Posts Tagged ‘42nd Street New York

03
Jan
20

European photographic research tour exhibition: ‘Robert Frank. Unseen’ at C/O Berlin

Exhibition dates: 13th September – 30th November 2019

Visited September 2019 posted January 2020

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

 

Utopian dreaming / dystopian dreams

Synchronicity… when I visited this exhibition on the 16th September 2019, the grand man had only died the previous week on the 9th September 2019.

This was a fabulous exhibition of mainly VINTAGE prints (see labels) at C/O Berlin, with the added bonus of seeing many Robert Frank photographs I had never seen before.

 

Thoughts

  1. The vintage prints were much larger than I had thought they would be
  2. The English photographs were very impressive. A similar tonal range to Josef Sudek’s prints in these works i.e. no hard blacks or whites zones 2.5-8
  3. The Americans – to actually see a large vintage print of the Trolley Car was incredible. The Black American man’s face was only his mouth, nose and eyes, the rest was completely dark
  4. The vintage prints seemed more whimsical than the later prints: not so much contrast. Sometimes edges bleed off, grain was large, depth of field low, skylines askew. Frank loved his silhouettes and chiaroscuro

.
It was a great pleasure to see these iconic photographs together in one place. Several times I had to catch my breath as one famous image followed another. But then there were images I had never seen before. Mostly vintage prints as well… as close to Frank’s original vision as you can get. More poetic, more spontaneous, than the later prints. The United States photographs form a road trip of impressions, a reflective and elegiac poem to the American dream.

It’s not often that you can say that an artist changed how we see and interpret the world but that is the case. Through his seminal work The Americans, Frank’s importance to the history of photography and visual culture cannot be denied. Americans didn’t like the mirror that was held up to their society by an outsider, a European Jew. Frank certainly wasn’t afraid to picture the underbelly of America – a phlegmatic portrait of a disaffected and divided country that still has great relevance today.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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All installation photographs by Marcus Bunyan. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing photographs titled Landsgemeinde / Cantonal Assembly Hundwil, Schweiz (1949). Later silver gelatin prints. No individual titles. Donation of the artist.
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

InstallatioRobert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Landsgemeinde / Cantonal Assembly Hundwil, Schweiz' 1949 (installation view) n view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Landsgemeinde / Cantonal Assembly Hundwil, Schweiz' 1949 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Landsgemeinde / Cantonal Assembly Hundwil, Schweiz' 1949 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Landsgemeinde / Cantonal Assembly Hundwil, Schweiz (installation views)
1949
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Peru' 1948 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Peru (installation view)
1948
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur
Permanent loan of the Volkart Stiftung
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

'Robert Frank. Unseen' wall text

 

Robert Frank. Unseen wall text
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Geneva' 1945 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Geneva (installation view)
1945
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Geneva' 1945 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Geneva (installation view)
1945
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Geneva' 1944-45 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Geneva (installation view)
1944-45
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'New York' c. 1949

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
New York
c. 1949
Vintage silver gelatin print
Donation of the artist

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Times Square, New York' 1949 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Times Square, New York (installation view)
1949
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

'Robert Frank. Unseen' wall text

 

Robert Frank. Unseen wall text
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Portfolio. 40 Photos' 1941-46 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Portfolio. 40 Photos' 1941-46 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Portfolio. 40 Photos (installation views)
1941-46
First Edition Steidl, Göttingen, 2000
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Mississippi, St Louis' 1948 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Mississippi, St Louis (installation view)
1948
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Paris' (installation view) 1949

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Paris (installation view)
1949
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Paris' 1949 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Paris (installation view)
1949
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Mary and Pablo, New York' 1951 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Mary and Pablo, New York' 1951 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Mary and Pablo, New York (installation views)
1951
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Robert Frank (b. 1924 in Zurich, d. 2019 in Nova Scotia, Canada) traveled thousands of kilometres between America’s East and West coasts, taking almost 30,000 photographs. Just 83 black-and-white pictures from this mixture of diary, social portrait, and photographic road movie have influenced generations of photographers after him. Frank’s book The Americans was first published in Paris before it was released in the United States in 1959 with an introduction by the Beat novelist Jack Kerouac. Oblique angles, cropped figures, and blurred movement became the hallmarks of a new photographic style that would change the course of postwar photography. In 1985, Franks photographs have been displayed in Germany for the first time – in the Amerika Haus in Berlin. Now, C/O Berlin presents contact sheets, first editions, and vintage material from the photographer’s early work at the same place. His time in Switzerland, travels through Europe and South America, and unpublished pictures from the United States in the 1950s will be shown together with famous classic photos from The Americans.

Robert Frank. Unseen reveals the narrative power of a visual language that Frank developed long before it earned him international recognition.

The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur.

Robert Frank was born in Zurich in 1924. A trained photographer, he traveled to New York for the first time in 1947, where he found a position at the Harper’s Bazaar photo studio. He worked between Europe and the US for several years and in 1950, Edward Steichen invited him to participate in the 51 American Photographers exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, New York. Frank freelanced for Life, McCall’s, Look, Vogue and other magazines. In 1955, he was the first European to receive a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship that funded a comprehensive photo series for which he traveled across America. The result was the seminal photobook The Americans (1959). Following the volume’s unexpected success, the photographer turned to film. His later work juxtaposed Polaroids and autobiographical text fragments. This year Frank published his most recent book, Good Days Quiet, at the age of 95. Frank’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, most recently at Les Rencontres d’Arles (2018); Albertina, Vienna (2018); Art Institute of Chicago (2017); Museum Folkwang, Essen (2014); and at Tate Modern, London (2004). His films were shown at C/O Berlin in 2009. Robert Frank lived in New York and in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he died on September 9, 2019.

Text from the C/O Berlin [Online] Cited 28/12/2019

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at bottom, photographs of London
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
London (installation view)
1951
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Paris' 1949 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Paris (installation view)
1949
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at bottom, photographs of London
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
London (installation view)
1951
Vintage gelatin silver print
Arnold Kübler Archive
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
London
1951
Vintage gelatin silver print
Arnold Kübler Archive

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
London (installation views)
1951
Gelatin silver photographs, later prints
Permanent loan of the Friends of the Fotostiftung Schweiz
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'London' 1951

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
London
1951
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Permanent loan of the Friends of the Fotostiftung Schweiz

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Paris' 1952

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Paris
1952
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist

 

America

'Robert Frank. Unseen' wall text

 

Robert Frank. Unseen wall text
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at left, Nevada (1956); at second left, Los Angeles (1956); and at right, On the road to Carolina (1955)
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Nevada' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Nevada (installation view)
1956
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Los Angeles' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Los Angeles (installation view)
1956
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'On the road to Carolina' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
On the road to Carolina (installation view)
1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Route US 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho' 1956 (installation view)

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Route US 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Route US 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho (installation views)
1956
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Fank. 'U.S. 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho' 1956

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Route US 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho
1956
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at left, Florida (1956); at third left, New York City (early 1950s); and at right, Ranch Market, Hollywood (1955-56)
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'New York City' early 1950s (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
New York City (installation view)
early 1950s
Vintage gelatin silver photograph
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Florida' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Florida (installation view)
1956
Gelatin silver print
Swiss Foundation for Photography Collection, Winterthur
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Florida' 1956

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Florida
1956
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Frank
Courtesy Swiss Foundation for Photography Collection, Winterthur

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'New York City' early 1950s (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
New York City (installation view)
early 1950s
Vintage gelatin silver photograph
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at left, Bar – Gallup, New Mexico (1955) and at right, Rodeo – New York City (1954)
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Rodeo - New York City' 1954 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Rodeo - New York City' 1954 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Rodeo – New York City (installation views)
1954
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Robert Frank. Unseen' at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at right,
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Charity Ball, New York' 1954 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Charity Ball, New York' 1954 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Charity Ball, New York (installation views)
1954
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at left in the bottom photograph, Bar – New York (1955) followed by, Yom Kippur – East River, New York City (1954)
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Los Angeles' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Los Angeles (installation view)
1956
Vintage gelatin silver photograph
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Wanamaker Fire, 10th Street East, New York' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Wanamaker Fire, 10th Street East, New York (installation view)
1956
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Bar - New York' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Bar – New York (installation view)
1955
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank. 'Bar, New York City' 1955-56

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Bar – New York
1955
Gelatin silver photograph, later print
Donation of the artist

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Yom Kippur - East River, New York City' 1954 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Yom Kippur – East River, New York City (installation view)
1954
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'USA' 1950s (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
USA (installation view)
1950s
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 62 / Factory, Detroit' 1955 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 62 / Factory, Detroit' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Contact Sheet 62 / Factory, Detroit (installation views)
1955
From The Americans. 81 Contact Sheets.
Yugensha, Tokyo/Motomura Kazuhiko, 2009
Private Collection
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 31 / U.S. 91, Leaving Blackfoot, Idaho' 1956 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 31 / U.S. 91, Leaving Blackfoot, Idaho' 1956 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Contact Sheet 31 / U.S. 91, Leaving Blackfoot, Idaho (installation views)
1956
From The Americans. 81 Contact Sheets.
Yugensha, Tokyo/Motomura Kazuhiko, 2009
Private Collection
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 18 / Trolley, New Orleans' 1955 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Contact Sheet 18 / Trolley, New Orleans' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Contact Sheet 18 / Trolley, New Orleans (installation views)
1955
From The Americans. 81 Contact Sheets.
Yugensha, Tokyo/Motomura Kazuhiko, 2009
Private Collection
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing wall text
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Bryant Park, New York' around 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Bryant Park, New York (installation view)
around 1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) '42nd Street, New York' early 1950s (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
42nd Street, New York (installation view)
early 1950s
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) '41st Street and 7th Avenue' 1953 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
41st Street and 7th Avenue (installation view)
1953
Vintage gelatin silver print
Donation of the artist
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank. 'Les Américans' book cover (installation view)

Robert Frank. 'Les Américans' pages (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Les Américans book cover and pages (installation views)
1958
Delpire. Paris

 

Robert Frank. 'Gli Americani' book cover (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Gli Americani book cover (installation view)
1959

 

Robert Frank. 'The Americans' book cover (installation view)

Robert Frank. 'The Americans' pages (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
The Americans book cover and pages (installation views)
1959
Grove Press, New York

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Trolley - New Orleans' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Trolley – New Orleans (installation view)
1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank. 'Trolley - New Orleans' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Trolley – New Orleans (installation view)
1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin showing at left, Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey (1955) and at right, City Fathers – Hoboken, New Jersey (1955)
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'Parade - Hoboken, New Jersey' 1955 (installation view)

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019)
Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey (installation view)
1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'City Fathers - Hoboken, New Jersey' 1955 (installation view)

Robert Frank (American, 1924-2019) 'City Fathers - Hoboken, New Jersey' 1955 (installation view)

 

(American, 1924-2019)
City Fathers – Hoboken, New Jersey (installation views)
1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
Property of the Confédération Suisse, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

Installation view of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition Robert Frank. Unseen at C/O Berlin
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

C/O Berlin Foundation, Amerika Haus,
Hardenbergstraße 22–24, 10623 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 2844416 62

Opening hours:
Daily 11 am – 8 pm

C/O Berlin website

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30
Nov
16

Exhibition: ‘Louis Faurer’ at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris

Exhibition dates: 9th September – 18th December 2016

Curator: The exhibition has been curated and organized by Agnès Sire, director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in association with the Estate of Louis Faurer in New York, Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York and Deborah Bell Photographs.

 

 

Life, love and loneliness in the big smoke.

Champions and accidents.

Home of the brave, land of the fractured and destitute.

Unemployed and Looking.

Both * eyes * removed
Wounded

I AM TOTALLY BLIND.

Marcus

.
Many thankx to the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“However, with shocking suddenness in 1976 I came to believe that American photography of the moment of mid-century belonged to Louis Faurer.”

.
Walter Hopps

 

“I have an intense desire to record life as I see it, as I feel it. As long as I’m amazed and astonished, as long as I feel that events, messages, expressions and movements are all shot through with the miraculous, I’ll feel filled with the certainty I need to keep going. When that day comes, my doubts will vanish.”

.
Louis Faurer

 

 

Louis Faurer. 'Accident, New York' 1952

 

Louis Faurer
Accident, New York
1952
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Deborah Bell

 

Louis Faurer. 'Champion, New York' 1950

 

Louis Faurer
Champion, New York
1950
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Louis Faurer. 'Orchard Street, New York' 1947

 

Louis Faurer
Orchard Street, New York
1947
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'New York' 1949

 

Louis Faurer
New York
1949
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Louis Faurer. 'Untitled, New York' 1949

 

Louis Faurer
Untitled, New York
1949
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. '"Win, Place, and Show", 3rd Avenue El at 53rd Street, New York, New York' c. 1946-1948

 

Louis Faurer
“Win, Place, and Show”, 3rd Avenue El at 53rd Street, New York, New York
c. 1946-1948
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Market Street, Philadelphia' 1944

 

Louis Faurer
Market Street, Philadelphia
1944
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Untitled, New York' c. 1948-1950

 

Louis Faurer
Untitled, New York
c. 1948-1950
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. '42nd Street, New York' c. 1949

 

Louis Faurer
42nd Street, New York
c. 1949
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Staten Island Ferry, New York' 1946

 

Louis Faurer
Staten Island Ferry, New York
1946
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Deborah Bell

 

 

From September 9 to December 18, 2016, The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson dedicates an exhibition to the American photographer, Louis Faurer. This show is the occasion to discover this artist who has not been the subject of an exhibition in France since 1992. A native of Philadelphia, Louis Faurer moved to New York after the War, as if irresistibly pulled into the life of Times Square, where he homed in, objectively and pitilessly, on loneliness in the crowd. Reporting held little interest for him, and journalism even less; he was drawn – as the captions to his photographs sometimes indicate – to the poetic side: the fragility of things and the unconscious revelation. He carried out much-admired commissions for leading magazines including Flair, Junior Bazaar, Glamour and Mademoiselle. This gave rise to an unfeigned self-contempt and a paradoxical inner division only humor could counter. These assignments earned a living and helped him pursue a more personal work in New York streets.

Profoundly honest, he refused the excessiveness (or obscenity) of violent scenes that might humiliate his subjects, and deliberately projected himself into the people he photographed; and if he often recognized himself in them, this was the whole point. Sometimes he encountered his double, or even appeared in shot as a reflection. Each of his images was “a challenge to silence and indifference” – theirs and his own.

After studying drawing and being noticed by the Disney Studios at the age of thirteen, Louis Faurer started his professional path by creating advertising posters and sketching caricatures in the seaside of Atlantic City. At the age of 21, he bought his first camera and won first prize for “Photo of the Week” in a contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger. Market Street would then be the scene of his first shots. In 1947, he left for New York, as Lilian Bassman, art director for Junior Bazaar, hired him as a photographer. He met Robert Frank who was to become a close friend and with who he would share a studio for a while.

In 1968, he abandoned New York, the scene of his most successful work, for personal and financial reasons. Faurer worked briefly in England, and then in Paris where he struggled doing fashion work, with occasional assignments from Elle and French Vogue. Shortly after Faurer returned to New York in 1974 at the age of 58, he found that photography was being embraced by the art world and was soon to become a commodity in the international art market. The art dealer, Harry Lunn brought his work to public attention through an exhibition at Marlborough Gallery in 1997 and resurrected his career, his contribution then began to be acknowledged. In 1984, a car in New York streets hit Faurer, his wounds prevented him to pursue his career as a photographer. He passed away in Manhattan on March 2, 2001.

