Picturing America

Fall 2019–Spring 2022


Gordon Parks. Fulton Fish Market Hooker, New York. 1943. Gelatin silver print, 17 x 19 13/16" (43.2 x 50.3 cm). Acquired through the generosity of The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art and Committee on Photography Fund. © 2017 Gordon Parks Foundation. Photo: John Wronn
  • 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

Organized by Clément Chéroux, Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography, with Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Antoinette Roberts and Dana Ostrander, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Photography.

79 works online


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 https://www.moma.org/research/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].


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