Picturing America

Three people in 1950s New York
New York, by Robert Frank, negative 1955-56
Courtesy of the Addison Gallery of American Art
Robert Frank photograph of partially obscured people looking out of windows behind a large American flag
Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, Robert Frank, negative 1955-56Courtesy of the Addison Gallery of American Art

Given the current national crises, The Americans, the 1958 book by Robert Frank, is an especially timely document. The Swiss photographer captured a culture in transition: activists and opponents squaring off within a changing racial landscape, people more openly expressing themselves while challenging social norms. New York and Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey are among those on display in “Robert Frank: The Americans” at Andover’s Addison Gallery of American Art through April 11. In one sense, it took an outsider, the exhibit notes, to probe “the defining and enduring dualities of American life and culture—hope and despair, affluence and want, freedom and limitation, community and isolation.”

Read more articles by: Nell Porter Brown

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