“I think of myself, standing in a world that is never standing still,” the artist Robert Frank once wrote. “I’m still in there fighting, alive because I believe in what I’m trying to do now.” Life Dances On: Robert Frank in Dialogue—the artist’s first solo exhibition at MoMA—provides a new perspective on his expansive body of work by exploring the six vibrant decades of Frank’s career following the 1958 publication of his landmark photobook, The Americans.
Coinciding with the centennial of Frank’s birth, the exhibition will explore his restless experimentation across mediums including photography, film, and books, as well as his dialogues with other artists and his communities. It will include some 200 works made over 60 years until the artist’s death in 2019, many drawn from MoMA’s extensive collection, as well as materials that have never before been exhibited.
The exhibition borrows its title from Frank’s poignant 1980 film, in which the artist reflects on the individuals who have shaped his outlook. Like much of his work, the film is set in New York City and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where he and his wife, the artist June Leaf, moved in 1969. In the film, Leaf looks at the camera and asks Frank, “Why do you make these pictures?” In an introduction to the film’s screening, he answered: “Because I am alive.”
Organized by Lucy Gallun, Curator, with Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.