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TELFAIR MUSEUMS PRESENTS ‘FRANK STEWART’S NEXUS: AN AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNEY, 1960s TO THE PRESENT’ IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION 

SAVANNAH, GA –February 6, 2024 – Telfair Museums, in partnership with The Phillips Collection, presents “Frank Stewart’s Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960s to the Present.” The exhibition explores six decades of music and Black culture from around the world.  It will be on view from Feb. 9 to May 12, 2024, at the Jepson Center, located at 207 W York St, Savannah, GA 31401. In addition to the groundbreaking exhibition, Telfair Museums has prepared an extensive lineup of accompanying programming including partnerships with local organizations. 

“Frank Stewart’s Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960s to the Present” is the first major museum retrospective of noted photographer Frank Stewart’s sixty-year career and centers on his sensitive and spontaneous approach to portraying world cultures and Black life in many forms —including music, art, travel, food, and dance. The exhibition is co-organized by The Phillips Collection and Telfair Museums and curated by Ruth Fine, formerly of the National Gallery of Art in DC, and Fred Moten, poet, scholar, and professor of performance studies at NYU’s Tisch School of Fine Arts.   

Telfair Museums has long supported Stewart’s career by collecting his work and holds three photographs in the permanent collection. Stewart was born and raised in the South, in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee and later moved between Chicago and New York City. He has often returned to the South to photograph the region and traveled to Savannah frequently as part of his work with Savannah Music Festival (SMF). 

“I have been working in Savannah for the past 25 years as staff photographer for the music festival,” said Frank Stewart. “When I started, we would hold classical concerts in the Telfair family mansion. I always wondered what it would be like to have a show at Telfair Museums. ‘Nexus’ has come full circle for me now! I’m elated to have my work on view in the Jepson Center.” 

Organized into thematic groupings, the retrospective traces his explorations of life on the road and the trajectory of his stylistic journey, bringing together a comprehensive visual autobiography through over 100 black-and-white and color images. Stewart has captured intimate and empathetic images of life experienced and observed across subjects, cities, and countries. He has drawn inspiration from trips to Africa and Cuba, travels as the lead photographer for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and powerful examinations of our ever-changing landscape. Always at the heart of his varied and evolving practice is a familiarity Stewart creates with the people and places that inhabit his works. 

The exhibition is accompanied by the first complete monograph of Frank Stewart published by Rizzoli Electa. This sweeping survey of 103 images, with an artist interview and texts by multiple critical voices including Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ruth Fine, Cheryl Finley, Wynton Marsalis, and Fred Moten, illuminates the evolution of a remarkable career. The catalogue is available in Telfair Museums’ gift shop.  

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Erin Dunn said, “I’ve been fortunate to get to know Frank Stewart and his incredible range of photographs over the last few years and know that every person who walks into the exhibition will find something that resonates with them about his work and artistry. I can’t wait to share this exhibition with Telfair Museums’ visitors.” 

In honor of the exhibition, Telfair Museums has partnered with SMF which takes place from March 28 – April 13. In collaboration with Telfair Museums, SMF will hold a special Artist Panel and Book Signing on Tuesday, April 2 during the three-week-long festival, as well as organize a performance for Telfair’s Free Family Day on April 27. Additionally, Telfair’s Youth Intercept program led by Savannah-based photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson will have the opportunity to speak with Frank Stewart and photograph select SMF concerts. 

Telfair Museums will host a variety of members-only and public events, including the opportunity for free access for all, to further commemorate and discuss Stewart’s work. Scheduled programming include:  

  • Members-Only Opening Reception and Lecture (5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8): Poet and scholar Fred Moten in conversation with artist Frank Stewart. 
  • Super Museum Sunday (12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Feb. 11): Free admission for all museum visitors to explore Telfair Museums including “Frank Stewart’s Nexus” at the Jepson Center. 
  • Curator Tour (3 p.m. Friday, March 1): Members and museum guests are invited on a tour of “Frank Stewart’s Nexus” with curator of modern and contemporary art Erin Dunn.  
  • Lunch & Learn Collectors’ Tour of Frank Stewart’s Nexus sponsored by Telfair Contemporaries (11:45 a.m. Thursday, March 21): Telfair Museums members are invited to learn about collecting the work of and building a relationship with an artist. Speakers will include Ruth Fine, Susan Laney, Dr. Walter O. Evans, and Rob Gibson. Members are encouraged to dine at Wildflower Café following the tour.  
  • Frank Stewart’s Nexus Free Family Day (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27): Explore the world of Frank Stewart’s photographs, enjoy family art making, presentations by local photographers and a musical performance offered in collaboration with the Savannah Music Festival. 

About Telfair Museums  

Opening in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and the first U.S. museum founded by a woman. The museum features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District and encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information on Telfair Museums, please visit www.telfair.org.

To learn more about Telfair Museums please visit https://www.telfair.org/

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For media inquiries, images, interviews and comments from community partners, please contact Kristyn Beasley at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the LFPR team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).