Open Secrets: Seventy Pictures on Paper 1815 to the Present, curated by Jeffrey Fraenkel and Matthew Marks, will be on view 16 January through 1 March 1997 at Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St., San Francisco.
Open Secrets was conceived as an exhibition that would examine the complex pleasures and challenges of looking at pictures. It focuses on works on paper – primarily photographs and drawings – media that embody an exceptional intimacy and immediacy of expression. This exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view pictures by photographers such as Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Edward Weston and Eugene Atget alongside works by Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian. As stated in the exhibition catalogue, “This is an experiment, and our interest is less in direct correspondence between pictures than it is in how these disparate works can engage each other in dialogue – how they comment upon and shed light on each other… Perhaps these juxtapositions allow us to hint at those mysterious, ineffable aspects of pictures that will always defy being written about.”
Among the highlights are Pablo Picasso’s cubist study of a water pitcher, drawn in Paris in the Autumn of 1909 and Paul Outerbridge’s similarly cubist platinum print titled “Saw and Square” from 1921; Frida Kahlo’s only print, “El Aborto,” a lithograph from 1932, recently acquired by the Achenbach Foundation of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and being exhibited here for the first time; and a “spirit photograph” of soldiers faces floating in the Albert Hall, 1932, by the virtually unknown Mrs. Ada Deane.
The exhibition has recently been on view at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York and is accompanied by a fully illustrated 144-page catalog of the same title, published by Fraenkel Gallery and Matthew Marks Gallery.