Notes from Looking At Photography

Notes relating to curating from Looking At Photography by John Szarkowski

The first and distinguishing function of an art museum is that of collecting and preserving works that are, in its judgement, particularly fine, or particularly instructive in reference to the evolution of art. If preserved, these works can be exhibited, reproduced, studied, interpreted, re-evaluated, enjoyed, and – perhaps most important – borrowed from young artists.

Alfred H Barr Jr., who became the founding Director of The Museum of Modern Art in that year, believed that the visual arts were so intimately interdependent that one medium could not be properly studied in isolation. It was his conception that, a genuinely modern museum must pay serious attention to architecture, film, industrial design, and photography as well as painting, sculpture, drawing, and traditional prints. He is reported to have once said that his chief interest was in contemporary things before they became respectable.


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