Allen Frame in Conversation with Noam Parness, Associate Curator and Exhibitions Manager at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

Allen Frame in Conversation with Noam Parness, Associate Curator and Exhibitions Manager at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

November 17, 6:30PM - 8:30PM, 
Soft Network 636 Broadway
Projects: Room 320
New York NY 10012, United States

RSVP required for all programs

“Lost and Found” brings together material from the archive of photographer/filmmaker Susan Brockman (1937-2001) with a new installation by photographer/writer Allen Frame (b. 1951). The exhibition marks the beginning of the Estate of Susan Brockman as the second Archive-in-Residence at Soft Network. This year-long exploration of Brockman’s photography supplemented by dialogues and collaborations with contemporary artists will provide a space for the public to consider some of the complexities of a photo-based artist’s legacy. 

Large drafting tables from Brockman’s studio are used in the gallery to display materials from her archive that were integral to her practice. Objects that Brockman made and collected as well as prints of photographs that she took at various flea markets during the 1980s and 1990s are interspersed with prints that she altered through cutting, painting or collage. Frame’s work Amalfi (2023), on the back wall of the gallery, combines ink drawings of the Amalfi Coast taken from an unknown artist’s 1968 sketchbook found at a flea market in Rome and prints of color photographs that Frame took in the same locations as depicted in the sketches. Both Brockman and Frame use photography as a medium for exploring the melancholic and mysterious relationship between loss and discovery. In taking anonymous, found objects as their impetus for constructing new images and meanings, Brockman and Frame’s projects expand thinking around the potential value and function of loss via “lost” art.

Frame’s installation is just one example of recent work that is informed by collecting, reframing, and reinterpreting things from the past. His book Innamorato (2023, Meteroro) consists of three projects that juxtapose found photographs of unknown people with Frame’s own portraits of friends. In the introduction to the book, Samuel Gross comments on this combination of forgotten and new imagery: “Frame takes the pathos of lost images, recovers their immediacy through stories he weaves around them and situates them in a timeless space where their relevance can be addressed.” 

Amalfi, created during a residency at the American Academy in Rome, represents a departure for Frame, focusing on scenery rather than portraiture and using drawings as the source material. Although the drawings seemed to be made by a practiced artist, they had no signature and inquiry into the artist’s identity was unsuccessful. Frame’s investigation then took him on a different type of journey, led by imagination and desire. He used the drawings as a map for a road trip with his partner, traveling to the spots depicted and photographing the same scenes. Frame’s compositions are expansive, including beaches, cliffs and harbors along the Amalfi Coast. In the central image, his partner is posed on a boat evoking the male figure that occasionally appears in the found drawings. Frame’s positioning of himself and his partner in place of the lost sketchbook artist and their subject creates a suspenseful doubling across time and medium, in the bright Italian sun no less. Frame has explained that his approach to capturing the scenery in these places was informed by his love of films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955), Rene Clement’s Purple Noon (1960), and Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (1963). Like these classic movies, Frame’s sophisticated travelogue evokes the intrigue of a personal pursuit through a highly seductive landscape.