Robert Frank

The exhibition is made possible by Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

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Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans - Panel and Lecture

Program information

The exhibition Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans marks the first time all eighty-three photographs in the legendary series will be shown together in a New York City museum. Flanked by the writer Luc Sante and by publisher Barney Rosset, former owner of Grove Press (which published of The Americans) and longtime champion of free expression (called "the most dangerous man in American publishing"), Curator Jeff Rosenheim talks about Robert Frank's groundbreaking book. Once controversial, now a cornerstone in American cultural history, the prescient book The Americans reveals ordinary lives in ordinary places around the country in extraordinarily profound images. Frank "courts chaos and eschews control," creating dynamic, visceral images of an America on the brink of social revolution.

Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator, Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Standing by: Barney Rosset, former owner, Grove Press, and publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Evergreen Review; Luc Sante, author, and visiting professor in writing and photography, Bard College

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Looking In

Robert Frank's The Americans

September 22, 2009–January 3, 2010

Accompanied by a catalogue

This exhibition celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Americans, Robert Frank's influential suite of black-and-white photographs made on a cross-country road trip in 1955–56. Although Frank's depiction of American life was criticized when the book was released in the U.S. in 1959, it soon became recognized as a masterpiece of street photography. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank is considered one of the great living masters of photography. The exhibition features all eighty-three photographs published in The Americans and is the first time that this body of work is presented to a New York audience. In addition, the exhibition includes contact sheets that Frank used to create the book; earlier photographs made in Europe, Peru, and New York; a short film by the artist on his life; and his later re-use of iconic images from the series.

See the photographic stories that visitors submitted to our "You Got Eyes" Flickr group.