Friday, November 20, 2009

Illuminations

Took a few hours this afternoon to go up to the Met with my friend A. A gorgeous day for it, Central Park's last leaves bright like a painting. We met in the newly redone American Wing, which displays glassware (not all of it so memorable on its own) in a bath of natural light. Seeing them was almost as delightful as visiting Roxy Paine's "Maelstrom" on the roof again. Glad it's still there: I wish they'd make it permanent! But our main objective was to see the photographs from Robert Frank's 1959 The Americans, which are stunning. Frank had a way of catching moments which are so true (and in their truth often devastating) it was almost painful to witness them. "Trolley, New Orleans" (1955), below, is perhaps the most well-known picture of the series, a primer in segregation, caught by accident - Frank was photographing a parade but happened to look behind him and saw this trolley - just weeks before Rosa Parks made history, but also a remarkable photograph: what inarticulable depths of trouble and sorrow are conveyed by those strange shapes and reflections above and below the windows!) But Frank also ordered the photographs in subtle visually linked sequences which it was a treat to be able to survey in their whole sweep. Our fave, also in Louisiana:

No comments: