Frank Majore

Frank Majore became a key figure in the early 1980s New York art scene having established himself as one of the most inventive artists of his generation. He drew inspiration from mass media and popular culture, his work engaging with the visual mechanics of seduction more typically associated with advertising and commercial photography creating a fusion between the identities of appropriated and staged imagery. There occurs a blurring of the pictorial conventions of both advertising and art. One might say that he allows photography to reflect back on itself, to be the carrier of its own critique.

For his “Modern Series,” instead of elaborately creating a fashionable, seductive environment in his studio and photographing it himself in the manner of a commercial photographer, he has become an art director, laying out fragments of photographs that he culls from fashion and architecture magazines, artists’ monographs, and auction catalogs. He organizes these elements into a larger composition. The results can be understood superficially as collage, but they also function as totalities, resembling recognizable genres such as portraiture. Getting the relationships to feel exactly right is an intuitive process that calls on the artist’s experience as an art director and designer of magazines as well as on his willingness to give ambiguity free rein. Fashion images can be understood as an embodiment of desires manifested throughout material culture, so their status as fetishized objects of desire is not that different from the fetishized status of modern art. Majore’s “Modern Portraits” take a radical, transgressive approach to representation. Today he continues his investigation into the nature of images and mass media, and into the nature of photography itself.

Frank Majore was born in 1948 in Richmond Hill, New York and now lives and works in New York City. His work has been exhibited since the late 1970s. Awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1996 and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation fellowship in 1993. His work is in the permanent collections of more then twenty public institutions including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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