Many great photographers during the 20th century rose to the challenge of capturing Pablo Picasso on film—Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Douglas Duncan, Gjon Mili, and Irving Penn spring to mind. Yet only one understood Picasso through his sculptures, allowing viewers to do the same in the absence of the originals: the Hungarian-born Brassaï.
Posts by Sarah Meister
The Family of Man opened to the public on January 24, 1955. It included 503 works by 273 photographers hailing from 68 countries. The United States Information Agency circulated five copies of the exhibition, which were presented at 88 venues in 37 countries around the world over the next decade. In 1994, a version of the exhibition was permanently installed at the Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg, where visitors today can experience the exhibition as it was seen by more than seven million people over the last 60 years. As significant as that audience might be, it pales in comparison with the number of people who have held in their hands one of the 300,000 copies that have been sold of the accompanying catalogue, also first published in 1955.
For the first time in more than 25 years, Museum visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a generous selection of work by the extraordinarily prolific and inventive photographer Eugène Atget (French, 1857–1927).
In each gallery of the recently opened Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, you will encounter a wall of photographs (sometimes two) with only pictures of women. This is not because women focused their cameras primarily on their female peers—there are plenty of exceptional landscapes and photographs of other subjects in the Museum’s collection, and a select smattering of these are now on view—but rather because I, along with my colleagues and co-curators Eva Respini and Roxana Marcoci, were fascinated by how these groups of pictures of women and by women suggest, in their diversity, the plasticity of both photography and female identity.
There are no installation views of the Projects exhibition in which Helen Levitt first presented her color photographs to MoMA’s public, for one simple reason: all forty pictures were projected onto the wall, fading as quickly as they appeared. The year was 1974, and Levitt was in the midst of a creative outburst—unusual not only because she was at an age when most people contemplate retirement, but also because until 1959 her career had developed entirely in shades of gray. I love these black-and-white images, and put up a whole wall of them in 2006-07, including the first photograph by Levitt ever acquired by MoMA, New York, way back in 1941.
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