Frank Stewart’s Nexus is the first major museum exhibition of photographer Frank Stewart’s work and centers on his sensitive and spontaneous approach to portraying world cultures and Black life in many forms—including music, art, travel, food, and dance. Organized into thematic groupings, the retrospective traces his explorations of life on the road and the trajectory of his stylistic journey, bringing together a comprehensive visual autobiography through over 100 black-and-white and color images. For more than six decades, Stewart has captured intimate and empathetic images of life experienced and observed across subjects, cities, and countries. He has drawn inspiration from trips to Africa and Cuba, travels as the lead photographer for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and powerful examinations of our ever-changing landscape.
Stewart’s photographs experiment with size, format, and printing. Less-explored aspects of his career include his more abstract and painterly Drawings series, inspired by his travels and his quest for self-understanding. Color has dominated Stewart’s photography for the past two decades, and in more recent, larger-scale images he forefronts the transforming environment. Always at the heart of his varied and evolving practice is a familiarity Stewart creates with the people and places that inhabit his works.
The exhibition is co-organized by The Phillips Collection and Telfair Museums and curated by Ruth Fine, formerly of the National Gallery of Art in DC, and Fred Moten, poet, scholar, and professor of performance studies at NYU’s Tisch School of Fine Arts.
The coordinating curator for the presentation at Telfair Museums is Erin Dunn, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
About Frank Stewart:
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Frank Stewart grew up in Memphis and Chicago. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was a student of Garry Winogrand and received a BFA in photography from The Cooper Union in New York, where he studied with Roy DeCarava. Stewart became the assistant and photographer to the artist Romare Bearden after the two met in 1975 while filming the documentary Two Centuries of Black American Art, a project organized by David C. Driskell. Stewart has exhibited photographs at The High Museum, Atlanta; Cooper Union Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, Schomburg Center for Research, the International Center of Photography, in New York; Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; and Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC. He was a member of the first team of North American journalists invited by the Center for Cuban Studies to visit Cuba in 1977. He was also invited by the Los Angeles Olympic Committee to photograph the 1984 Summer Olympics. He has twice been granted a photographic fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a New York Creative Artist Public Service Award. He is a member of Kamoinge, an African-American photography collective based in New York. For three decades, he photographed the renowned performers for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Image: Self-portrait, Dominican Republic, 1986; gelatin silver print; collection of the artist.
The exhibition is accompanied by the artist’s first complete monograph published by Rizzoli Electa, which includes contributions by Frank Stewart, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ruth Fine, Fred Moten, Cheryl Finley, and Wynton Marsalis.