Essay – Online Photography Exhibitions

If you’re a fellow photo art geek you await The Museum of Modern Art‘s bi-annual “New Photography” show with great excitement. We all read John Szarkowski’s Looking at Photographs in art school, and he launched this exhibition program over forty years ago. The MoMA’s regular show made him to photography what John Peel’s Sessions were to music. Not every inclusion was immediately likeable, but you had to respect the work.

Artnet wrote an article about this year’s show, and describes it as work that is “… torn and painted and stitched together; they’re fitted into antique frames the size of a matchbox and printed on canvases that run longer than a station wagon.” This is exactly the kind of work I collect, which is very different than what we typically exhibit at Fotografiska.

Covid forced MoMA’s show to be online only. What a bummer. All photography suffers online, because it is placed on the same screens as advertisement, memes, and bad family snapshots, thus making it so much smaller in every way, and taking it outside of a cultural art experience.

Fotografiska also mounted shows online. The web is a great framework for journalistic work, or photographers shooting on the street. The immediacy is appropriate. Much like MoMA we also exhibit a very unique body of work on our site, our Warhol Polaroids exhibitions “Sex Parts and Torsos” and “Ladies & Gentlemen.” Nonetheless we will also be showing the works physically in the new year. I hope MoMA’s “Companion Pieces” as this year’s New Photography entry will get a chance to be seen in person. It would be a loss not to experience these works as they were intended.