the american’s, robert frank

a friend was in town the other week whom i don’t usually get to spend time with but he had a day to kill so we decided to try and see la danse the weisman dance film of the paris opera’s dance company. both his daughters are ballerinas in a european company so we thought that might be fun.

we showed up to the theater to be met with a very long line half way down the block , oh well i don’t like crowded theaters nor crowds in general. so kenny suggested we go up to the metropolitan museum of art and see the robert frank exhibit ‘the americans.’

on the way up on the subway kenny told me why he had an interest in robert franks work. kenny used to work at baldwin pottery on la guardia place a long long time ago. i knew it from my chip monck days because he had a loft  in the building down the alley behind baldwin pottery. kenny worked as a potter before we met working at the filmore east. i met chip as a daily hire for his rolling stones tour of europe in 1970 to take care of the follow spots. long story…….

the owner suggested kenny to mary frank’s who was looking for someone to mix and kneed her clay as she spent many years as a sculpture artist. kenny said she had given him a schetch which now hung in his mothers house. really odd how these connections happen.

what i learned abotut the show is totally different than what kenny walked away with. see the link for pics etc. no they are not mine as pictures are forbidden in traveling shows besides i didn’t have my camera with me, we were going to the movies.

seeing the actual first prints, working prints etc in a way is pretty neat, but what struck me is how far we, photographers, have come with printing. this is also true of a show earlier this year with fred steins work. the new archival prints are so much better than the originals.

now i’ve never seen any ansel adams prints that were created under his supervision, but think they too would show their age now. everything paper, well actually everything is decaying right before our decaying eyes.

but i guess what’s interesting to most people is seeing the originals. the show was certainly crowded enough but lots of tourist wander through new york on any given day. there was a quotation from jack kerouac on the wall which caused me to smile because i knew jack when he was living in northport, ny. i don’t remember the quote but i do remember drinking and closing many a bar with jack and friends.

i remember driving into the sun with jack in the seat besides me, more on that later.


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