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An Ongoing Life in Pictures

 A book inspired by art inspires a new gallery show. 

Anonymous, Los Angeles, 2008, by Katy Grannan.


New York writer Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, was largely inspired by photographs housed in San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. The gallery staff decided it was time they returned the favor, and they invited the novelist and art collector to curate a show. The result, How I Learned to See: An (Ongoing) Education in Pictures, opening June 30, is an overview of the visual aesthetic that has helped shape Yanagihara’s narrative perspective over the years. “Visual art allows us a completely different way of seeing,” Yanagihara says. “A lot of things that a novelist tries to address are the same, but in a different vernacular.” The show will include Fraenkel favorites like Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, Katy Grannan, and Nan Goldin. “In a lot of these works, there is real narrative that runs through the images,” Yanagihara says. “They tell a complete and whole story.”

The show is on view June 30–Aug. 20 at the Fraenkel Gallery.


Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

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