The Instant as Image

Neuberger Museum of Art

Jan. 31, 2024 - Jun. 5, 2016

735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, 10577

The Instant as Image explores the camera’s unique ability to capture movement. Centered around Barbara Morgan’s exuberant images of Martha Graham and her dancers performing for the camera and Larry Fink’s photographs of partying socialites and rural folk, this exhibition features twelve other artists working in documentary, street, and snapshot style, depicting motion as an expressive device rooted in the real world. Included are: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Harry Callahan Larry Clark, Elliott Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, André Kertész, Danny Lyon, Mary Ellen Mark, Hans Namuth, Nicholas Nixon, Edward Steichen, and Andy Warhol. Morgan sought that crucial moment in dance when rhythm and form merged. Fink exposed his subjects’ fragility and vanity as he depicted visceral and human moments in the world of artifice.

“Their work both bears witness and conveys the beauty of capturing a moment in time,” notes Chelsea Spengemann, curator, who also points out that chance plays a crucial role.

“In popular uses of the medium such as photojournalism and snapshot photography, the chance capture is expected and celebrated, so artists have adopted this as a pictorial strategy to profound effect.” Interest in representing movement through photography began as early as 1850, but reached a turning point in the 1930s with the invention of 35-millimeter roll film for hand-held cameras. The exhibition features photographs made from 1916-1983, using a range of technique and depicting mostly figurative subject matter.

Neuberger Museum of Art

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