Lee Friedlander: America By Car
Sep 4–Nov 28, 2010

The view from the driver's seat in a car looking at another car on a pole.

America by Car, 1995-2009. Gelatin silver print, 15 x 15 in. (38.1 x 38.1 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco © Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Driving across most of the country’s fifty states in an ordinary rental car, master photographer Lee Friedlander (b. 1934) applied the brilliantly simple conceit of deploying the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield, and the side windows as picture frames within which to record reflections of this country’s eccentricities and obsessions at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Friedlander’s method allows for fascinating effects in foreshortening, and wonderfully telling juxtapositions in which steering wheels, dashboards, and leatherette bump up against roadside bars, motels, churches, monuments, suspension bridges, essential American landscapes, and often Friedlander’s own image. Presented in the square crop format that has dominated his work in recent series, and taken over the past decade, the images in America by Car are among Friedlander’s finest, full of virtuoso freshness and clarity, while also revisiting themes from older bodies of work.

Lee Friedlander: America By Car is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography.