The Clutter of Happenstance: Photographs by Robert Cumming

Mar 19–Jul 5, 1998


Robert Cumming. Two Views of One Mishap of Minor Consequence (right panel). 1973. Gelatin-silver print. Acquired through the generosity of Celeste Bartos. © Robert Cumming/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Challenging longstanding perceptions about photography’s apparent relationship to the objective world, Cumming creates alternative and hypothetical “realities” using found and fabricated objects in staged scenarios. Drawn principally from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, this exhibition also includes loans from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; and private collectors.


  • Master checklist 6 pages
  • Press release 2 pages


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 [email protected].


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

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].


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