency. Seen from the front, each photograph depicts the facade of a tower, with large turbine fans peeking out from the base. With their rigorous photographic practice, the Bechers composed complex typologies allowing for comparative analyses of the shifting industrial landscapes of Western Europe and North America.
Such a project was only possible through the Bechers’ passion and technique. Writing about the recent exhibition of the artists’ work at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Blake Gopnik observes that “the preternatural level of detail on view, and its glorious range of grays and blacks, require negatives the size of a man’s hand, a tripod as big as a sapling, lens filters and an advanced darkroom technique.”
Fran Lebowitz was a close friend of Peter Hujar’s, and talks about their relationship in an interview published in Hujar’s monograph Love & Lust. “He was an insider,” says Lebowitz. “What connects all his photographs is that every single person he photographed, every single person that he was interested in, each of his friends, was a misfit. Peter was a misfit.”
Wardell Milan works in mixed media, combining elements of photography, drawing, painting, and collage. Themes of freedom and safety are often at the forefront of his works, especially as they apply to the marginalized body.
Richard Avedon photographed Dick Hickock and his father Walter at the request of Truman Capote, who was gathering material for In Cold Blood, his groundbreaking non-fiction novel about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959.
From Avedon, the younger Hickock, “gets the soft-focus celebrity treatment, the line between notoriety and fame as blurred as ever,” Alexandra Schwartz writes in The New Yorker. “Hickock, according to Capote, had always been self-conscious about his long, lopsided face. His nose juts out at a Picasso angle, and while his right eye meets Avedon’s lens straight on, his smaller left one seems to look inward. The result is a double portrait, part persona, part awkward, vulnerable self.”
Richard Learoyd’s photographs have “a kind of fetishistic meaning,” writes Sandra S. Phillips in the catalogue for the artist’s survey at Fundación MAPFRE in 2019. “We relate to these pictures as expressions of art, to be sure, but there is something magical about them, too.”