Remembering Robert Frank: Books and Films, 1947-2017 Exhibition

Funeral photograph by Robert Frank

Robert Frank: Books and Films, 1947–2017

Tisch Library remembers Robert Frank, who passed away on September 9, 2019.

In 2017, from October 7th through November 5th, the work of acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank was featured in an exquisite pop-up exhibit at Tisch Library.  This experimental exhibition showed the work of the great artist, Robert Frank (b. 1924, Zurich), who is considered the inventor of street photography. He developed new forms of expression within the medium of photography with his method of sequencing and composing pictures in intuitive series beyond the traditional photographic essay. Despite Frank’s significant influence on photographers both of his own and subsequent generations, there have only been a few exhibitions of his work. The traveling exhibition, which has been shown chiefly at universities and schools, seeks to remedy that. Frank’s original silver gelatin prints are now fragile objects, and most are not on public display. Galleries, museums, and investors lend Frank originals only under limited conditions of display and with exorbitant insurance costs. This, in turn, makes organizing traditional exhibitions very difficult.

Conceived by Robert Frank and Gerhard Steidl, the exhibition showed Frank’s work in photos, books, and films in a direct, accessible manner. Frank’s images were printed on sheets of newsprint and hung on the walls or from the ceiling. Frank’s films and videos, which are so often overshadowed by his photographic work, were shown on small portable “beamers” that project directly onto the walls. Each exhibition was disposed of after display, thus circumventing the normal cycle of speculation and consumption in the art market. When the idea for this pop-up show first reached Frank in his small, crooked house in the Canadian village of Mabou, he said: “Cheap, quick, and dirty, that’s how I like it!”

The unconventional catalogue for the exhibition is a special edition of the renowned German daily newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. The catalogue follows the newspaper's original design and format, and is printed on recycled newsprint.

For more information about Robert Frank, go to:

The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of Steve Tisch, A71, and the Steve Tisch Foundation; Steidl; and the Richard Ehrlich Family Foundation.

Previous Exhibition Venues:

Houston Center of Photography (12.9.17 - 1.5.18)

Tufts University, Tisch Library (10.7.17 - 11.5.17)

IMS Paulista, Sao Paulo (9.19.17 - end of November 2017)

KIITO, Kobe (9.2.17 - 9.22.17)

Art Institute of Chicago (5.12.17 - 5.26.17)

Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (12.4.16 - 3.26.17)

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism/Worth Ryder Gallery (2.18.17 - 3.3.17)

Tokyo University of the Arts/The Chinretsukan Gallery (11.10.16 - 11.24.16)

Kunsthalle Ziegelhütte, Appenzell (5.15.16 - 10.30.16)

Bergamot Station/UCLA, Santa Monica (3.25.16 - 4.13.16)

Halle 14, Leipzig (3.16.16 - 4.10.16)

NYU/Tisch School of the Arts (1.29.16 - 2.11.16)

Fotoistanbul, Istanbul (10.9.15 - 11.8.15)

Museum Folkwang, Essen (4.17.15 - 8.16.15)

Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (11.22.14 - 12.21.14)

NSCAD University, Halifax (9.5.14 - 9.12.14)

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