One of the Most Exceptional Photography Collections in North America Travels to the Morgan
New York — The Morgan Library & Museum presents an exhibition of photographs from one of the most comprehensive repositories of photography on the continent, the collection at the National Gallery of Canada. The first in a series of three major photography shows at the Morgan in 2019, The Extended Moments: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada is organized into a sequence of pairings that underline the persistence, over time and across space, of trends and tensions central to photography. The moment in each photograph in the sequence is “extended” by images neighboring it on either side, even as the exhibition as a whole presents the age of photography, from its beginning in 1839 to now, as a single “extended moment.”
Included in the show are 68 works representing photography's role in art, journalism, science, exploration, activism, warfare, the chronicling of family and community histories, and many other subjects. Spanning a period of 180 years, the exhibition also features works by notable artists such as Edward Burtynsky, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lynne Cohen, John Herschel, Richard Learoyd, Lisette Model, Zanele Muholi, Edward Steichen, and Josef Sudek.
Canada’s was the first national gallery to actively start collecting photography. In 1967 the Gallery began building a collection that chronicles the medium from its prehistory to the present, including major contributors to the field. The gallery’s holdings are distinguished by coverage of the complex history of photographic processes and by deep historical strengths, including the daguerreotype and early French and British photography. More recently, the Gallery has expanded the collecting mandate for photographs to take a more inclusive look at photography as a cultural phenomenon.
“Photographs have influenced the human imagination in myriad, complex ways from the very beginning of the medium’s history,” said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan. “Images are made daily and document our national and global histories. Photography is also a deeply personal art that asks questions about how the world works. This is an incredible opportunity for the Morgan to familiarize visitors in the U.S. with one of the most distinguished photography collections on the continent.”
“The Morgan is at once the newest kid on the block. The Department of Photography here is only six years old—and a place where photography gets seen in long historical perspective among the arts of communication,” said Joel Smith, curator of the Morgan exhibition. “It is an honor to host the venerable collection of the National Gallery of Canada here; it also feels like a case of natural synergy.”
Image: Zanele Muholi, ZaVa, Amsterdam, 2014. National Gallery of Canada. Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town / Johannesburg.