This exhibition, covering the period from 1910 to today, offers a critical reassessment of photography’s role in the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements—with a special emphasis on the medium’s relation to Dada, Bauhaus, Surrealism, Constructivism, New Objectivity, Conceptual, and post-Conceptual art—and in the development of contemporary artistic practices.
The shaping of what came to be known as “New Vision” photography bore the obvious influence of “lens-based” and “time-based” works. El Lissitzky best summarized its ethos: “The new world will not need little pictures,” he wrote in The Conquest of Art (1922). “If it needs a mirror, it has the photograph and the cinema.”
Bringing together over 250 works from MoMA’s collection, the exhibition features major projects by Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Germaine Krull, Gerhard Rühm, Helen Levitt, Daido Moriyama, Robert Heinecken, Ed Ruscha, Martha Rosler, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, and Walid Raad, among others. Photographic history is presented as a multivalent history of distinct “new visions,” rooted in unconventional and innovative exercises that range from photograms and photomontages to experimental films and photobooks.