No, despite popular demand, the IMA is not having a Willie Nelson retrospective. What can I say…write your congressman. Maybe next year. Thursday, June 26th is the opening of On The Road Again With Jack Kerouac and Robert Frank.
I’ve had the pleasure to work on the team designing this exhibition and we’re all really excited for next week’s opening. How can you go wrong? Kerouac’s original scroll for On The Road, surrounded by Frank’s series The Americans.
Most of you probably read On The Road in either high school or college. I read it after reading an interview with Bob Dylan, who said that it changed his life. Its crazy, I’ve come across quite a few things in that way. Dylan says he likes it, I check it out. I first became aware of Frank in a modern art class that I took in college.
For those of you not familiar with either works, here’s the backstory:
In 1951, at a friend’s house, Kerouac sat down and started typing On The Road using sheets of teletype paper which he taped together to feed through his typewriter. 20 days and 6,000 words later he had the entire manuscript on eight, fifteeen-foot rolls of paper. The text is single-spaced, without paragraphs, and edited in pencil. Can you imagine creating one of the 20th-centuries most influential novels in 20 days of marathon typing? One word: Coffee. In the gallery you’ll be able to see the first 84 feet of the scroll until August 10th, at which time the other 35 feet will be unrolled.
In 1955, Robert Frank started out from New York to observe and photograph the United States. He traveled the country for two years taking 28,000 photos. What he came back with was black and white depictions of anything but the 1950s American utopia we’ve all come accustomed to seeing in pop culture. Ironically, Frank had trouble securing an American publisher so the book of photographs was originally published in France as Les Américains. In the gallery, you’ll see the 83 photographs Frank chose, arranged in the order of the book.
What I think is going to be a great feature of this exhibition is the educational space. Here you’ll get the chance to sample a real underwood typewriter, just like the one Kerouac used. You’ll see a first edition of On The Road and get to have a seat and view some great documentary footage and interviews, including Kerouac on a 1959 Steve Allen Show, reading from On The Road.
The exhibition opens next Thursday, June 26th. Be here for the opening celebration at 7pm for a concert with David Amram who was a lifelong collaborator of Kerouac’s. The two collaborated on jazz and poetry readings in New York’s Greenwich Village and on many other projects including the film Pull My Daisy from 1959. (written and narrated by Kerouac and directed by Frank). The museum is having a Robert Frank film marathon Sunday, August 17 which includes Pull My Daisy. Grab a new Art For You for more info. It should be a fun time. And it’s all free! So really, what’s stopping you? Come by and let me know what you think.
Filed under: Exhibitions