Robert Frank: The Americans

About the Exhibition

The publication of Robert Frank's The Americans marked a shift in the medium of photography. Traditionally, photographs were viewed as an objective representation of reality, but Frank demonstrated they could also serve as expressive channels to communicate a truth about the photographer's experience of the world. On view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from August 8, 2015 to February 7, 2016, From the Library: Photobooks After Frank is a focus installation that explores the role of the photobook in the decades following Frank's seminal work and the ways in which it shaped the emergence of photography as a viable fine art. This exhibition coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Gallery's photography collection.

Robert Frank: The Americans

# 25371






Introduction by Jack Kerouac

First published in France in 1958, then in the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's The Americans changed the course of 20th-century photography. In 83 photographs, Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a people plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and rendered numb by a rapidly expanding culture of consumption. Yet he also found novel areas of beauty in simple, overlooked corners of American life. And it was not just Frank's subject matter—cars, jukeboxes and even the road itself—that redefined the icons of America; it was also his seemingly intuitive, immediate, off-kilter style, as well as his method of brilliantly linking his photographs together thematically, conceptually, formally, and linguistically, that made The Americans so innovative. More of an ode or a poem than a literal document, the book is as powerful and provocative today as it was 56 years ago.

  • Hardcover
  • 8.25 x 7.25 inches
  • 180 pages, 83 tritone images
  • Published: 2008

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