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49 Geary Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
415 981 2661
Since 1979, Fraenkel Gallery has presented more than 350 exhibitions exploring photography and its relation to other arts. The exhibitions have spanned the medium’s history, from its early masters to the present day. The gallery’s first exhibitions investigated the work of Carleton Watkins, Lee Friedlander, and NASA’s lunar photographs, and these set the tone and pattern for what followed. Because photography’s brief history lends itself to examination backward, forward, and sideways in time, the gallery has presented exhibitions by artists as diverse as Bernd & Hilla Becher, Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, Sol LeWitt, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. The gallery is a primary representative for the work of Diane Arbus, Robert Adams, Lee Friedlander, Adam Fuss, Katy Grannan, Richard Learoyd, Richard Misrach, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and represents the estates of Garry Winogrand and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.
Artists Represented:
Robert Adams
Diane Arbus
Eugene Atget
Bernd & Hilla Becher
E.J. Bellocq
Elisheva Biernoff
Mel Bochner
Sophie Calle
Lee Friedlander
Adam Fuss
Nan Goldin
Katy Grannan 
Peter Hujar
Idris Khan
Richard Learoyd
Helen Levitt
Sol LeWitt
Christian Marclay
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Wardell Milan
Richard Misrach
Eadweard Muybridge
Nicholas Nixon
Irving Penn
Alec Soth
Hiroshi Sugimoto
Richard T. Walker
Carleton Watkins
Garry Winogrand


Installation, Sophie Calle: Because
Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery
Installation, Long Story Short
Installation, Wardell Milan: Parisian Landscapes, Blue in Green
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Online Programming


On the Road

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present 'On the Road,' the fourth installation in our series of online exhibitions, For the Pleasure of Looking, which highlight our philosophy of living with art. The presentation will be on view through September 7, 2020. On The Road is a celebration of the American road and the mythic role it has played in photography. The exhibition presents work from Robert Adams, Johnnie Chatman, Lee Friedlander, Katy Grannan, Peter Hujar, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Richard Misrach, Alec Soth, Richard T. Walker, and Garry Winogrand.


Art Basel Online 2020

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to take part in Art Basel Online and present this extended selection in our online viewing room. The gallery exhibits work by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Elisheva Biernoff, Sophie Calle, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Christian Marclay, Wardell Milan, and others.

Hiroshi Sugimoto


HIROSHI SUGIMOTO: Beginnings is a presentation of the three projects that first landed Sugimoto on the map—Seascapes, Theaters and Dioramas. Beginning in the late 1970s and spanning four decades, these pillars of Sugimoto's practice form the foundation of an oeuvre that now encompasses many disciplines. Embedded in these series are the questions that Sugimoto's work has continued to pose about the nature of time and human experience. Included in the exhibition are key works from each series, such as Sugimoto's iconic view of Radio City Music Hall, and his first seascape, made in Jamaica in 1980.


Dancing in the Streets

DANCING IN THE STREETS is our second presentation in a new series of online exhibitions, For the Pleasure of Looking. With this selection, we look forward to the moment when we can all celebrate together.

Hiroshi Sugimoto


Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Hiroshi Sugimoto: Opticks, an exhibition of new large-scale photographs on view for the first time in the U.S. The images depict the color of light Sugimoto observed through a prism in his Tokyo studio. Using Polaroid film, he recorded sections of the rainbow spectrum projected into a darkened chamber, paying particular attention to the spaces and gaps between hues. The resulting works, each measuring approximately 5’ framed, are vivid, near-sculptural renderings of pure light.

