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Fotografiska New York | Frank Ockenfels 3 : Introspection


Fotografiska New York

L'Œil de la Photographie

December 28, 2023

Fotografiska New York presents a major career retrospective by the renowned celebrity photographer, fine artist, and director Frank Ockenfels 3.

The show, titled Introspection, includes over 100 works from across his thirty-year career, including portraits of actors, musicians, and Hollywood personalities such as David Lynch and Angelina Jolie; artworks done on newspapers, scrap metal and skateboards that suggest his wide-ranging interests and ambitions; and a single-work installation of hundreds of polaroids taken over the course of his many sessions with some of the world’s most famous faces.

“Frank Ockenfels is one of the most remarkable artists of his generation,” said Sophie Wright, Executive Director of Fotografiska New York. “Not only has he seamlessly traversed the bounds between fine and commercial art for decades, he also continues to push boundaries and develop new languages for what photography can be and how it can play with other media. Our institution, which is dedicated to collapsing the distinctions that Ockenfels has skipped over so effortlessly, is especially well placed to present this survey.”

Introspection surveys the artist’s career across 12 sections, each one tied to the next through displays of Ockenfels’s Journals, which he made to document his various projects. What initially began as quickly scribbled notes on polaroid pictures to remember lighting set-ups and plans for the next day grew into a record of his conversations with his subjects and a way of developing ideas, working through influences, and charting his progress. These works will serve as a key for audiences to understand his development as an artist.

Ockenfels has been widely applauded throughout his career for his playful style, his combination of various techniques (photography, painting, collage) and his experimentation with light and optics. His sometimes rough treatment of his photographs, occasionally cut with scissors or covered in ink and charcoal, allows him to add his subjective sensibilities into his work, combining his personality with those of the people depicted in his pictures. His art often has a dreamlike quality, with a sometimes dark, suggestive undertone that nevertheless carries a certain elegance.


Ockenfels (b. 1960, West Chester, Pennsylvania) is best known for his psychologically revealing portraits of famed figures such as George Clooney, Damien Hirst, and David Bowie; his campaigns for brands including Converse and Nike; and his work as a director of music videos and commercials.

After studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York in the early 1980s, he rose to prominence doing cover shoots for magazines including Rolling Stone and Spin and overseeing photo shoots for artists including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jay Z and Alicia Keys. In the 1990s, he began directing music videos and later transitioned to orchestrating promotional campaigns for shows and films like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Pirates of the Caribbean and, more recently, The Bear and Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Throughout, he’s also kept up a separate but related studio practice, producing works in a variety of media and presenting exhibitions at venues including Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.

“After more than 20 years away from the city, I’m thrilled to come back and present my work at Fotografiska New York and to reintroduce my work to new audiences in a place that shaped so much of my artistic sensibility,” said Frank Ockenfels 3. “To show the full scope of my work here — from the celebrity portraits and works on paper all the way through paintings done on skateboards — is a rare and wonderful opportunity, and nothing short of a homecoming for me.” – Frank Ockenfels 3


Frank Ockenfels 3 : Introspection
Through March 2024
Fotografiska New York
281 Park Ave S.
New York, NY 10010