LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art
, Los Angeles, continues to highlight its outstanding permanent collection with a new exhibition at its MOCA Grand Avenue location. From the Permanent Collection: Robert Franks The Americans, a rare showing of the original portfolio of images comprising the landmark book, is on view June 14 to October 19, 2009. The show joins A Changing Ratio: Painting and Sculpture from the Collection, which opened at MOCA Grand Avenue on March 1 and has been extended to September 28, 2009.
In 1955, the Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant to photograph American people and places. For two years, Frank traveled by car throughout the United States, amassing over 20,000 negatives. The edited portfolio of 83 photographs was published in book form as Les Américains by Robert Delpire in France in 1958, and as The Americans in 1959 by Grove Press in New York. The book has since become a major landmark in the history of photography. In this 50th anniversary year of its publication, MOCA presents a rare showing of the complete set of photographs comprising The Americans, in the order carefully devised by Frank for the book. MOCAs portfolio, the only complete set on the West Coast, was purchased in 1995 with funds provided by Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. From the Permanent Collection: Robert Franks The Americans was initiated by Rebecca Morse and Corrina Peipon.
Franks photographs were created with a hand-held Leica camera, often using a wide-angle lens, resulting in compositions that appear unplanned, spontaneous, and are ultimately revealing. The original American edition of the book included an introduction by Jack Kerouac, the Beat writer most famous for his novel On the Road. Describing the emotional scope of Franks portfolio, Kerouac wrote: After seeing these pictures you end up finally not knowing whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin.