Allen Frame


July 10, 2019 - Loring Knoblauch

Two works in Allen Frame’s new show use vernacular photographs that he discovered during a recent year-long residency in Rome as the jumping off point for hybrid wall-filling installations that put the found images into dialogue with his own photographs. The open-ended mysteries of the anonymous vintage photographs offered Frame the opportunity to graft his own interpretations onto the scenes, and he then went on to expand those themes further, twisting past and present into intimately coupled meditations...

The subtle codes of human attraction that inform the two installations are generally absent from Frame’s larger color images. The pictures instead capture pauses – the in-between moments that happen just before and after something else. Ivana looks out of a widow that could be a painting of the Italian countryside, Ugo checks his phone as he walks down the repaired stairs of an older stone balcony, and Pietro sits on the edge of a swimming pool, looking to his right out of the frame. The photographs linger, and that slowness provides space for vicariously stepping into the lull.

In many ways, these pictures are all testing Frame’s ability to find a particular emotional pitch and stay there, allowing it to blossom and expand into something more complex and intricate. In each of these works/projects, he’s trying to capture invisible restlessness, and attempting to freight his understated scenes with a tiny slice of agitation. When he successfully plucks that string, his pictures shimmer with unseen vibrations.

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June 20, 2019 - Elin Spring


Fantastic Views

In his three-part exhibit “Suddenly,” Allen Frame’s photographs in Italy build narrative fantasies that draw upon foreign films, theater, southern American literature and his 2018 year-long residency in Rome. Frame starts with and improvises on found Roman photographs from the 1960’s, adding his own scenes with characters who all seem to be anticipating or searching for something. The salon-style grouping “Giuseppe,” a seeming travelogue featuring a strapping sunbather and his friends, the elegantly subdued and ornately framed B&W series “Suddenly” (referencing Tennessee Williams’ 1958 play Suddenly Last Summer) and Frame’s single color photographs of individuals in sun-drenched recreational scenes, all feature a subtle homoerotic charge. With an adroit dichotomy of restrained, often pensive characters in bright, open compositions, Frame’s narratives tease like film stills, building suspense and desire.

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Interview: ALLEN FRAME

May 2, 2019 - Brainard Carey

Interview from Praxis Interview Magazine on Yale University Radio WYBCX 

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Allen Frame Press: ARTFORUM, February  1, 2019 - Matthew Weinstein


February 1, 2019 - Matthew Weinstein

curated by LIA GANGITANO

Innamorato,” an exhibition by the writer, filmmaker, and photographer Allen Frame, was dominated by Ennio, 2018, a room-size installation made up of more than fifty found Italian Mussolini-era photographs of an air force pilot, his sister, and a handsome young man. The pictures, hung salon style, were set into a variety of secondhand frames. The subjects of the photos appeared well off, beautiful, and youthful. They could be seen with skis in the mountains and cavorting on beaches, bringing to mind the bourgeois family in Vittorio De Sica’s 1970 film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

Seven photographs of Ennio were printed by Frame from negatives he purchased along with the photos.  Every portrait is full body, and in each one he is ready for pleasure, be it in sun or snow. Is he an object of desire for whomever took the pictures? Is it the handsome friend who yearns for him? Or is it the artist, who rescued these people from the obscurity of a flea market? Or could it be us? Perhaps it’s all of the above. Included in the installation were hand-written passages in Italian taken from Absalom, Absalom! (1936), William Faulkner’s tale of a sibling love triangle—thus revealing the narrative that Frame projected onto the images.

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Magic Hour Podcast

December 14, 2018 - Jordan Weitzman

Episode Length: 51:07
Air Date: November 26, 2019

It was the last day of Allen Frame's show Innamorato at the Pratt Gallery in Brooklyn, and it was my first stop from La Guardia when i arrived on that day. I remember one print hanging on the wall that I immediately gravitated to - Tito, Florence, 1997 - a photo which I’ve always loved, which feels so intimate, even though it’s made at a distance.’ A charming southern fellow in the gallery introduced himself, ‘Allen Frame, nice to meet you.’ I smiled and we ended up talking for about an hour that day going down rabbit holes ranging from the Italian seaside, where he had just made new work, to Charles Henri Ford’s attic apartment in the Dakota, to William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom - a story he hadn’t read since college, amazed at how homoerotic a narrative it had.

Allen Frame is a fascinating figure within the world of photography. He cut his teeth in the early 70’s in Boston with his friends David Armstrong and Nan Goldin, whom he met at Immageworks, a photo program he enrolled in while attending Harvard. He’s made his own pictures on and off over the course of five decades, but he’s also worked in the theatre, adapting the writing of David Wojnarowicz and acting in Garry Indiana plays. He’s written for publications like Bomb and the New York Times, he’s taught at Pratt, SVA and ICP, and he’s worked in curatorial capacities.

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image: Allen Frame, Sunnyside, Queens, 2019. Photo by Jordan Weitzman


Division Review

November 21, 2017 - Tim Maul

On the Photography of Allen Frame

Selecting images from DETOUR/ALLEN FRAME (Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg, 2001) involved engaging with a dark, elegant publication that draws a curtain on a world where sign languages of eros are embedded within a languorous drift of grain. Frame’s CV as an photographer, educator, performer, and film producer could fill this allotted space; most significantly Frame is a surviving member of the 1970’s ‘Boston School’ of artists and photographers whose historicization accelerated from the ongoing AIDS epidemic which so decimated its ranks. Its photographers include revered cultural figures such as David Armstrong, Mark Morrisoe, Jack Pierson and Nan Goldin. Now mythic, they exemplified a louche but socially determined LBGTQ clique originating in Boston with branches in Provincetown, NYC, London, and Berlin during that fabled age of cheap rents, cheap international flights, and endlessly accommodating friends of friends.

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The Creative Independent

July 19, 2017

Allen Frame: On Following Your Curiosity

From a conversation with T. Cole Rachel

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The New Yorker Photo Booth

November 8, 2013

In 2008, New Directions approached the photographer Allen Frame, hoping to use one of his photographs on the cover of their new translation of “Last Evenings on Earth,” by the late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. That year, a fated match was made.
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American Suburb X

October 7, 2013

Raphael: Allen, you’ve accomplished a number of things in your career: photographer, curator, writer, director, producer of a highly acclaimed movie, called Four, which received awards at the Los Angeles, Urbanworld, and New Orleans Film Festivals. Let me ask you… are there enough hours in the day for you?
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Saint Lucy

January 17, 2012 - Mark Alice Durant

I met Allen Frame at a photography auction at Sotheby’s to benefit an arts education program in Afghanistan. While I shook his hand in greeting, I was holding under my arm Allen’s photograph that I had bid on and purchased.  The image was of a non-descript statue hovering over a frozen landscape in Russia viewed though an icicle-streaked window.  Beyond its bleak beauty, the image crystallized my vague interest in public monuments; how long-forgotten figures in stone or bronze stand as sentinels to half-remembered histories.  I was moved by the loneliness of figures unmoored from the narratives that gave them meaning. Even their often-intimidating scale served to underline the impotent attempts to inspire. Allen’s image catalyzed the ideas that became an exhibition I curated at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2008, Notes on Monumentality and the subsequent related essay in Aperture, Photography and Monumentality...

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