Lee Friedlander in Louisiana & Lee Friedlander: American Musicians at The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), April 27 – August 12, 2018

“A major exhibition of Lee Friedlander (American, born 1934), one of the most famous living American photographers. Lee Friedlander in Louisiana explores the ways in which Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, have had a profound impact on the career of this important artist, while also highlighting Friedlander’s significance as a documentarian of the local music community. Comprised of vintage prints and never before seen images, the photographs of jazz musicians, monuments, and street life demonstrate how Louisiana has been central to the development of one of the country’s most influential photographers.

Lee Friedlander’s relationship with New Orleans began in 1957 when he first visited the city as an employee of Atlantic Records to produce portraits for album covers. From that point on, he would be a frequent visitor to the city, training his camera on second line parades, crowded streetcars, and the evolving architecture of downtown. In what is now known as his signature style, Friedlander welcomes reflections, shadows, and obstructions that transform the people and places of New Orleans into playful pictures that are both visual puzzles, and humanistic documents.” — NOMA

Lee Friedlander in Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968. Gelatin silver print. Museum Purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts Grant

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1969. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1961. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1958. Gelatin silver print. Private Collection, San Francisco

Lafayette, Louisiana, 1968. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1959. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Lee Friedlander: American Musicians

Tammy Wynette, 1971. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

John Coltrane, 1960. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Johnny Cash, 1969. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Ray Charles, 1958. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Aretha Franklin, 1968. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Champion Jack Dupree, 1958. Iris print on rag paper. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

“As an artist whose images straddle the border of art and document, Friedlander was uniquely positioned to preserve the social and visual phenomena of New Orleans, creating a varied body of work that is as humanistic as it is artistic,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “We are delighted to be the first institution to examine the scope and influence of Friedlander’s work in New Orleans on the fields of photography, music, and history.”

“While everyone is trying to get the perfect picture, Lee Friedlander’s approach seems to declare that photographs should be about how the world exists, not how we want it to be,” said Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs. “Lee Friedlander in Louisiana is, therefore, both a fitting tribute to a great American photographer, but also a tribute to this city’s rich visual and social character during its Tricentennial year.”

Images courtesy of The New Orleans Museum of Art.