Social distancing and self-quarantine present no barriers to exploring humanism, art and the human condition. In Ela Bittencourt’s April 30, 2020 Hyperallergenic essay she writes that “Lange’s instinct not to shrink from misery but to embrace it evidenced her profound sense of empathy. If we’ve grown a bit immune to it these days, the havoc wreaked on American life — on global life — by the COVID-19 crisis lends Lange’s humanist vision renewed relevance.” We couldn’t agree more.
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, celebrate creativity, openness, tolerance, and generosity. We aim to be inclusive places—both onsite and online—where diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions are welcome. MoMA is committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art, and hope you will join them in exploring the art, ideas, and issues of our time.
Toward the end of her life, Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) reflected, “All photographs—not only those that are so called ‘documentary’…can be fortified by words.” Lange paid sharp attention to the human condition, conveying stories of everyday life through her photographs and the
voices they drew in. Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures brings iconic works from the collection together with less seen photographs, from her landmark photobook An American Exodus to projects on criminal justice reform. Presenting her work across many contexts—photobooks, Depression-era government reports, newspapers, magazines, poems—and alongside the voices of contemporary artists, writers, and thinkers, the exhibition lets us consider the importance of Lange’s legacy and of words and pictures today.
This exhibition is currently being presented as part of MoMA’s Virtual Views series, as a “museum from home.” Explore iconic works that redefined how we see America with a live Q&A with curator Sarah Meister and photographer Sally Mann, enjoy poetry and artist’s books inspired by Lange, and unravel the mystery around one of the most famous photographs in the world.