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Helena, Arkansas, from the series "Sleeping by the Mississippi," edition 1/5

A work made of chromogenic print.

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  • A work made of chromogenic print.




Alec Soth
American, born 1969

About this artwork

For his series Sleeping by the Mississippi, the Minnesota-based photographer Alec Soth made a series of road trips, meandering down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana, looking for the abject and beautiful. A discarded mattress abandoned in the stagnant waters of the Arkansas floodplain conjures the series’ central themes of sleep, dreams, loss, and slow cycles of change. Previously an epicenter of domestic trade and commerce, the Mississippi once brought wealth and immigration to the region. Now, Helena is one of the poorest communities in the country. Like his perambulatory travels, Soth’s pictures never follow a direct narrative, nor do they yield a faithful “social document” of degraded life along the Mississippi. Rather, he offers poetic images through the lens of one photographer’s experience of the American heartland.


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Photography and Media


Alec Soth


Helena, Arkansas, from the series "Sleeping by the Mississippi," edition 1/5


United States (Artist's nationality)


Made 2002


Chromogenic print


Image/paper, sight: 100.5 × 126 cm (39 5/8 × 49 5/8 in.); Frame: 104.3 × 129.7 × 4.9 cm (41 1/8 × 51 1/8 × 1 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilyn and Larry Fields

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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