The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip


The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip

November 25, 2017
January 07, 2018

About the Exhibition

The American photographer Stephen Shore once declared, “Our country is made for long trips.” While the myth of the Western frontier had long engaged artists, and photographers including Walker Evans and Edward Weston immortalized their travels through the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, the American road trip gained new prominence in literature, music, movies, and photography after World War II. As the growth of the Interstate Highway System and the wider availability of automobiles made it easier to cross the country’s expanse, more photographers embarked on trips to create work about America itself or better understand their place in it. The road trip remains an enduring symbol in American culture, suggesting possibility, discovery, and escape—a place to get lost and find yourself in the process.

The Open Road explores the photographic road trip as a genre and America as an imaginative resource, presenting the stories of photographers for whom the American road was muse. More than 100 images spanning the 1950s to today suggest how photographers have discovered in the specific details of America’s vastness a means to reflect on place, time, and self.

Justine Kurland
Claire, 8th Ward, 2012
Archival pigment print
© Justine Kurland, courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, New York
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Installation Photography

Featured Artists

Robert Frank
Inge Morath
Ed Ruscha
Garry Winogrand
Lee Friedlander
William Eggleston
Joel Meyerowitz
Stephen Shore
Victor Burgin

Bernard Plossu
Shinya Fujiwara
Eli Reed
Joel Sternfeld
Todd Hido
Alec Soth
Ryan McGinley
Justine Kurland
Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs


The Blanton presentation is organized by Claire Howard, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art.

This exhibition will be on view in our Butler Gallery, located on the ground floor of the museum.

Exhibition organized by Aperture Foundation, New York
David Campany and Denise Wolff, curators. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support for this exhibition at the Blanton is provided by Chase and J.P. Morgan.

Image credit:
Stephen Shore
U.S. 97, South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 21, 1973 (detail)
Chromogenic color print
© Stephen Shore, 303 Gallery, New York

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