Richard Misrach: The Writing on the Wall

New chapters in the Desert Cantos project respond to the fraught political climate following the 2016 US election.

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Richard Misrach: The Writing on the Wall, recent photographs made in response to the 2016 US presidential election. For four decades Richard Misrach has been one of the most significant and influential photographers of the American landscape. He is perhaps best known for his monumental, ongoing epic, Desert Cantos, a multifaceted study of our political, cultural, and environmental relationship to the natural world. The exhibition, on view at Fraenkel Gallery from July 13 – August 16, 2017, marks the premiere of Premonitions and The Writing on the Wall, two new chapters in the Desert Cantos project.

Swastika, Barstow, California, 2017
pigment print, 62-3/4 x 82-3/4 inches (framed) [159.4 x 210.2 cm]
“Trump Loves American People,” North of Reno, Nevada, 2016
pigment print, 62-3/4 x 82-3/4 inches (framed) [159.4 x 210.2 cm]

In his travels through desolate areas of southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, the artist found countless signs of despair, protest, and anger scrawled on derelict buildings and rocky outcrops. His images of spray-painted graffiti record messages of desperation, hatred, grief, and hopelessness for the country’s future. The new work builds on Misrach’s photographs of related inscriptions made during the Obama years, images that now can be seen as unwitting omens of the abrupt shift in public discourse that was to come.

“You are here,” Desert Center, California, 2017
pigment print, 23-1/2 x 17-3/4 inches (framed) [59.7 x 45.1 cm]

The Writing on the Wall is accompanied by a 16-page publication illustrating 25 photographs from the series. This artist’s book will be available free of charge to visitors during the exhibition.

Fifty percent of all exhibition proceeds will be donated to Human Rights Watch.

Opening June 28 at Pace and Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York is Misrach’s Border Cantos, a collaboration with experimental composer Guillermo Galindo. Border Cantos traveled to the San Jose Museum of Art; Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2016-17. The exhibition and the accompanying publication explored complex issues surrounding the US-Mexico border through Misrach’s photographs of landscape and objects left behind by migrants, together with Galindo’s haunting musical instruments, sound installations, and scores.

Richard Misrach talks about how recent series recording graffiti in abandoned buildings fits into his long term exploration of the American desert, photographing cultural manifestations in the natural landscape.
Duration: 05:27 | Release Date: Jul 2017

Works on View

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