Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to return to FOG Design+Art with iconic works by Nan Goldin, Robert Adams, Carrie Mae Weems, Eadweard Muybridge, Diane Arbus, and Lee Friedlander, among others, along with new work by Wardell Milan and Richard T. Walker, and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s sleek sculptural nod to Constantin Brancusi.
Nan Goldin is the subject of All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, the award-winning 2022 film directed by Laura Poitras, which follows the artist’s life and her personal fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for the U.S. opioid crisis. The artist has often pictured herself, documenting her journey with all its pleasure and pain.
Robert Adams’s celebrated nocturnal landscapes record the newly developed suburbs near his former home along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Made using only the light he encountered on his walks, the images are quiet and dreamy.
Memphis, where William Eggleston was born, is a central subject for the photographer. Writing in William Eggleston’s Guide, John Szarkowski described his images of the city as “sharply incised, formally clear, fictive, and mysteriously purposeful.” His photographs, Szarkowski wrote, endowed the “least pretentious of raw materials with ineffable dramatic possibilities.”
Lee Friedlander has photographed his own shadow throughout his career. Imposed over another person or playfully projected onto natural elements, he inserts himself into the scene his camera records—the photographer’s version of breaking the fourth wall.
When Wardell Milan began purchasing emergency blankets, he was initially attracted to their reflective surface. “After the height of the pandemic and the mass Black Lives Matter movements—as well as the on-going migrant crisis,” he writes, “my thoughts around the idea of refuge, liberation, and shelter were (and continue to be), amplified.” The series coalesces around the idea of creating “safe landscapes/safe spaces,” paintings where “anyone in need can find escape and solace.” In the silvery surfaces of the works, the viewer’s own reflection becomes part of the environment.
Richard Misrach began his ongoing Desert Cantos series in 1979, exploring the southwest American desert landscape as a wild and primordial place while recording the impact of our human presence on it. As the artist explains, “You look at landscape, but it’s not really landscape, it’s a symbol for our country, it’s a metaphor for our country.”
This sequence of images is part of Animal Locomotion, Eadweard Muybridge’s ambitious photographic project that aimed to represent human and animal motion rendered across time. The series has influenced generations of artists, and inspired scientific and photographic innovation, including motion picture technology.
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.
Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields draw from both Benjamin Franklin’s and Michael Faraday’s pioneering electricity research and William Fox Talbot’s discovery of calotype photography, applying an electrical charge directly to film to create powerful, elemental images.
In Carrie Mae Weems’s Missing Link series, the artist delves into the racist histories of New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions. Dressed in a black suit, white gloves, and an animal mask, the artist alludes to a collection of costume design drawings for the 1873 Comus Mardi Gras Parade, originally titled The Missing Links to Darwin’s Origin of Species.
Working in vast, dramatic landscapes or in the studio, Richard T. Walker explores human connections to the natural world. By joining his photograph of the sky with a cut stone culled from the mountainous landscape beneath, Walker reorders the elements of his environment. The result is a playful engagement with the conventions of landscape photography, questioning our emotional attachments to its rocky peaks and endless horizons.