Picturing Modernity

February 26, 2011 - June 02, 2013

This changing selection of pictures explores SFMOMA's world-renowned photography collection. The current installation, featuring recent additions to the museum's collection, emphasizes the modernist tendency in photography from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Photography might be considered the quintessential modernist art medium, not only because its 175-year history corresponds almost exactly with Modernism's duration as a cultural movement, but also because the camera introduced into the world a radical new way of seeing and communicating. Including works by Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Wright Morris, and Ken Light, among others, this installation highlights pictures that are both precise and immediate, in which the formal issues of framing, detail, and point of view are paramount.

Temporarily closed March 6 - 15, 2013.

  • William Carter, photo of athletic man running on street next to donkey
    William Carter, Racers, Central City, Colorado, 1970; gelatin silver print; Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust; William Carter
  • Janet Delaney, photo of woman sweeping hotel lobby
    Janet Delaney, Park Hotel, Owned by the Patel Family, 1049 Folsom Street, San Francisco, 1980; printed 2011; chromogenic print; Collection SFMOMA, gift of the artist; Janet Delaney
  • Lewis Wickes Hine, photo of school children crowded in front of door
    Lewis Wickes Hine, All these are workers in Sweetwater Hosiery Co., except smallest boy. Location: Sweetwater, Tennessee., ca. 1910; gelatin silver print; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase
  • Wright Morris, photo of smalll hut in rural field with Panama sign
    Wright Morris, Panama, Nebraska, 1947; gelatin silver print; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; 2003 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents