Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Dorothea Lange photography and Repositioned MOMA Collection

Managed to take in a preview of a new show at the Museum of Modern Art featuring the photography of Dorothea Lange. She was a photographer who shot scenes all over the country but especially in down-and-out places during the Depression in the 1930s in the Dust Bowl and other similar locales. Her work reminded me of Walker Evans and some of her photos are just as famous--one in particular called Migrant Mother was featured in the New York Times.

The show has been put together very deftly. Different walls are devoted to different phases of her career. As usual, problems in seeing the photos are significant--even at a members' preview, the crowd was making getting close to many items difficult. And it's always hard to read the descriptive panels. But enough griping. It is a terrific exhibit and if you get to MOMA, you should definitely take the time to see it. I suspect it's one of those exhibits that if you go starting in its second week, it may be far easier to get close to everything.

The reinstalled permanent collection at the museum is magnificent, as one would expect. The first room has versions of Munch's The Scream, Van Gogh's Starry Night, several Cezannes, and work by Gauguin, Mondrian, Henri Rousseau, and Vuillard. Many pictures are placed with others that may come from a different style and time, but the contrasts are fascinating. I happen to get a charge out of seeing the Italian Futurists, of whose work MOMA has a good sampling. I even spotted a Severini out in the hall as you come off the escalator and a familiar (from previous visits) golden Boccioni sculpture beckoned from across a gallery.

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