Posts Tagged ‘Robert Frank Assembly Plant Ford Detroit

26
Jun
10

Exhibition: ‘Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs, 1955’ at Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit

Exhibition dates: 3rd March – 4th July, 2010

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Assembly Plant, Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Assembly Plant, Detroit
1955
Gelatin silver print
8 7/8 × 13 1/8 inches (22.5 × 33.3 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Coville Photographic Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

 

Many thankx to Pamela Marcil and the Detroit Institute of Arts for allowing me to reproduce the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

“I am always looking outside, trying to look inside, trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true. Except what’s out there. And what’s out there is constantly changing.”

.
Robert Frank, 1985.

 

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Belle Isle' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Belle Isle – Detroit
1955, printed between 1966-1968
Gelatin silver print
12 5/8 × 18 7/8 inches (32.1 × 47.9 cm)
Museum Purchase, Ernest and Rosemarie Kanzler Foundation Fund, Forum for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Purchase Fund, and General Art Purchase Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Detroit River Rouge Plant' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Detroit River Rouge Plant
1955, printed 1970s
Gelatin silver print
9 1/8 × 13 7/8 inches (23.2 × 35.2 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Coville Photographic Fund
© Robert Frank. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Drive-In Movie, Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Drive-In Movie, Detroit
1955, printed 1977
Gelatin silver print
8 1/4 × 12 1/2 inches (21 × 31.8 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Tina and Lee Hills Graphic Arts Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts.

 

 

Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs, 1955 showcases more than 50 rare and many never-before-seen black-and-white photographs taken in Detroit by legendary artist Robert Frank. The exhibition will be on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) March 3 – July 4, 2010. The exhibition is free with museum admission.

In 1955 and 1956 Robert Frank traveled the U.S. taking photographs for his groundbreaking book The Americans, published in 1958. With funding from a prestigious Guggenheim grant, he set out to create a large visual record of America, and Detroit was one of his early stops. Inspired by autoworkers, the cars they made, along with local lunch counters, drive-in movies and public parks such as Belle Isle, Frank transformed everyday experiences of Detroiters into an extraordinary visual statement about American life.

According to Frank, The Americans included “things that are there, anywhere, and everywhere … a town at night, a parking lot, the man who owns three cars and the man who owns none … the dream of grandeur, advertising, neon lights … gas tanks, post offices and backyards ….” The exhibition includes nine Detroit images that were published in The Americans, as well as, for the first time, an in-depth body of work representative of Frank’s Detroit, its working-class culture and automotive industry.

Frank was drawn to Detroit partly by a personal fascination with the automobile, but also saw its presence and effect on American culture as essential to his series. Frank was one of the few photographers allowed to take photographs at the famous Ford Motor Company River Rouge factory, where he was amazed to witness the transformation of raw materials into fully assembled cars. In a letter to his wife he wrote, “Ford is an absolutely fantastic place … this one is God’s factory and if there is such a thing – I am sure that the devil gave him a helping hand to build what is called Ford’s River Rouge Plant.” Frank spent two days taking pictures at the Ford factory, photographing workers on the assembly lines and manning machines by day, and following them as they ventured into the city at night.

Whether in the disorienting surroundings of a massive factory or during the solitary and alienating moments of individuals in parks and on city streets, the Swiss-born photographer looked beneath the surface of life in the U.S. and found a culture that challenged his perceptions and popular notions of the American Dream. Further accentuating his view of America, Frank developed an unconventional photographic style innovative and controversial in its time. Photographing quickly, Frank sometimes tilted and blurred compositions, presenting people and their surroundings in fleeting and fragmentary moments with an unsentimental eye.

Beat poet Jack Kerouac expressed the complex nature of the artist and his work in a passage from his introduction to The Americans stating, “Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.”

Born in 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland, Frank emigrated to the U.S. in 1947. He worked on assignments for magazines from 1948–53, but his photographic books garnered the highest acclaim. After publishing The Americans, he began filmmaking and directed the early experimental masterpiece Pull My Daisy, in collaboration with Jack Kerouac in 1959. Frank continues to work in both film and photography and has been the subject of many traveling exhibitions in recent years. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. established Frank’s photographic archive in 1990 and organised his first traveling retrospective, “Moving Out, in 1995” as well as a 2009 exhibition “Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans”.” Frank lives in Mabou, Nova Scotia, and New York City with his wife, artist June Leaf.

Press release from the Detroit Institute of Arts website [Online] Cited 24/06/2019 no longer available online

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Untitled' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Untitled
1955, printed c. 1970s
Gelatin silver print
10 3/4 × 15 7/8 inches (27.3 × 40.3 cm)
Founders Society Purchase with funds from Founders Junior Council
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Ford River Rouge Plant' 1955, printed c. 1970s

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Ford River Rouge Plant
1955, printed c. 1970s
Gelatin silver print
13 13/16 × 9 1/8 inches (35.1 × 23.2 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Coville Photographic Fund
© Robert Frank. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, b. 1924) 'Assembly Plant, Ford, Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank  (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Assembly Plant, Ford, Detroit
1955, printed c. 1960s
Gelatin silver print
12 7/8 × 8 1/2 inches (32.7 × 21.6 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Coville Photographic Fund
© Robert Frank. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Drugstore, Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Drugstore, Detroit
1955, printed c. 1960s
Gelatin silver print
23 1/4 × 15 3/4 inches (59.1 × 40 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, with funds from the Founders Junior Council
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Detroit
1955, printed c. 1960s
Gelatin silver print
9 1/16 × 13 1/2 inches (23 × 34.3 cm)
Founders Society Purchase, Coville Photographic Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Detroit - Belle Isle' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Belle Isle – Detroit
1955, printed between 1960 and 1979
Gelatin silver print
12 1/2 × 18 3/4 inches (31.8 × 47.6 cm)
Museum Purchase, Ernest and Rosemarie Kanzler Foundation Fund, Forum for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Purchase Fund, and General Art Purchase Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Rodeo - Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Rodeo – Detroit
1955, printed 1960s
Gelatin silver print
6 1/2 × 9 7/8 inches (16.5 × 25.1 cm)
Museum Purchase, Ernest and Rosemarie Kanzler Foundation Fund, Forum for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Purchase Fund, and General Art Purchase Fund
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

 

In 1955, Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank traveled across the United States photographing how Americans live, work, and spend their leisure time. Detroit was a critical stop on his itinerary, as the Motor City was world renowned for its automobiles along with its factories and labor force. Frank spent several days in Detroit at its legendary Ford Motor Company Rouge Plant and visited dime-store lunch counters, drive-ins, and public parks as well. He may have found Stetson-wearing spectators at a local rodeo an unlikely and uncharacteristic subject for Detroit – a large, industrial, midwestern city. Nonetheless he included Rodeo – Detroit, in addition to eight other photographs taken in the city, as part of the 83 images found in his ground-breaking photo book The Americans from 1958. The book brought Frank great acclaim for his critical commentary on America during the boom years following World War II.

From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Detroit' 1956

 

Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Detroit
1956
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Frank, from The Americans. Detroit Institute of Arts

 

 

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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: ‘Sleep/Wound’ 1995-96


Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: 'Sleep/Wound' 1995-96 *PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE NUDITY - IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

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