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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

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By Emma Krasov. Images: courtesy SFMOMAHenri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, the first voluminous retrospective since the artist’s passing in 2004, opens at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Derived primarily from the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris, and organized by Peter Galassi, chief curator of the department of photography at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco show is presented by Corey Keller, SFMOMA’s associate curator of photography.Among the 300 prints from Cartier-Bresson’s fruitful years spanning most of the 20th century, the majority of images covers his 1932-1973 period of intense exploration and fascination with the ever-changing modern world. A good number of his works are on view for the first time – each one presenting one or another “decisive moment” caught by his magic lens with equal precision on the streets of Paris and in far away lands. A self-educated genius, a fearless adventurer and a tireless world traveler, this invisible observer, synonymous with photography itself, brings to life (and to Life) the East and the West; post-war France in the 1940s; India and Indonesia and their independence in 1948; Gandhi’s funeral; the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death in 1953; Mao’s Great Leap Forward in 1958, and America’s collective portrait through the years, faces, and places.
A catalogue for the exhibition is a show of its own, with Galassi’s Old Worlds, Modern Times excellent essay that reads like an adventure novel.The exhibition runs through January 30, 2011 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third Street, San Francisco,


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