You’ve seen her on the big screen (Tootsie, King Kong, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Grey Gardens), she’s graced Broadway many times and, most recently, she’s appeared on Netflix’s The Politician. Now you can also see her photographs. Actress Jessica Lange will present an exhibition of her photography at Howard Greenberg Gallery from November 21, 2019 through January 18, 2020.
The exhibit – “Highway 61” – is her tribute to the storied route (starting in Minnesota, where she grew up) and showcases what she saw over six years worth of drives down the iconic road which runs through the center of the U.S.: diners, barrooms, road signs, horizons, parades, passing barges, landscapes, American eccentrics and everyday people. She travels through all eight states where Highway 61 unfolds. In her words: “These photographs are a chronicle of what remains and what has disappeared. It has a long memory, Highway 61.”
The exhibition coincides with the publication by powerHouse of her fourth book Highway 61.
Her photography series reveals the thoughtful and powerful connection Lange continues to maintain towards the people and places in this part of America. Lange has noted that “long stretches of 61 are empty, forlorn, as if in mourning for what has gone missing — the hometowns, the neighborhoods, family farms, factories and mills.” The images are grainy, bathed with intense light and shadow. With road trip photography you so often fall into the trap of making photographs that seem touristy – and that is something that Lange has managed to escape completely. The images have an emotional quality, like she’s been there for years, and insider to the small moments that play out against this vast backdrop.
“It’s a great counterpoint to filmmaking,” Lange has said about photography, “because it’s a private, solitary experience. It’s like writing or painting; it’s something you can do on your own. Acting is a co-dependent art form, and the actor is not in control. And filmmaking definitely informs the decision to photograph something. I’m drawn to situations with a dramatic feel to them as far as lighting or backdrop or people’s presence, the way someone stands.”
Lange is the 13th actress in history to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, having won two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, one Screen Actors Guild Award and five Golden Globe Awards. She can currently be seen in The Politician on Netflix.
— Samantha Reinders
powerHouse Books (October 2019)