Unboxing ‘New Documents, 1967’

Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967 is the long-awaited catalog from the (in)famous MoMA show, “New Documents” of 1967, which ushered in, or, rather, legitimized the era of straight photography, the casual snapshot of the ordinary subject, and the classic portrait of the outsider.

In his wall text for the exhibition, Szarkowski wrote about the then-new generation of photographers, whose “…work betrays a sympathy — almost an affection — for the imperfections and the frailties of society. They like the real world, in spite of its terrors, as the source of all wonder and fascination and value — no less precious for being irrational.”

And that pretty much sums it up.

The work that appeared in the “New Documents” exhibition is now part of the canon: Arbus’ transvestites and creepy twins and homosexuals; Friedlander’s visual puns and sense of timing; Winogrand’s street, beach, party, rodeo, wherever, whenever photography. It’s all there, all the hits, more or less.

This new New Documents contains a slew of additional material: period criticism and a recent reappraisal from Max Koslof; a new essay from Sarah Meister; records of shipping and storage and invitations and other ephemera from MoMA’s archives; reproductions of period criticism from multiple periodicals; photographs of the exhibition and the opening party; some of the color slides that Winogrand projected in a corner of his section of the gallery; all kinds of archival stuff. It’s fitting for a 50th anniversary celebration.

Concept
Content
Design

Overall, I’d give it 4.5 stars: the plates are beautifully reproduced, and with all the extra bits, it’s really an excellent resource.

As a MoMA catalog, it’s readily available, and for cheap at 3rd party retailers, and it’s probably worth picking up.

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