December 16, 2014 – Sean Kelly is pleased to announce Songbook, an exhibition of over twenty-five new, monumental black and white photographs by Alec Soth. This will be the Minnesota based artist’s first solo exhibition in New York since Broken Manual in 2012 and his first exhibition in the gallery’s new space. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, January 29 from 6:00 to 8:00pm, the artist will be present. On Saturday, January 31, from 3:00 to 6:00pm, the gallery will host a book signing with Soth and copies of his new publication, Songbook, will be available for purchase.
Known for his haunting portraits of solitary Americans in Sleeping by the Mississippi and Broken Manual, Alec Soth has recently turned his lens toward community life in the United States. To aid in his search, Soth, accompanied by his friend the writer Brad Zeller, assumed the increasingly obsolescent role of small-town newspaper reporter. From 2012-2014, Soth traveled state by state whilst working on his self-published newspaper, The LBM Dispatch, as well as on assignment for The New York Times and other organizations. From upstate New York to Silicon Valley, Soth attended hundreds of meetings, dances, festivals and communal gatherings in search of authentic human interaction in an era of widespread virtual social networking. With Songbook, Soth has stripped these pictures of their news context in order to highlight the longing for personal connection at their root. Evocative, fragmentary, funny and sad, the work is a lyrical depiction of the tension between American individualism and the desire to be united. Songbook presents a profound exploration of the shifting landscape of early 21st century American culture.
The exhibition will have three concurrent presentations, each with slight content variations. The first exhibition will open at Sean Kelly, NY on January 30, followed by openings at Fraenkel Gallery, in San Francisco, on February 5 and Weinstein Gallery, in Minneapolis, on February 20.
For the duration of the New York presentation, Soth will take over Sean Kelly’s official Instagram account. Beginning January 30, Soth will post pictures from his daily life using only the camera on his phone. Follow @SeanKellyNY and search the hashtag #SKNYtakeover to see the images.
Soth has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paolo Biennials. In 2008, a large survey exhibition of Soth's work was exhibited at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland. In 2010, the Walker Art Center mounted a comprehensive exhibition with an accompanying catalogue entitled From Here To There, Alec Soth’s America. His first monograph, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was published by Steidl in 2004 to great critical acclaim. Since then, Soth has published NIAGARA (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007), Dog Days, Bogotá (2007), The Last Days of W (2008), Broken Manual, (2010) and now Songbook (2015). Soth has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (2013). In 2008, Soth started his own highly regarded publishing company, Little Brown Mushroom. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, amongst others. Soth became a nominee of Magnum Photos in 2004 and a full member in 2008.