Every year MoMA presents the exhibition New Photography, in an attempt to include the most interesting accomplishments of artists working in photography all over the world. The exhibition is not intended to represent everything that is happening today (We could literally fill the whole Museum!), but to represent some of the most dynamic innovations and bodies of work. Each year the curators in MoMA’s Department of Photography all share the work of artists they have seen over the last year throughout their travels—whether on studio visits, at biennials, or in galleries. From this, I make a selection of artists that I believe represent some of the best work being made today. I seek to combine work by artists that are very different, to better represent the variety of the field.
I first saw Michele Abeles’s work in Greater New York 2010, the sprawling survey of emerging work in the New York area organized by MoMA PS1. I was intrigued by her quiet still lifes and studio arrangements made for the camera. This was followed up by her first solo exhibition in a gallery, in Chinatown, and I was blown away by the installation. The works were simple, yet complicated. The pictures seemed to be made for the space, as if they were always hanging on those gallery walls. They looked beautiful in the space, reacting to the architecture, the space around them, and ultimately the space between pictures.
New Photography 2012 is on view in the Museum’s third-floor Photography Galleries through February 4, 2013.