Art on Camera: Photographs by Shunk-Kender, 1960–1971

May 17–Oct 4, 2015

MoMA

John Baldessari (American, b. 1931). Hands Framing New York Harbor from Pier 18. 1971. Photograph by Shunk-Kender (Harry Shunk [German, 1924–2006] and János Kender [Hungarian, 1937–2009]). Gelatin silver print, 7 3/8 × 9 15/16" (18.8 × 25.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in honor of Jennifer Winkworth and Kynaston McShine and in memory of Harry Shunk and János Kender. © 2015 John Baldessari. Photograph: Shunk-Kender © J. Paul Getty Trust. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
  • MoMA, Floor 3, Exhibition Galleries The Robert and Joyce Menschel Photography Gallery

The photographers Harry Shunk (German, 1924–2006) and János Kender (Hungarian, 1937–2009) worked together under the name Shunk-Kender from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, based first in Paris and then in New York. Shunk-Kender photographed artworks, events, and landmark exhibitions of avant-garde movements of the era, from Nouveau réalisme to Earth art. They were connected with a vibrant art scene that they captured through portraits of artists and participated in through collaborative projects.

The roles played by the duo varied from one project to the next. In some cases, Shunk-Kender worked as documentarians, photographing Happenings and performances; in other instances, they were collaborators, acting alongside other artists to realize works of art through photography. This exhibition features a selection from the more than 600 works from the Shunk-Kender Photography Collection that recently entered MoMA’s collection, as part of a major donation from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation to an international consortium of five institutions.

Art on Camera begins in Paris in 1960 with Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void (Saut dans le vide), widely known through the iconic photomontage created by Shunk-Kender. The exhibition then shifts focus to New York; it includes their documentation of Yayoi Kusama’s astonishing Happenings of the late 1960s and selections from Pier 18, a project conceived and organized by independent curator Willoughby Sharp, for which Shunk-Kender photographed works by 27 artists. The resulting pictures capture the chaotic energy, playful wit, and systematic processes of the era’s performance and Conceptual art in two-dimensional black and white.

Organized by Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography.

The exhibition is supported by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.

Publication

  • 3 pages

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at d[email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].