On the Road Again

In a time when gas prices are soaring and cavalier road trips are on a steep decline, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is paying tribute to the ultimate road trippers, writer Jack Kerouac and photographer Robert Frank. Both men were part of the nomadic, counter culture activity surrounding the Beat poets of the 1950s and 1960s and both were as dedicated to roaming as they were to channeling their experience into their art. The Indianapolis exhibition, titled On the Road Again, features the 120 foot scroll on which Kerouac originally wrote On the Road during his 1957 cross country sojourns. The exhibition also includes 83 photographs taken by Beat generation artists Robert Frank during his own two year travels across the states. Frank originally published the images in Les Americains in 1958, a book for which Kerouac wrote the introduction, saying that Frank had captured that “crazy feeling in America when the sun is hot on the streets and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral.”

Jim Irsay, who owns the Indianapolis Colts, also owns Kerouac’s scroll. In the above video, Irsay discusses first seeing the scroll, the thrill of road trips, radicalism, and the Beats. On the Road Again will remain on exhibit through September 21, 2008.