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Picturing New York at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

An exhibition of 145 masterworks from the photographic collection of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, celebrating the architecture and life of that unique city from the 1880s to the present day, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 25 November 2009. Picturing New York draws on one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary photography in the world to celebrate the long tradition of photographing New York, a tradition that continues to frame and influence our perception of the city to this day. Presenting the work of some 40 photographers including such influential figures as Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lisette Model, Alfred Stieglitz and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition features both the city and its inhabitants, from its vast, overwhelming architecture to the extraordinary diversity of its people.

The exhibition reflects photographers’ ongoing fascination with New York, a city whose vitality, energy, dynamism and sheer beauty have also inspired innumerable artists, writers, filmmakers and composers. New York’s unique architecture is explored, from elegant skyscrapers to small shop fronts; likewise the life of its citizens, from anonymous pedestrians to celebrities and politicians. The city’s characteristic optimism is caught time and again in these images, even in those taken in difficult times. Together, they present a fascinating history of the city over more than a century, from Jacob Riis’s 1888 view of bandits on the Lower East Side to Michael Wesely’s images taken during the recent expansion at MoMA.

The photographs reveal New York as a city of contrasts and extremes through images of towering buildings and tenements, party-goers and street-dwellers, hurried groups and solitary individuals. Picturing New York suggests the symbiosis between the city’s progression from past to present and the evolution of photography as a medium and as an art form. Additionally, these photographs of New York contribute significantly to the notion that the photograph, as a work of art, is capable of constructing a sense of place and a sense of self.

“I am thrilled that Picturing New York will be presented in Dublin—a city whose vitality, grit, and vibrant artistic community resonates with that of New York,” said Sarah Meister, Curator in MoMA’s Department of Photography, who organised the exhibition. “In addition, the layout and scale of the galleries at IMMA will allow this story – of New York and photography becoming modern together throughout the twentieth century – to unfold as if chapter by chapter.” 

Joe Duffy, Country Executive for Ireland, BNY Mellon, sponsors of the exhibition, added: “As the first New York bank, established back in 1784 under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton, we have a deep and abiding connection to this great city. Over the past 225 years our history has been inextricably linked to that of New York and we have seen at first hand the transformation of a city of some 30,000 inhabitants into the modern, iconic metropolis we know today. Our support of fine art and popular photography has long been a key element of our philanthropic endeavours and we are proud to support the Irish Museum of Modern Art in bringing such a marvellous exhibition to Dublin during this, our 15th year since first opening offices in this city.”

Picturing New York: Photographs from The Museum of Modern Art is organised by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is supported by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. It is curated by Sarah Meister, Curator, Department of Photography at MoMA. The exhibition was also presented at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (26 March to 14 June 2009) and the Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, (11 July to 11 October  2009).

Discussion: Sarah Meister and Tod Papageorge
On Monday 23 November at 5.00pm MoMA curator Sarah Meister will introduce the exhibition Picturing New York, followed by an illustrated presentation by renowned American photographer Tod Papageorge, who will discuss key themes in his work and how they relate to specific works featured in the exhibition. The event will conclude with an open discussion. Admission is free, but booking is essential. Please book online on The lecture will take place in the Chapel at IMMA.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue produced by The Museum of Modern Art, which includes a foreword by Enrique Juncosa, Director, IMMA, an essay by Sarah Meister, and texts by notable New Yorkers.

Picturing New York continues at IMMA until 14 February 2010.

Admission: €5.00, concessions €3.00.
Admission free for under-18s, those in full-time education and on organised Museum programmes and IMMA members. Admission free for all on Fridays.

Sponsored by

Bank of New York Mellon


Media partner: The Irish Times   

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
except Wednesday: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays: 12noon – 5.30pm
Mondays, 24 – 26 Dec & 28 Dec: Closed

Christmas opening hours:
Closed: Thurs 24 – Sat 26 Dec & Mon 28 Dec
Open: Sun 27 Dec and from Tues 29 Dec to Fri 1 Jan from 12noon – 5.30pm

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

12 November 2009

About BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 34 countries and serving more than 100 markets. BNY Mellon is a leading provider of financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, providing superior asset management and wealth management, asset servicing, issuer services, clearing services and treasury services through a worldwide client-focused team. It has $22.1 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $966 billion in assets under management, services $11.9 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.6 trillion per day.

Throughout our 225 year history, BNY Mellon has supported non-profit organisations addressing cultural awareness and access, economic vitality, education and urgent human needs.  We are proud to have worked with many of the world’s leading art, cultural and philanthropic institutions, and to have supported them with charitable investment, sponsorships and through the volunteer efforts of our employees.

Additional information is available at