• Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures brings iconic works from the collection together with less seen photographs, from her landmark photobook An American Exodus to projects on criminal justice reform. Presenting her work across many contexts—photobooks, Depression-era government reports, newspapers, magazines, poems—and alongside the voices of contemporary artists, writers, and thinkers, the exhibition lets us consider the importance of Lange’s legacy and of words and pictures today.

    A fleeting gesture, a visual echo, an ambiguous detail: the artist Sam Contis has taught me to see these as emblems of Dorothea Lange’s work, as well as signals of a new chapter in Contis’s own career. Sam and I discovered our shared fascination with Lange a few years ago, when I was just beginning to imagine the exhibition ‘Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures’ and she was just beginning to dive into Lange’s archives at the Oakland Museum of California. We’ve followed Lange’s trail, together and separately, each transformed by the experience.

    Sam’s contribution to the exhibition is anchored by a single photograph, ‘Paul’s Hands’, amplified in the galleries by three lush photogravures drawn from ‘Day Sleeper’, Contis’s artist’s book that takes Lange’s archive as its point of departure.

    –Sarah Meister, Curator

Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Installation view
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