White Columns

White Room Doug Biggert

White Columns is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of Doug Biggert.

Organized by Bob Nickas, the show includes forty-one photographs of hitch-hikers that Biggert picked up, mostly in Northern California in the 1970s. As Nickas has written, “While it’s easy to think of Biggert’s car as his mobile portrait studio, what’s most compelling to consider is how all the pictures, brought together over many years and from across the whole country, not only reflect a spirit of time and place but form a larger portrait of the man who made them.”*

“At the crossroads where we find a good samaritan and an amateur photographer are nearly 500 pictures of hitchhikers he picked up along the way, mostly in Northern California between the early 70s and today. Doug Biggert, having hitched himself in the 60s, was particularly attuned not only to how easy it was to help someone stranded on the side of the road, but how every person represents a story. Some are more interesting than others, of course, but even when someone has little to offer — and conversation was one draw for Biggert — there's still the possibility for a good picture. Calling him an amateur is not entirely fair. His knowledge of photography, from the great figures in its history such as Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier Bresson, to the Americans working on the road both before Biggert and at the same time, Robert Frank and Stephen Shore most prominently, clearly served him well. Flipping through his book, Hitch-Hikers, there are portraits that could easily be inserted into Shore's American Surfaces, with a similar visual vibe and sensibility. The 70s feel of color, of the people looking so much of the moment, adds to the record of that decade's vernacular photography, now well regarded but dismissed at the time. That Biggert's pictures surfaced at all, as is the case for so much art and music made outside of the mainstream, is a matter of happenstance, particularly with regard to the fascination that Europeans have for the road movie and the American west. Biggert's collection taps into that ethos over and again, with a seemingly endless cast of extras, each one the star of their own film still.” *

The Hitch-hikers collection was originally assembled and exhibited in Europe by Xavier Carcelle and Chloe Colpe. Hitch-hikers, a selection of the photographs, was published in 2007 by Husson Editeur. Carcelle and Colpe also produced the documentary Beautiful America (2008):

http://www.strimoo.com/video/15838919/BeautifulAmerica-A-documentary-about-Doug-Biggert-Dailymotion.html

Doug Biggert lives and works in Sacramento and is represented by Verge Gallery and Studio Project, Sacramento, CA.

*From Bob Nickas, Doug Biggert: Portraits on the Roadside, Vice Magazine, Volume 16 Number 7, 2009.

Related Press

Doug Biggert - The New Yorker - March 1, 2010


Installation view

Installation view

Doug Biggert
Hitchhiker, date unknown
Digital c-print, edition of five
12 x 10 in.
Courtesy of the artist, Xavier Carcelle and Chloe Colpe, and Verge Gallery, Sacramento

Doug Biggert
Hitchhiker, date unknown
Digital c-print, edition of five
10 x 12 in.
Courtesy of the artist, Xavier Carcelle and Chloe Colpe, and Verge Gallery, Sacramento

Doug Biggert
Hitchhiker, date unknown
Digital c-print, edition of five
12 x 10 in.
Courtesy of the artist, Xavier Carcelle and Chloe Colpe, and Verge Gallery, Sacramento