Installation view of New Photography: Zeke Berman, Antonio Mendoza, Judith Joy Ross, and Michael Spano (August 22–December 3, 1985). Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Mali Olatunji
In the 1980s, as more and more institutions and galleries became as interested in photography as they were in what was beginning to be referred to as “contemporary art,” the main channel for contemporary photography at MoMA was the New Photography exhibitions, made up primarily of noncollection works. The first such exhibition, organized by Szarkowski in 1985 and intended to be an annual event, featured work by Zeke Berman, Antonio Mendoza, Ross, and Michael Spano. Szarkowski hoped thus to place contemporary creation at the center of the department’s programming: “New Photography will occupy twice the space of our former one-man series, and will show three or four photographers whose work—individually and collectively—seems to represent the most interesting achievements of new photography.”
It has been a window on the Museum’s approach to photography, and it continues to be one of the very few regularly occurring contemporary series at the Museum. To date the series has presented more than a hundred artists, divided almost equally between Americans and non-Americans and covering a broad photographic range according to the different sensibilities of various curators. Many of the photographers and artists represented in this volume were first shown at MoMA in a New Photography exhibition, which also provided the occasion for their first works to be acquired by the Museum. The series has encompassed framed prints, images on screens, commercial books, self-published books, zines, posters, photo-based installations and videos, and site-specific works, and it will continue to present all the different forms that the photographic image can take.
Being: New Photography 2018
Andrzej Steinbach. Untitled from the series Gesellschaft beginnt mit drei. 2017. Inkjet print, 35 7/16 × 23 5/8" (90 × 60 cm). Courtesy the artist and Galerie Conradi, Hamburg and Brussels. © 2017 Andrzej Steinbach
March 18–August 19, 2018
The Museum of Modern Art
Being: New Photography 2018, the latest edition of MoMA’s longstanding and celebrated New Photography series, investigates charged and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity in recent photography and photo-based art, presenting works by 17 artists working in the US and internationally.
The works included in Being respond to diverse lived experiences and circumstances through a range of issues and tactics, including interrogations of traditional modes of photographic portraiture, the use of surrogates or masks as replacements for the body, tensions between privacy and exposure, formations of community or social relations, and the agency of the sitter and of the artist. Some works in the exhibition might be considered straightforward figurative depictions, while others do not include imagery of the human body at all. Since its earliest manifestations, photography has been widely seen as a means by which to capture an exact likeness of a person; the artists featured in Being mine or upset this rich history as they explore photographic representations of personhood today, when rights of representation are contested for many individuals.
Being: New Photography 2018 is constituted primarily of works made since 2016, both by artists who are just starting out in their careers, some showing in New York for the first time, and by others with more established practices who, in some cases, have been supporting the field of photography through teaching or creating other platforms for production. For all the artists, this will be the first exhibition of their work at the Museum.
The artists included are:
Sofia Borges (Brazilian, born 1984)
Matthew Connors (American, born 1976)
Sam Contis (American, born 1982)
Shilpa Gupta (Indian, born 1976)
Adelita Husni-Bey (Italian, born 1985)
Yazan Khalili (Palestinian, born Syria, 1981)
Harold Mendez (American, born 1977)
Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopian, born 1974)
Hương Ngô and Hồng-Ân Trương (American, born Hong Kong, 1979; American, born 1976)
B. Ingrid Olson (American, born 1987)
Joanna Piotrowska (Polish, born 1985)
Em Rooney (American, born 1983)
Paul Mpagi Sepuya (American, born 1982)
Andrzej Steinbach (German, born Poland, 1983)
Stephanie Syjuco (American, born Philippines, 1974)
Carmen Winant (American, born 1983)
Organized by Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography.