Our Selves

Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum

Sharon Lockhart. Untitled. 2010. Chromogenic print, 37 × 49 in. (94 × 124.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Helen Kornblum in honor of Roxana Marcoci. ©️ 2021 Sharon Lockhart.
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 516

How have women artists used photography as a tool of resistance? Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum reframes restrictive notions of womanhood, exploring the connections between photography, feminism, civil rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and queer liberation. “Society consumes both the good girl and the bad girl,” wrote artist Silvia Kolbowski in 1984. “But somewhere between those two polarities, space must be made for criticality.”

Spanning more than 100 years of photography, the works in this exhibition range from Frances Benjamin Johnston’s early documentary photographs of racially segregated education in turn-of-the-century United States, to a contemporary portrait by Chemehuevi artist Cara Romero that celebrates the specificity of Indigenous art forms. A tribute to the generosity of collector Helen Kornblum, Our Selves features women’s contributions to a diversity of practices, including portraiture, photojournalism, social documentary, avant-garde experimentation, advertising, and performance.

As we continue to reckon with equity and diversity, Our Selves invites viewers to meditate on the artist Carrie Mae Weems’s evocative question: “In one way or another, my work endlessly explodes the limits of tradition. I’m determined to find new models to live by. Aren’t you?”

Organized by Roxana Marcoci, The David Dechman Senior Curator, with Dana Ostrander and Caitlin Ryan, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Photography, MoMA.

  • This exhibition is part of Midtown is modern this summer.
  • Generous support for this exhibition is provided by Atelier Le Diplomate.

    Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Eva and Glenn Dubin, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Alice and Tom Tisch, Mimi Haas, the Noel and Harriette Levine Endowment, The David Rockefeller Council, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment Fund, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.

    Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, and Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro.

    MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

    Publication

    • Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 152 pages

    Artists

    Installation images

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