Gordon Parks. Harlem Newsboy, Harlem, New York. 1943. Gelatin silver print, 14 1/8 × 14" (35.9 × 35.6 cm). Acquired through the generosity of The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art and Committee on Photography Fund. © 2019 Gordon Parks Foundation
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 520 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

From the depths of the Great Depression, the impulse to capture the distinctive character of the United States was felt by photographers, poets, filmmakers, and painters alike. Walker Evans answered this call, harnessing photography to connect art with the everyday. His friend Lincoln Kirstein wrote of his photographs in 1938, “What poet has said as much? What painter has shown as much? Only newspapers, the writers of popular music, [and] the technicians of advertising and radio have in their blind energy accidentally, fortuitously, evoked for future historians such a powerful monument to our moment.”

For many artists, the government provided essential support, fostering creative expression as singular as the individuals receiving funding. The resulting works embraced the prevailing progressive agenda and supplied a vision of the lives of ordinary Americans. Nearly half of the pictures Evans included in American Photographs had been commissioned by the Farm Security Administration, a federal agency. The images function ably both as documents of contemporary experience and in the service of Evans’s art

48 works online

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 [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).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, 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].