Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures at The Museum of Modern Art, through May 9, 2020

“The Museum of Modern Art presents Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, the first major solo exhibition at the Museum of the photographer’s incisive work in over 50 years. 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.” — The Museum of Modern Art

“It seems both timely and urgent that we renew our attention to Lange’s extraordinary achievements,” said Sarah Meister. “Her concern for less fortunate and often overlooked individuals, and her success in using photography (and words) to address these inequities, encourages each of us to reflect on our own civic responsibilities. It reminds me of the unique role that art—and in particular photography—can play in imagining a more just society.”

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.”

108.1940

Dorothea Lange. White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco. 1933. Gelatin silver print, 10 3/4 x 8 7/8″ (27.3 x 22.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Albert M. Bender

331.1995

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

339.1995

Dorothea Lange. Kern County, California. 1938. Gelatin silver print, 12 7/16 x 12 1/2″ (31.6 x 31.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

474.1959

Dorothea Lange. Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas. 1938. Gelatin silver print, 9 5/16 x 12 13/16″ (23.6 x 32.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

519.1973

Dorothea Lange. Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona. November 1940. Gelatin silver print, 19 15/16 × 23 13/16″ (50.7 × 60.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

369.1995

Dorothea Lange. Richmond, California. 1942. Gelatin silver print, 9 ¾ x 7 11/16″ (24.7 x 19.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

523.1973

Dorothea Lange. Richmond, California. 1942. Gelatin silver print, 7 3/8 x 6 5/8″ (18.8 x 16.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

793.1968

Dorothea Lange. Man Stepping from Cable Car, San Francisco. 1956. Gelatin silver print, 9 3/4 x 6 7/16″ (24.8 x 16.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

434.1995

Dorothea Lange. The Defendant, Alameda County Courthouse, California. 1957. Gelatin silver print, 12 3/8 x 10 1/8″ (31.4 x 25.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase

Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures is organized by Sarah Meister, Curator, with River Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, assisted by Madeline Weisburg, Modern Women’s Fund Twelve-Month Intern, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Images courtesy The Museum of Modern Art.