Current Exhibition

Elisheva Biernoff

Starting from Wrong

April 1, 2021 - May 28, 2021
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present its second exhibition of new work by Elisheva Biernoff. Titled Starting from Wrong, the exhibition features nine meticulously detailed paintings measuring no larger than 4 x 5 inches each. All completed since 2017, Biernoff’s recent paintings are carefully observed, two-sided works based on found and anonymous photographs. The exhibition will be on view from April 1 to May 28, 2021, and will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Fraenkel Gallery. Each of Biernoff’s paintings requires three to four months to complete, belying the instantaneous nature of the source material. Aptly beginning with a work titled Wrong 1966, Biernoff’s new paintings depict photographs that may be considered to have failed in a variety of ways. These “failures” include various forms of fading, sun flares, and color shifts, with elements that appear to be damaged or missing. In Him, 2018, a man in a suit is obscured by sunlight coming from behind, rendering him anonymous, and breaking photography’s classic taboo against placing a subject in front of bright light. A mysterious Polaroid verges on jarring abstraction in Instant, 2021, as dark grey patches of “damaged” emulsion appear to rend a light-dappled oceanscape. Biernoff’s double-sided paintings are displayed on stands that allow them to be viewed from multiple perspectives. Ripple, 2020, features figures on a sandy expanse with scribbled handwriting on the verso that references the odd look of the print: “Can’t figure out why the waves unless it’s the heat? Do you have any idea?” With attention to even the most seemingly insignificant detail, Biernoff’s work conveys a sense of a photograph’s history before it arrived in her possession. To accompany the painted works, Biernoff has created a set of 50 “mistake” postcards based on her own photographs, some with photographic errors, others altered to appear misprinted. Gallery visitors will be invited to select a card to take home. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring all fourteen paintings the artist has completed since 2017, when her first monograph was published. Each work is reproduced to exact scale and, consistent with the original publication, all paintings are reproduced recto and verso. Elisheva Biernoff (b. 1980) received an MFA from California College of the Arts and a BA from Yale University. She also studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and was a recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Her work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, among others.

Past Exhibitions

Christian Marclay

January 21, 2021 - March 26, 2021
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present new work by Christian Marclay, incorporating collage, video animation, and photography. The exhibition continues Marclay’s investigation into the relationship between sound and image through sampling elements from art and popular culture, and reflects the anxiety and frustration of the current global pandemic and political crises. The exhibition will be on view in the gallery from January 21 to March 26, 2021, and will be accompanied by a musical performance in which Marclay’s collage No! serves as a score, on a date to be scheduled soon. The voice is at the center of the exhibition. In a series of photographs showing screaming faces, cut and torn fragments from comic books, movie stills, and images found on the internet are arranged into haunting, mask-like composites, and then recorded by the camera. Capturing the paper’s inherent creases and tears, the photographs mix analog and digital elements, and investigate the computer screen as a contemporary physical surface. This exhibition marks the premiere of Fire, 2020, a hypnotic new animation. Using small pieces cut from comic books, the single-channel video work is an impressionistic representation of fire. Hundreds of photographs shown in rapid succession suggest a flip book, creating the illusion of a flickering, fiery mosaic in motion. Flames are also the subject of Raging Fire, 2020, a large collage made of paper cutouts from comic book illustrations of fire. The piece transforms representations of all manner of war, catastrophe, explosion, and arson into abstracted yellows, oranges, and reds in a variety of styles. Also on view will be No!, 2019, a set of 15 original collages made from comic book fragments, and No!, 2020, a graphic score for a solo voice that comprises a facsimile of the 2019 collages. While earlier works such as Manga Scroll, 2010, incorporated onomatopoeias disconnected from their generative action, No! uses vocal utterances, facial expressions, and body movements to prompt a performance. Writes Marclay, “Like my earlier graphic scores dating back to the 1990s, the use of words that illustrate their sonic counterparts engages non-traditional visualizations of sound as a possibility for generating music.” As in his music and video works, which splice together found recordings and film footage, the comic book segments are culled and re- contextualized in vibrant, dynamic ways. Christian Marclay (born 1955) works in a sampling aesthetic, using fragments from the ephemera of popular culture to create new forms and meanings. Marclay’s work has been shown in museums and galleries internationally, including recent major one-person exhibitions at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as Kunsthaus, Zurich; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Marclay received the Golden Lion award for best artist at the 54th Venice Biennale for his 24-hour virtuosic video piece, The Clock, which has been shown widely to great acclaim. His work is in the collection of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthalle Zurich; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

