Robert Frank, in his New York home; Photograph by Allen Ginsberg
In 1954, Robert Frank set off across the United States in a used Ford with his Leica camera. He had the idea of photographing America as it unfolded before his eyes. He spent two years on the journey, shooting 767 rolls of film, for over 28,000 shots.
83 of those shots would end up in the book “The Americans”.
Image: “Trolley – New Orleans” 1955, photo by Robert Frank
The Americans was first published in 1959, and it took the photography world by storm. The images were honest and gritty, and most of all raw. It was a masterwork of street photography.
US 285 – New Mexico 1956; photo by Robert Frank
Initially, it did not go over well. America was high on the post war 1950’s. Images showing that not everyone in the country had achieved the “American Dream” were not what the public was shouting for. The book went out of publication after only 1100 being printed.
Rodeo – New York City 1955; photo by Robert Frank
History has been kinder. The Americans has seen several reprints, and few photo books have had as large an influence on contemporary photography.
Frank would go on to make fifty documentary films, but he never abandoned still photography.
When I was in Ogdensburg this past spring, I was lucky enough to get a private, guided tour of the Frederic Remington Art Museum. The main building of the museum was built in 1810 by David Parish. Remington’s wife Eva, lived in the residence after the artist’s death. Eva died in 1918, and the museum was founded in 1923.
The Bronco Buster; 1895
Today, the FRAM houses a large and comprehensive collection of Remington’s work, which includes paintings, sculptures and sketches, as well as many personal belongings.
Born in 1861, Remington was 11 when his family moved to Ogdensburg. He briefly attended Yale University’s art school, but left to tend his ailing father, who died a year later. At 19, Remington made his first trip Out West, to Montana. It was from this trip that Harper’s Weekly published Remington’s first work: a sketch the he had made on wrapping paper and sent back East. A career was launched, ever so humbly.
Here is just a very small sampling of Remington’s art on display at the FRAM:
This work just jumps out at me, due to the expression of the horse. Amazing detail here.
The Stampede, 1909
The plaster model of The Stampede had been sent to the Roman Bronze Works just prior to Remington’s untimely death. One of Remington’s final works, he did not live to see it cast into bronze.
The Charge of the Rough Riders; oil on canvas, 1898
Remington became a war correspondent during the Spanish-American War, and was around for the assault on San Juan Hill. What Remington witnessed during that brief war greatly affected him upon his return. His painting The Scream of Shrapnel at San Juan Hill depicts the terror of the unseen during war. It’s quite the visual.
The writer Stephen Crane was also alongside Remington as a correspondent in Cuba. He would return to publish Wounds in the Rain on his war experience. Oddly enough, Crane’s celebrated work The Red Badge of Courage was published in 1895, before he had experienced war first hand.
The Rattlesnake; 1905
The Courrier du Bois and the Savage; oil on canvas, 1891
Coming Through the Rye; 1902
In a Stiff Current; oil on canvas, 1892
The Cheyenne; 1901
In all Remington created 22 bronze sculptures, and over 3000 paintings and drawings. Remington also authored eight books. Frederic Remington died on 26 December 1909 from peritonitis after an emergency appendectomy. He was 48.
The Frederic Remington Art Museum is well worth the time to visit if you are in upstate New York. In all honesty, the area is well worth visiting anyway, so take in a visit to the FRAM as you explore the Saint Lawrence River country.
The Rose Berry Art Gallery is located on the upper floor of the Museum of the North. The Alaska Territorial Legislature included the museum in the charter for the University of Alaska in 1917. The museum had its first exhibit in 1929, a collection of ethnological, archeological and paleontological material that had been collected by the famed local naturalist, Otto Geist. The large brown bear at the entrance to the museum’s Alaska Gallery is named “Otto” in honor of Mr Geist. In 1929, the University’s small collection of paintings were also placed on exhibit.
Warning: Do not touch the bear! I think it’s safe to say the bear’s nose gets rubbed for luck on occasion.
The art gallery is home to 2000 years of Alaskan art, from ancient ivory carvings, to contemporary sculpture and paintings.
“The Muries in Alaska”, oil on canvas by M.C. “Rusty” Heurlin
Artwork by “Rusty” Heurlin is displayed throughout the gallery. Heurlin spent several years living in the bush with his Alaska Native friends. The Muries, subject of the painting above, traveled throughout Alaska by dogsled. Margaret Murie was the first woman to graduate from the University of Alaska.
The gallery has over 3700 works of art on display. The current building was completed in 2005. Prior to that, much of the artwork was not displayed. Even with the new space, the vast majority of the collection is not on display. The Archaeology Collection alone has over 750,000 artifacts.
The work ranges from photographs by Ansel Admas, a painting of Denali by Sidney Laurence, to sculptures including the two thousand year old Okvik Madonna which originated in the Bering Sea region.
Walk to the River
In addition to paintings of wooly mammoths, there is a large selection of contemporary art as well. One of the most prominent is a rather large and elaborate outhouse. I did not take a picture of the impressive throne, but I did check to see if it was authentic. It was; it had a styrofoam seat. I did not check to see if it had been used recently.
Admission to the art gallery comes with admission to the museum. Don’t forget to check out the Place Where You Go to Listen. An “ever changing musical ecosystem, giving voice to the darkness, daylight, phases of the moon, seismic activity of the earth, and the dance of the aurora borealis”. It is honestly, quite the experience.
The World Ice Art Championships has returned to Fairbanks. The Ice Park opened on Valentines Day. I checked it out the other day, but the vast majority of the sites had blocks like the one pictured above. No carvers were working when I stopped by.
Fairbanks is known for its crystal clear ice, which the carvers love to use. There will be single block, double block and multi-block carving contests. Plus, there are single carver and two person carver events. I’ll stop by a few more times after the carving is done, and everything on display.
The “luge” track, set up for the kids, looked particularly fast.
An ice outhouse: as long as there is a styrofoam seat…
The Ice Park is located at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds, and is open 10am to 10pm, until nature melts the carvings.
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival winds down to a close at the end of the weekend. Hopefully, visitors, at the very least, took in some of the free lunch concerts that have been going on at various locations around town. The Festival started in 1980, and has been a boost to summers in Fairbanks ever since.
I saw the Lowboy Cello Band on Alaska Live Wednesday, which prompted this post. One doesn’t often think of Fairbanks as being a cello hotbed, but we seem to be holding our own. The band consists of four members of the Alaska Cello Intensive. The above video is the ACI doing a beautiful, yet more traditional piece. I will follow that up with a video of ACI getting a little loose and funky.
Valley Spruce by Sara Tabbert
The original piece above, by artist Sara Tabbert, is hand carved and painted on wood. The piece will be auctioned off today at 7:30pm at the Westmark downtown, during the FSAF Orchestra Pops Concert.
The tripod was raised for the 100th time on the Tanana River Sunday, kicking off the 2016 edition of the Nenana Ice Classic.
That first year, 1917, the jackpot was $801. The largest jackpot came in 2014 when it hit $363,627. On average, 290,000 guesses are made each year. You have until April 5 to make your pick. As of March 1, the river ice was 40″ thick where the tripod now stands.