Dorothea Lange - Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. March 1936

Dorothea Lange. “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. March 1936”. Gelatin silver print, 11 1/8 x 8 9/16″ (28.3 x 21.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase.

Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures at MoMA



The Museum of Modern Art announces Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, the first major solo exhibition at the Museum of the photographer’s incisive work in over 50 years. February 9 – May 9, 2020.

Source: The Museum of Modern Art

On view in The Paul J. Sachs Galleries, “Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures” includes approximately 100 photographs drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition also uses archival materials such as correspondence, historical publications, and oral histories, as well as contemporary voices, to examine the ways in which words inflect our understanding of Lange’s pictures. These new perspectives and responses from artists, scholars, critics, and writers, including Julie Ault, Wendy Red Star, and Rebecca Solnit, provide fresh insight into Lange’s practice.

Toward the end of her life, Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) remarked, “All photographs—not only those that are so-called ‘documentary,’ and every photograph really is documentary and belongs in some place, has a place in history—can be fortified by words.” Organized loosely chronologically and spanning her career, the exhibition groups iconic works together with lesser known photographs and traces their varied relationships to words: from early criticism on Lange’s photographs to her photo-essays published in LIFE magazine, and from the landmark photobook “An American Exodus" to her examination of the US criminal justice system. The exhibition also includes groundbreaking photographs of the 1930s—including Migrant Mother (1936)—that inspired pivotal public awareness of the lives of sharecroppers, displaced families, and migrant workers during the Great Depression. Through her photography and her words, Lange urged photographers to reconnect with the world—a call reflective of her own ethos and working method, which coupled an attention to aesthetics with a central concern for humanity.



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