The Plot Thickens, 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

The Plot Thickens, 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Comprised of 100 photographs acquired and assembled over the last five years, The Plot Thickens celebrates the 35th anniversary of Fraenkel Gallery. The exhibition revels in the richness of the photographic medium through works by its greatest masters interwoven with prints by the unknown, the majority of which are being exhibited for the first time.

The Plot Thickens is an idiosyncratic, unorthodox survey of photography traversing three centuries: the earliest work appearing as Charles Clifford’s study of the Alhambra, circa 1858; and the most recent produced by Lee Friedlander in June 2014, a bullet-riddled “NO SHOOTING” sign.

Works by Sol LeWitt, Christian Marclay, and Bernd & Hilla Becher find affinities with Charles Sheeler, Helen Levitt, Thomas Eakins, and William Eggleston, as well as a host of anonymous works. Surprising works such as a found snapshot of an all-female wedding, dated 1930, appears beside Nan Goldin’s 1978 dominatrix self-portrait and an 1860 daguerreotype of two girls holding an image of their deceased mother.

Further notable names which make repeat appearances are Eadweard Muybridge and Diane Arbus, Mel Bochner, Katy Grannan, Alfred Stieglitz, Kota Ezawa, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard – the Louisville optician who left behind an unforgettable body of work at his death in 1972, at the age of 46. This inclusion harks back to the first exhibition to be held by Fraenkel Gallery in 1979, which presented a rich series of just-discovered albumen prints by the nineteenth-century photographer Carleton Watkins.

The Plot Thickens, 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108. For more information visit

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1. The Plot Thickens Installation Shot, courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.