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Exhibition focuses on Lee Friedlander's five-decade long obsession with signs
Lee Friedlander, Dallas, 1976 © Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Fraenkel Gallery is presenting Lee Friedlander: SIGNS, an exhibition examining the five-decade long obsession of this highly influential photographer. Since the early 1960s, Friedlander has focused on the signs that inscribe the American landscape, from hand-lettered ads to storefront windows to massive billboards. On view from July 11 through August 17, 2019, the exhibition is accompanied by a 112-page hardcover book published by Fraenkel Gallery.

Made in New York, San Francisco, and dozens of cities and small towns in between, Friedlander’s photographs record milk prices, cola ads, neon lights, road signs, graffiti, and movie marquees. Depicting these texts with precision and sly humor, Friedlander’s approach to America transcribes a sort of found poetry of commerce and desire. A large majority of works in the exhibition will be shown for the first time.

Also on view are 16 early Friedlander prints, made on the road in the 1970s, on travels across the United States.

Lee Friedlander (born 1934) began photographing in 1948. His work was included in the influential 1967 exhibition New Documents at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by John Szarkowski. His many monographs include Self-Portrait; Cherry Blossom Time in Japan; Letters from the People; At Work; and Sticks and Stones, among others. One of the most important living photographers, Friedlander’s prints are held by major collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others.

A book launch and signing for Lee Friedlander: Signs will take place at the gallery on Saturday, July 13, from 1-3pm.

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