Deeply concerned with what he saw, he shares his doubts with us as he chooses anonymous figures spotted amid the ordinariness of the sidewalk: figures pulled out of the ambient melancholy, the film noir, the pervasive distress that seem to have been his personal lot. A remarkably gifted printer, Faurer experimented with blur, overlaid negatives and the marked graininess resulting from his fondness for the nocturnal. His touchiness meant frequent problems with clients and people like the numerous photographers who tried to lend a helping hand; among the latter was William Eggleston, who had discerned the unique depth of Faurer’s work. The issue the elegant Japanese photography quarterly déjà vu devoted to him in 1994 speaks of a rediscovery and a style ahead of its time, and quotes Nan Goldin: “Some people believe again that photography can be honest”.

In 1948, Edward Steichen, Head of the Department of Photography of the MoMA, supported Faurer and included him in In and Out of Focus. Steichen wrote: “Louis Faurer, a new comer in the field of documentary reporting, is a lyricist with a camera, a seeker and finder of magic in some of the highways and byways of life.” Afterwards, Steichen presented Faurer photographs in a few other exhibitions and in particular The Family of Man, in 1955. During his lifetime, Faurer did not have the wherewithal to edit his photographs into a book.

Press release from Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

Louis Faurer. 'Market Street, Philadelphia' 1937

 

Louis Faurer
Market Street, Philadelphia
1937
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Unemployed and Looking at Rockefeller Center, New York' 1947

 

Louis Faurer
Unemployed and Looking at Rockefeller Center, New York
1947
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Eddie, New York' 1948

 

Louis Faurer
Eddie, New York
1948
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Deaf Mute, New York' 1950

 

Louis Faurer
Deaf Mute, New York
1950
© Louis Faurer Estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Union Square from Ohrbach’s Window, New York' c. 1948-1950

 

Louis Faurer
Union Square from Ohrbach’s Window, New York
c. 1948-1950
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

 

Narrative of my career

My earliest experience in art occurred at the Benjamin Rush Public school in Phila., Penna. Miss Duncan, who seemed to float on a rose petal scent, having requested that numbers be written on paper with lead pencil, was shocked when my sheet yielded a drawing of a locomotive. My next surprise, at the age of 13 arrived in the mail. I had submitted my drawings to Walt Disney and he proposed considering me for a position, although he couldn’t guarantee it, if I travelled to California. It seemed unreachable and so I didn’t go.

After graduating the South Phila. High School for Boys, I enrolled in a Commercial Lettering School. After months of hand trembling, I looked at my first sign, it read “FRESH FISH”. From 1934 to 1937 I sketched caricatures on the beach at Atlantic City, N.J. My interest in photography began in 1937. It was greatly intensified when I was awarded first prize in the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger for the photo of the week contest. Soon, the Farm Security Administration’s early books became my bible. I was especially taken by Walker Evans’ photography. The world of Harper’s Bazaar also fascinated me.

Later, in New York, I was to meet Robert Frank at the Bazaar Studio. Since I was a commuter, he invited me to stay at his loft together with nine cats. He had recently arrived from Switzerland and was alone. New York enchanted and amazed me. Everywhere a new discovery awaited me. Rejection slips from U.S. Camera were transformed into reproduced pages. My work was being accepted, often it seemed unreal. I showed my photographs to Walker Evans. A handsome brass tea kettle in his tiny room in the offices at FORTUNE projected his stability and eloquence. “You wouldn’t photograph fat women, would you?” he asked me. Later he warned me, “don’t become contaminated.” My need to continue photographing was solved by photography for commerce. I worked for periodicals which included Harper’s Bazaar.

1946 to 1951 were important years. I photographed almost daily and the hypnotic dusk light led me to Times Square. Several nights of photographing in that area and developing and printing in Robert Frank’s dark room became a way of life. He would say, “whatta town”, “whatta town”. I was represented in Edward Steichen’s IN AND OUT OF FOCUS exhibit. Then, work, work, and more work. “Boy,” he boomed, “go out and photograph and put the prints on my desk.” This command was synchronized with a pound of his fist on the glass top desk. I thought it miraculous, that the glass did not shatter.

