White Room: Frank MajoreMay 5–June 10, 2006 320 West 13th Street
White Columns is proud to present two exhibitions by the New York-based artist Frank Majore. These will be Majore’s first solo exhibitions since 1998. For the first time in the twenty-three year history of White Columns’ “White Room” series both spaces will be dedicated to the work of a single artist. In White Room #1 we will present a discrete group of Majore’s seminal early works, produced between 1980 and 1985. In White Room #2 we will present a group of his recent and ongoing ‘Nudes’ series produced since 2002.
Frank Majore was a key figure in the early 1980s New York art scene. The selection of his early photographs includes works Majore originally presented in exhibitions at both White Columns and Artists Space. The earliest work on view In The Midnight Hour was featured in a 1980 group show at Artists Space organized by the artist Cindy Sherman. In a November 1980 issue of The Soho News critic Andy Grunberg wrote: “Majore’s pictures are characteristic of the exhibition’s fascination with fashion and romance, as well as its reliance on a kind of aborted, proto-filmic narrative … As with Sherman’s pictures, we are left with a narrative of our own devising.” Majore’s work that followed would engage explicitly with – and unashamedly approximate – the visual mechanics of seduction more typically associated with advertising and commercial photography. In a work such as 1983’s Blue Martinis (which was included in curator Mervin Heiferman’s important 1985 show “Seduction: Working Photographs” at White Columns, alongside images by Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, and Jim Welling, amongst others) – a formal slippage is established between the identities of appropriated and staged imagery: a blurring of the pictorial conventions of both advertising and art. Majore’s inclusion in the seminal 1984 White Columns’ exhibition “The New Capital” (curated by Collins and Milazzo) – which included early works by Sarah Charlesworth, Jeff Koons, and Peter Halley, amongst others – would further underscore his investigation into the unstable relationships between images, photography, art and the visual, psychological, and intellectual ‘capital’ of the marketplace.
In his recent works from the ongoing ‘Nudes’ series – shown here for the first time – Majore continues his investigation into the nature of images, and into the nature of photography itself. Each of the digitally produced pigment prints on view consists of an often radically enlarged and cropped detail from an existing ‘found’ photograph. Over the years Majore has collected – from flea markets and the like – images which include depictions, or displays, of nudity: the ‘nude’ being amongst the handful of standard art genres (e.g. Majore’s works from the 1980s similarly explored the genre of the ‘still life’). Mostly derived from photographs taken between the 1920s and the 1960s, the images range from casual, informal snapshots – often invoking a kind of ‘naturist’ pastoral – to more formally posed images that allude to conventions of classicism. Each of these images takes the form of a body (or bodies) on public display. Eschewing the prurient or pornographic and as a result of the process of magnification, Majore’s reinterpretations of these images exist somewhere between an impressionist rendering and a surveillance-style image more typically associated with the paparazzo’s telephoto lens.
Frank Majore (b. 1948, Richmond Hill, New York) lives and works in New York. He has shown his work since the late 1970s. Solo shows include: Artists Space, New York, 1980; 303 Gallery, New York, 1986; Nature Morte, New York, 1986; International Center of Photography, New York, 1986; Holly Solomon Gallery, New York 1987 (and 1989, 1991, 1992); Josh Baer Gallery, New York, 1990; Janet Borden Inc. New York, 1996 and 1998. Group shows include: “A Fatal Attraction: Art and the Media,” Renaissance Society, Chicago, 1982; “The New Capital,” White Columns, 1984; “Whitney Biennial,” Whitney Museum of Art, New York, 1985; “Image World,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1989; “Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort,” Museum of Modern Art, New York; and “Commodity Image,” ICP, New York, 1993. Awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1996; and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation fellowship in 1993. His work is in the permanent collections of more then 20 public institutions including the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.