Wardell Milan

October 29, 2020 - January 15, 2021
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present new work by Wardell Milan. The gallery’s second solo show of the New York-based artist will be on view from October 29, 2020 to January 15, 2021. The exhibition features Milan’s ongoing series “Death, Wine, Revolt,” which combines photography, drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture to explore themes of over-indulgence, destruction, and revolution. While earlier series such as “Parisian Landscapes” looked inward, to personal questions of freedom and desire, Milan made the works on view in response to the turmoil of the global moment. In several large-scale works, Milan uses enlargements of his own photographs of specific locations—the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Martin Luther King was assassinated, or the city of Venice—setting his images in dialogue with historical sites of racist violence or political rebellion. Populating the works are a range of human figures, often nude, whose bodies are pieced together from fractured drawings and photographs, and overlaid with blue and white paint. Some groupings suggest erotic coupling or violent encounters, and many arrangements are based on photographic sources. In 2020, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, Milan positions five figures in white Ku Klux Klan hoods against his own photograph of the city’s hills. The arrangement of bodies is based on a found image of a Klan social gathering, and presents the white nationalists in a bland, contemporary California suburb. In The Parade, the arrangement of figures echoes Diane Arbus’s Untitled (7), from her final body of work made in a home for the developmentally disabled in New Jersey. Also on view are a selection of smaller works, including white-on-white cut paper collages depicting hooded Klansmen, and paintings from Milan’s ongoing series of tulips. While earlier flower paintings were inspired by the 17th-century Dutch tulip craze, the new works deconstruct the flowers, transforming them into chaotic arrangements of petals and leaves, hinting at the dissolutions the past year has wrought. Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) studied photography and painting at the University of Tennessee and Yale University. His works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Denver Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; UBS Art Collection; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Milan’s work was the subject of the 2015 monograph between late summer and early fall, edited by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz and published by Osmos Books.


I'm Not the Only One

September 8, 2020 - October 22, 2020
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present I’m Not the Only One, a group exhibition that explores solitude alongside our relentless yearning to connect, in photographs and videos from 19 artists that echo and reflect our current socially distant world.

Sophie Calle


January 23, 2020 - March 14, 2020
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Sophie Calle: Because, an exhibition of new works on view for the first time in the U.S. In each piece, a felt curtain embroidered with Calle’s writing conceals a hidden photograph behind it. In presenting viewers with the text before the picture, Calle upends the usual order in which images are read, creating a poetic surprise or puzzle. The exhibition is Calle’s fourth at Fraenkel Gallery. For almost forty years, Calle has made work that exposes intimate experience to public view, using still images, video, film, books, performance and text. Her work has often drawn from difficult moments in her personal life. “In the process of turning these experiences into art, they somehow become a type of fiction,” she has said.

Long Story Short

October 24, 2019 - January 18, 2020

Carleton Watkins

September 5, 2019 - October 19, 2019

Another West

September 5, 2019 - October 19, 2019

Lee Friedlander


July 11, 2019 - August 17, 2019

Richard T. Walker

May 16, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Alec Soth

I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating

March 23, 2019 - May 11, 2019

The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand

February 21, 2019 - March 16, 2019

Wardell Milan

Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green

January 3, 2019 - February 16, 2019

Richard Learoyd

Work from Two Rooms

October 25, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Robert Adams

27 Roads

September 6, 2018 - October 20, 2018

Earache, Organized by Jordan Stein

July 12, 2018 - August 18, 2018

Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller

The Poetry Machine and Other Works

May 3, 2018 - July 5, 2018

Hiroshi Sugimoto


March 8, 2018 - April 25, 2018

Art & Vinyl: Artists & the Record Album from Picasso to the Present

January 4, 2018 - March 3, 2018