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Technology can quickly upend how we receive and share information. In the 1920s and ’30s, artists helped to shape a media landscape in which the ways images circulated were radically changing. Advances in print technology made it possible to distribute photographs in dynamic combinations in art publications, popular magazines, and political journals. Photobooks boomed as an expressive platform where artists could control the selection and sequence of their images. Photographs infiltrated everyday life, complemented by the accelerated transmission of information by radio, telephone, and film.

International exhibitions celebrated lens-based mediums as quintessentially modern art forms, and photographic imagery moved fluidly between print and gallery walls, recontextualized with different purposes for different audiences. Was mass communication liberating or alienating? The artist László Moholy-Nagy saw the potential for both: “Tomorrow we shall be able to look into the heart of our fellow-man, be everywhere and yet be alone.”

39 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].