Opening March 10, 2020 (and running through to June 28, 2020) the exhibition, “Photography’s Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection” (The Met Fifth Avenue, Galleries 691–693, The Charles Z. Offin Gallery, Karen B. Cohen Gallery, and Harriette and Noel Levine Gallery) will celebrate the remarkable ascendancy of photography in the last hundred years and the magnificent promised gift to The Met of over 60 extraordinary photographs from Museum Trustee Ann Tenenbaum in honor of the Museum’s 150th anniversary in 2020. The exhibition will include masterpieces by the medium’s greatest practitioners, including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Ilse Bing, Joseph Cornell, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Andreas Gursky, Helen Levitt, Dora Maar, László Moholy-Nagy, Jack Pierson, Sigmar Polke, Man Ray, Laurie Simmons, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Edward Weston, and Rachel Whiteread.
The Tenenbaum collection is particularly notable for the breadth and depth of works by women artists, for a sustained interest in the nude, and for its focus on artists’ beginnings: Strand’s 1916 view from the viaduct confirms his break with the Pictorialist past and establishes the artist’s way forward as a cutting-edge modernist; Walker Evans’s shadow self-portraits from 1927 mark the first inkling of a young writer’s commitment to visual culture; and Cindy Sherman’s intimate nine-part portrait series from 1976 predates her renowned series of “film stills” and confirms her striking ambition and stunning mastery of the medium at the age of 22.
The exhibition will feature a wide range of styles and pictorial practice, combining small-scale and large-format works in both black and white and color. The presentation will integrate works starting from the 1910s to the 1930s, with examples by avant-garde American and European artists, through the postwar period, the 1960s, the medium’s boom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and up to the present moment.
Photography’s Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection is curated by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Joyce Frank Menschel Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Met and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. The catalogue is made possible in part by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc. The exhibition will be featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.