I tasted and accepted the offerings of the 50s and 60s. LIFE, COWLES PUBLICATIONS, HEARST and CONDE NAST, enabled me to continue with my personal photography efforts. Often I would carry a 16mm motion picture camera as I would a Leica and photograph in the New York streets. The results were never shown commercially. The negative has been stored.

In 1968, I needed new places, new faces and change. I tried Europe. I returned in the mid-seventies and was overwhelmed by the change that had occurred here. I took to photographing the new New York with an enthusiasm almost equal to the beginning. After the Lunn purchase, the gallery world. I was brought again to the drawing I first experienced, and as an unexpected bonus, the photographer had become an artist! 1978 found me the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant and the Creative Public Service Grant for photography. The latter is known as (CAPS). My eyes search for people who are grateful for life, people who forgive and whose doubts have been removed, who understand the truth, whose enduring spirit is bathed by such piercing white light as to provide their present and future hope.*

Louis Faurer

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* Reproduced, with editorial revisions, from the artist’s original text. Text published at the occasion of the exhibition Louis Faurer – Photographs from Philadelphia and New York 1937-1973 presented from March 10 to April 23, 1981 at the Art Gallery of University of Maryland. Extracts from the book Louis Faurer published by Steidl, September 2016

 

Louis Faurer. 'Somewhere in West Village, New York' 1948

 

Louis Faurer
Somewhere in West Village, New York
1948
© Louis Faurer estate

 

Louis Faurer. 'Untitled, Philadelphia' Date unknown

 

Louis Faurer
Untitled, Philadelphia
Date unknown
© Louis Faurer estate

 

'Louis Faurer' Steidl Verlag

 

Louis Faurer
Steidl Verlag

Foreword: Agnès Sire. Essay: Susan Kismaric. Original texts: Louis Faurer and Walter Hopps

208 pages
24 x 17.6 cm
100 illustrations
ISBN : 978-3-95829-241-3
September 2016

 

 

Extracts from the book

New York City has been the major center of the Faurer’s work, and that city’s life at mid-century, his great subject. The city is totally Faurer’s natural habitat. He can be at home, at one, with people on its streets, in its rooms. However serene or edgy his encounters, one senses Faurer (if at all) as being the same as the people in his photographs. And since these people are extremely varied, it is a transcendent vision that allows the photographer to be so many “others.” Faurer’s at-oneness with his subjects contrasts with both the mode of working and the results of Evans and Frank. They have proved to be great and wide-ranging explorers and fi nders of their images. Faurer made only one important trip: from Philadelphia (where he made his first, early brilliant photographs) to New York, where he stayed, and where in the course of things his vision consumed, whether ordinary or odd, the all of it.

Walter Hopps

 

Louis Faurer was a “photographer’s photographer”, one whose work was not known to a broad audience, or appreciated by the art world, but was loved by photographers. They saw in his pictures a purity of seeing, akin to what Faurer saw in the work of Walker Evans, the “poetic use of facts”. Faurer distinguished himself within this way of working through his instinct and his uncanny eye for people who radiate a rare and convincing sense of privacy, an inner life. They are people who would be true in any time and place,who are emblematic of human struggle.

For whatever reasons, Faurer did not have the wherewithal to edit his photographs into a book, the most visible and long-lasting expression of a photographer’s work. Yet his pictures are indelible. Their content presages a major shift in subject matter within the rubric of “documentary” American photography that was to come to fruition almost two decades later. In 1967 John Szarkowski identified this radical change when he wrote in his wall text for New Documents, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, about the work of Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand: “…In the past decade, a new generation of photographers has directed the documentary approach toward more personal ends. Their aim has been not to reform life, but to know it”.

Susan Kismaric

 

Louis Faurer. 'Viva, New York' 1962

 

Louis Faurer
Viva, New York
1962
© Louis Faurer Estate, Courtesy Christophe Lunn

 

 

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, impasse Lebouis, 75014 Paris

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 1pm – 6.30 pm
Saturday 11am – 6.45 pm
Late night Wednesdays until 8.30 pm
Closed on Mondays

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson website

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20
Feb
14

Exhibition: ‘Walker Evans American Photographs’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 19th July 2013 – 9th March 2014

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Picture this.

That is what Walker Evans does in his unique, forthright way. He shows you what he is seeing in a very straight forward way – directly, purposefully, in images where the artist seems to have no presence, no ego to impart. As artist Chris Killip observes, “Walker Evans is serious and smart and purposeful. He is trying to show you very clearly what he is seeing. It is very unadorned, as if nobody had taken the photograph. He conveys what is in front of him as clearly as possible.”1

But further than this, Evans presents us with a photographic version of Tomas Tranströmer’s poems which were seen by his English admirers in terms of “deep image”, a vaguely Jungian concept which suggests that “poetry could state absolute truths if only the images poets evoked welled up from deep enough sources uncontaminated by history and the follies of reason.”2

Evans direct, plainspoken images picture reality whilst hovering above the void – flirting with the duality of absolute truth and metaphysical inquiry. Whether Evans was consciously aware of this elemental antinomy is unlikely. Nevertheless we can read it in his images, even if we cannot read it in his prosaic words. You only have to look at the jet-black trees on a rainy day in Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York (1931, below), or the justly famous Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama (March 1936, below).

The people in the photograph have been posed but there is an intimate relationship here between the artist and his subjects. It is a loving photograph, for Evans cares for the dignity of these people in their naked condition. The grandmother wary of the camera with clasped hands, the weary husband, stick thin with glazed eyes, the young girl child with sallow stare, and the pensive mother with sleeping baby staring directly into camera, all of them dirty and in rags. In this absolute reality there is a nobility to these people and there, buried in the image, a relationship to the metaphysical essence of what it is to be human – the pictures of children on the back wall with text I can’t quite make out; the glorious arrangement of feet that run along the bottom of the image in all different angles and positions, the mothers folded under her almost collapsing with the weight of her burden; and what is that black shape prostrate on the floor? A rag? death? No! A cat.

The blackest most thinnest small cat that you ever seen, lingering on the edge of starvation, hovering in the void of existence.

As Thomas Sleigh writes of his first meeting with Tomas Tranströmer as he stepped from a small plane onto the ground, “I don’t mind large planes or middle-sized planes (his English was slightly gutteral, his intonations lilting in a mild brogue), but small planes – you feel too much of the air under you.”3

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And so with Evans if you know where to look.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

PS. For a fascinating insight into how these photographs were hung in the 1938 exhibition at MoMA see installation views of “Walker Evans American Photographs” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1938 on the ASX website. Notice the smallness of the photographs, their different sizes, the juxtaposition of disparate images, some double or triple hung one above the other, some printed in the centre of white sheets of photographic paper, others displayed on dark walls. The image that I describe above, Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama (March 1936) is shown in an installation photograph below. Notice how small the image is and what affect this size of image has on the viewer, its shear concentration and intensity.

A friend Christopher Young tells me, “The install was done by Evans himself the night before and very chaotically. I love the poetry of the 1938 opening in that he got to the front door and couldn’t enter the show. He instead circled the block a number of times before going home…” Sounds like my early exhibitions. I could be found next door in a cafe playing pinball, I couldn’t face the crowd!

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walker-evans-install-b

walker-evans-install

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Installation views of “Walker Evans American Photographs” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 1938 with at bottom right, Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama (March 1936)
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Images used under conditions of fair use for the purpose of art criticism.

