November 8th, 2008

Chris Keeley

robert frank - cocksucker blues

one naturalized American finds to see in the United States that signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere.” The “finds to see” is telling. The images in “The Americans,” first published in 1958, have the deceptively casual quality of snapshots, despite their compositional harmony and occasional purposefully skewed framing

a foundational work of the New American Cinema movement, and rarities like his notorious 1972 backstage document of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” tour, a fascinating, often chilling look at the rock star apparatus at its most grotesque and banal. (The film’s title includes the word “Blues” but is too smutty to print in full here.)

November 8, 2008

On the Roads He Traveled

“ ‘I told you to wait in the car,’ say people in America, so Robert sneaks around,” Jack Kerouac writes in the introduction to “The Americans,” Robert Frank’s tender and unflinching photographic portrait of this country and its people. Mr. Frank, who turns 84 on Sunday, took his photographs during an on-and-off road trip, at times with his young family in tow, pressing pedal to the metal from New York to New Mexico, Montana to Texas, from 1955 to 1956. Bankrolled by Guggenheim fellowship money, he captured a tremulous diversity — immortalized by his image of a spectrally white baby in the arms of a black nurse — at the very instant it was sending shock waves across the country. Collapse )