Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce New Old Pictures/New New Pictures, an exhibition of large-format photographs by Richard Misrach, his sixteenth with the gallery since 1985. The exhibition marks the debut of his new series, Cargo, atmospheric studies of maritime traffic that raise questions about international commerce and the supply chain upon which the world now depends. Also on view will be works made from recently discovered negatives produced throughout Misrach’s near five-decade career. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Thursday, June 29, from 5:30 to 7:30pm, and a book signing with the artist on Saturday, July 29, from 2 to 4pm.
Misrach began Cargo in 2021, as the global shipping industry faced a critical moment. The photographs in this ongoing series are made from a single vantage point in San Francisco, looking south and east across the bay. Photographed throughout the changing seasons, the five images on view capture the glow of the Port of Oakland at dawn and ships seen by afternoon and evening light. In their careful observation of the drama of sky and water, the images suggest a comparison to J.M.W Turner’s seascapes, and recall Misrach’s On the Beach series, which similarly depended on patient waiting for the convergence of light and subject.
The exhibition also features approximately 10 new works made from negatives spanning 25 years, from 1984 to 2009, many of them previously unseen or unpublished. Returning to his archive, Misrach selected images that hadn’t fit into larger projects but which, when viewed today, have gained new meaning. Many of the works were made as part of Misrach’s Desert Cantos series, which explores the impact of our human presence on the deserts of the American Southwest. The selection features photographs of iconic land art installations including Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels and Michael Heizer’s City, and images of the Great Salt Lake Desert and Battleground Point, where Misrach recorded figures among the water and dunes, setting the photograph apart from other work in the series. Other works include a cloud-filled print from the Golden Gate series, and a view of an Oregon beach that was previously featured in the artist’s Color Reverse series. Printed as the camera originally recorded the scene, the image takes on a new life. Together, the photographs serve as a brief and idiosyncratic survey of Misrach’s career.