Alec Soth: Songbook, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

With 20 new and never-before-seen photographs Alex Soth moves away from the haunting and influential portraits and landscapes that he has become known for, and turns his lens toward life in the country. These photographs are gathered together in Songbook, which is due to go on display at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 5 February – 4 April.

From 2012 to 2014 Soth travelled across the United States looking for signs of close-knit communities in our era of virtual social networks. To aid in his search, Soth assumed the role of local newspaper reporter and moved from upstate New York all the way to Silicon Valley, attending hundreds of meetings, dances, festivals and family gatherings.

In various small towns and villages he documented the events as if they were news, however here in the gallery space these images have been stripped of their news context. This highlights the longing for connection at their root, depicting the tension between American individualism and the ongoing desire to be united.

Fragmentary, funny, and sad, Songbook documents our increasingly confused connections with one another. Photographs from the collection will be presented concurrently at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, and Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis. To accompany the exhibitions, Mack Books in London has published the hardcover book Alec Soth: Songbook, featuring 75 tritone plates. Soth will be present for the exhibition opening and signing of his new publication, Songbook, on Thursday, 5 February from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Alec Soth: Songbook, 5 February – 4 April, Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108.

1.Alec Soth, Magic Castle Inns and Suites, Kissimmee, Florida, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Fraenkel Gallery.