Monday, February 9, 2009

Franks' Beans

{Image NGA}

I saw Looking In: Robert Franks' The Americans at the NGA over the weekend. Robert Frank was one of the first photographers that made an ounce of sense to me as a student (of painting). Jeff Wall was a close second. I had set out for the Open City expo at the Hirshhorn to learn how photography worked. I learned how. Right there.

I was also struck by how far apart the Frank/Evans point of view is from, say the Wall/Crewsdon (who infuriated me upon first glance. I've since made my peace) point of view. It is a similar language -lessons from Modern painting, sculpture, kitsch, newspapers- however adding film, TV, and the desktop into the mix creates a Jeff Wall. He is no less indebted to painting than Frank, but he sees through this extra layer of visual experience where even the act of looking has some kind of narrative content. It should also be said that Robert Frank moved on into film. You will see one in the exhibition.

As always NGA has some worth while online content to play with. Also the last line of Kerouac's introduction to The Americans is priceless. Read it in the next to last gallery, then -facing south- look to your right. It'll be fun I swear.

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