Installation view of The Printed Picture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

In October 2008, MoMA published The Printed Picture by Richard Benson, which traces the changing technology of making and distributing pictures from the Renaissance to the present. From woodblocks and engravings to photographs and photo-reproductions of all kinds to today’s digital innovations, the publication surveys the full range of techniques for producing images in multiple copies. This exhibition includes more than one hundred works discussed in the book, supplemented by dozens of outstanding works in a variety of mediums from the Museum’s collection. Augmenting the display are stunning details of dozens of pictures magnified fifty times to reveal the structure of the image. Concise accounts of particular processes reveal how the process by which a picture is made can shape its meaning. The broad scope of the exhibition evokes the enormous social impact of multiple images.

Organized by Peter Galassi, Chief Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, and Richard Benson.

The book is made possible by The John Szarkowski Publications Fund.