Collection 1940s–1970s


Living for the City

Spring 2021–Spring 2022


Barbara Brändli. Untitled from the series Sistema nervioso (Nervous System). 1974–75. Gelatin silver print, 8 × 10 1/8" (20.3 × 25.7 cm). Committee on Photography Fund. © 2021 Barbara Brandli
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 419 The David Geffen Galleries

In the midst of the sweeping social change and political turbulence of the late 1960s and 1970s, the four artists gathered here turned their cameras to the city streets, finding photography and film to be an immediate and accessible means of responding to their surroundings.

Barbara Brändli’s photographs of Caracas, Venezuela, form a pop-culture portrait of the city through details of its architecture, billboards, and graffiti. Richard Misrach documents the counterculture of Berkeley, California’s Telegraph Avenue. Takuma Nakahira produced a real-time photo diary while in Paris for the 1971 Biennale. And Nalini Malani’s diptych projection combines an animation inspired by utopian urban architecture with footage of a young woman observing life in Mumbai through a window.

The works in this gallery reflect the personal perspectives of their makers as well as the dynamic social shifts playing out around them. As Nakahira reflected, “Photography has by its very nature [the potentiality] . . . to lay the world bare.”

Organized by Lucy Gallun, Associate Curator, with River Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.

34 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

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].