Collection 1880s–1940s


The City as Spectacle

Nov 4, 2022–Mar 10, 2024


André Derain. London Bridge. London, winter 1906. Oil on canvas, 26 x 39" (66 x 99.1 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Zadok. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 501 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

“What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open,” said the French poet Charles Baudelaire in 1869. During the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution caused large urban centers to grow as never before. Artists were fascinated by tall steel buildings, dense traffic, and bustling crowds, where the city street transformed into a theater stage of anonymous actors.

Although this gallery includes paintings, engravings, and posters, it is mainly organized around works in lens-based mediums from MoMA’s collection. Works made in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Guangzhou, London, and Wuppertal show how the newly invented technologies of photography and cinema were well-suited to creating a spontaneous, dynamic representation of the modern city.

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

80 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].


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