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Endnotes

1. Interview with Chris Killip about his exhibition Work at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Renia Sofia, October 2013
2. Sleigh, Tom. “Too Much of the Air: Tomas Tranströmer,” 2005, on the Poets.org website [Online] Cited 15/02/2014
3. Ibid.,

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Many thankx to The Museum of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'City Lunch Counter, New York' 1929

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
City Lunch Counter, New York
1929
Gelatin silver print
4 3/16 x 6 5/16″ (10.7 x 16.1 cm)
Gift of the photographer
© 2013 Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) '42nd Street, New York' 1929

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
42nd Street, New York
1929
Gelatin silver print
4 1/4 x 6 1/2″ (10.8 x 16.6 cm)
Purchase
© 2013 Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Church Organ and Pews, Alabama' 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Church Organ and Pews, Alabama
1936
Gelatin silver print, printed 1970
7 9/16 x 9 1/8″ (19.2 x 23.2 cm)
Printer: James Dow
Mr. and Mrs. John Spencer Fund

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Sharecropper's Family, Hale County, Alabama' March 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama
March 1936
Gelatin silver print
7 5/8 x 9 5/8″ (19.4 x 24.4 cm)
Gift of the Farm Security Administration

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Sharecropper's Family, Hale County, Alabama' (detail) March 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama (detail)
March 1936
Gelatin silver print
7 5/8 x 9 5/8″ (19.4 x 24.4 cm)
Gift of the Farm Security Administration

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Sharecropper's Family, Hale County, Alabama' (detail) March 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Sharecropper’s Family, Hale County, Alabama (detail)
March 1936
Gelatin silver print
7 5/8 x 9 5/8″ (19.4 x 24.4 cm)
Gift of the Farm Security Administration

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“This installation celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first one-person photography exhibition in MoMA’s history, and the accompanying landmark publication, which established the potential of the photographer’s book as an indivisible work of art. Through these projects Walker Evans created a collective portrait of the eastern United States during a decade of profound transformation – one that coincided with the flood of everyday images, both still and moving, from an expanding mass culture, and the construction of a Modernist history of photography. As Lincoln Kirstein wrote in his essay for the book, “After looking at these pictures with all their clear, hideous and beautiful detail, their open insanity and pitiful grandeur, compare this vision of a continent as it is, not as it might be or as it was, with any other coherent vision that we have had since the war. What poet has said as much? What painter has shown as much? Only newspapers, the writers of popular music, the technicians of advertising and radio have in their blind energy accidentally, fortuitously, evoked for future historians such a powerful monument to our moment. And Evans’s work has, in addition, logic, continuity, climax, sense and perfection.”

Comprising approximately 60 prints from the Museum’s collection that were included in the 1938 exhibition or the accompanying publication, the current installation maintains the bipartite presentation of the originals; the first section portrays American society through images of its individuals and social environments, while the second consists of photographs of the relics that constitute expressions of an American cultural identity – the architecture of Main streets, factory towns, rural churches, and wooden houses. The pictures provide neither a coherent narrative nor a singular meaning, but rather create connections through the repetition and interplay of pictorial structures and subject matter. Its placement on the fourth floor of the Museum – between galleries featuring the paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol – underscores the continuation of prewar avant-garde practices in America and the unique legacy of Evans’s explorations of signs and symbols, commercial culture, and the vernacular. Their profound impact on not only photography, but also film, literature, and the visual arts, reverberates today.”

Text from The Museum of Modern Art website

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'American Legionnaire' 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
American Legionnaire
1936
Gelatin silver print
5 3/4 x 5 1/8″ (14.6 x 13 cm)
Gift of the Farm Security Administration

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Interior Detail of Portuguese House' 1930

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Interior Detail of Portuguese House
1930
Gelatin silver print
7 15/16 x 6 1/8″ (20.2 x 15.5 cm)
Purchase
© 2013 Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Penny Picture Display, Savannah, Georgia' 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Penny Picture Display, Savannah, Georgia
1936
Gelatin silver print
8 5/8 x 6 15/16″ (21.9 x 17.6 cm)
Gift of Willard Van Dyke
© 2013 Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York' 1931

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York
1931
Gelatin silver print
7 1/16 x 5 9/16″ (18 x 14.2 cm)
Gift of the photographer
© 2013 Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Negro Church, South Carolina' 1936

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Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Negro Church, South Carolina
1936
Gelatin silver print
9 x 6 15/16″ (22.9 x 17.6cm)
Gift of Willard Van Dyke

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The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 708-9400

Opening hours:
10.30 am – 5.30 pm
Open seven days a week

MoMA website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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