Views and Voices: Sandra Phillips on Lee Friedlander’s New Mexico

At a time of distance, our audio series Views and Voices: Personal Perspectives on the Collection is designed to bring you closer to the individual people behind BAMPFA and individual works from our art and film collections. We’ve invited staff and students with ties to BAMPFA to select a favorite piece and talk about what makes it compelling or important to them.

BAMPFA Adjunct Senior Curator for Photography Sandra Phillips closely observes Lee Friedlander’s photograph New Mexico (2000), whose stunning composition she sees as “miraculously conceived in the moment,” finding levels of meaning in the evocatively empty street scene.

Phillips is also curator emerita of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she presented countless exhibitions, including the first complete showing of the photographs and writings of Diane Arbus and the first museum exhibition to survey the work of postwar Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. In 2019 she organized Unlimited: Recent Gifts from the William Goodman and Victoria Belco Photography Collection for BAMPFA.

Lee Friedlander, New Mexico, 2000; gelatin silver print; 15 x 14 1/2 in.; BAMPFA; gift of Victoria Belco and William Goodman in memory of Teresa Goodman, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.