Richard Misrach: Being(s) 1975-2015 at Fraenkel Gallery

Image above: © Richard Misrach, Untitled (Psychedelic Lance #2), 2007/2015. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.


Fraenkel Gallery presented on April 9th, Richard Misrach: Being(s) 1975-2015. This survey exhibition traces the appearance of the human figure in Misrach’s photographs across the entire span of his career, from 1975 to the present.

Though primarily known as a photographer of the landscape, on occasion Misrach has placed the human figure as a focal point of his images since the mid-1970s. The people who appear in his photographs are rarely portrayed as specific individuals. Rather, they tend to weave through his work as ephemeral markers, a temporary presence in the continuity of the land.

6_Misrach_Untitled #671-04_2004© Richard Misrach, Untitled #671-04, 2004. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.


The exhibition includes a number of works that have never before been exhibited or published: a 1976 self-portrait in White Sands, New Mexico; disorienting new images from his Color Reverse series; large-format photographs from the On the Beach project, and a remarkable 14-foot panorama of the U.S. border fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, from California.

314_84_2© Richard Misrach, Kodak, Donna, Debra, Jake, Oregon Coast, 1984. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

Fraenkel Gallery has exhibited and published Richard Misrach’s work for more than three decades. The artist’s influ- ential books and photographs helped pioneer the renaissance of color and large-scale photography. He is perhaps best known for his multi-decade Desert Cantos project; his documentation of the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River known as “Cancer Alley”; and On The Beach, which was the subject of a major traveling exhibition in 2007-09.

8_Misrach_Untitled (9740 #FC)_2007© Richard Misrach, Untitled (9740 #FC), 2007. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

Coinciding with the exhibition is the release of his newest book, The Mysterious Opacity of Other Beings, published by Aperture ($80). Since his acclaimed publication On the Beach, Misrach has continued to make remarkably detailed depictions of the sea, seen from a viewpoint above. This is Misrach’s first book to focus exclusively on the human figure adrift in the shifting waters.

10_Misrach_Untitled Jan 17 2015 632pm_2015© Richard Misrach, Untitled (January 17, 2015, 6:32PM), 2015. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Misrach’s photographs are held in the collections of most major institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which recently acquired nearly 100 of the artist’s works for its permanent collection. He has had one-person exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris. In addition, Richard Misrach’s work has been the subject of more than 20 monographs.

5_Misrach_Untitled Ophelia Reverse_2003© Richard Misrach, Untitled (Ophelia Reverse), 2003/2008. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.


1_Misrach_Self-Portrait at Night_1976-2014© Richard Misrach, Self-Portrait at Night, White Sands, New Mexico, 1976/2014. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.


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