Long Story Short

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 26, 1-4 pm

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce Long Story Short, an exhibition and book marking the gallery’s 40th year. Comprised of sixty photographs spanning almost eighteen decades, Long Story Short is both an unconventional slice of photography’s rich history and an X-ray of the gallery’s idiosyncratic approach to the medium. On view from October 24, 2019 through January 18, 2020, the exhibition examines photography’s essential role in the evolution of art over the last 180 years and highlights links between the medium’s early pioneers and multi-disciplinary artists of today.

As Jeffrey Fraenkel explains, “Long Story Short is essentially a sliver of photography’s tasty pie, a tight group of objects that includes works by established masters as well as flea-market finds. Viewers may recognize many of the names, but most of the images will be surprises—and quite a few are anonymous images about which we know almost nothing. Here, in the thick of our digital era, we still believe that the physical presence of artworks can affect a person in the deepest ways. Long Story Short aims to convey that visceral sense of experiencing a work of art for the first time, in ways that defy words.”

Long Story Short begins with an anonymous daguerreotype, circa 1849, of a young woman holding a daguerreotype in her lap and continues with pivotal photographs by Charles Aubry, Carleton Watkins, Eugene Atget, and E.J. Bellocq. The story develops with photographs by Berenice Abbott, Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, and lesser-known 20th-century works by Helen Levitt, Romare Bearden, Diane Arbus, and William Eggleston. The evaporation of walls separating photography and other media is reflected in more recent works by Sophie Calle, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Mel Bochner, Wardell Milan, Elisheva Biernoff, and Liz Deschenes—artists whose work is not strictly, or not at all, photography.

Long Story Short offers a deliberate alternative to the onslaught of disposable imagery now part of everyday experience, and was conceived to reward sustained engagement. Both the exhibition and the book lead the viewer through an abbreviated tour of photography’s 180-year evolution. Fraenkel Gallery president Frish Brandt noted, “The range of artists and images provides for a vibrant first-person experience, whether seen in the gallery or in the book.”