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The Museum of Modern Art in Queens Presents Last Chance
To View Ansel Adams Centennial

Exhibition Presents Critical Re-evaluation of Adams as an Artist and Photographer

Ansel Adams at 100

Open until November 3, 2003
MoMA QNS, Long Island City, Queens

(New York, July 9, 2003)The Museum of Modern Art presents the final opportunity to see Ansel Adams at 100, on view from July 11 to November 3, 2003, at MoMA QNS, the last venue on the international tour. Although Adams’swork has been more widely exhibited than that of perhaps any artist in the twentieth century, his oeuvre has not been fundamentally re-evaluated since his death in 1984. This centenary exhibition presents an aesthetic reappraisal of Adams (1902–1984) as an artist and working photographer by bringing together 113 of his finest photographs, represented by exemplary prints drawn from important public and private collections. The exhibition was organizedfor the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art by guest curator John Szarkowski, Director Emeritus of MoMA’s Department of Photography. Ansel Adams at 100 has been organized with the cooperation of The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust and the Adams family. The international tour is made possible by Hewlett-Packard.



According to Mr. Szarkowski, “Ansel Adams was one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. He was also one of the best-loved spokesmen for the obligations we owe to the natural world. It has been easy to confuse the related but distinct achievements that earned him these twin honors. The subject of the exhibition and catalogue is Adams the artist.” Ansel Adams at 100 situates photographer’s iconic works, such as Mount Williamson, from Manzanar (c. 1944) and Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941), within the context of an unexpected and unfamiliar body of photographs, including North Palisades, from Windy Point (1936) and Two Dead Trees Against Black Sky, Sierra Nevada (1925).

The photographer identified deeply with the culture and geography of the American West. Adams made hundreds of photographs of the American landscape and his pictures, according to Mr. Szarkowski, “have revised our sense of what we mean when we say landscape.” As Mr. Szarkowski states in his catalogue essay, “Adams’s pictures . . . demonstrate that even in the great theatrical diorama of Yosemite, the mountains are no more miraculous than a few blades of grass floating on good water. His pictures have enlarged our visceral knowledge of things that we do not understand.”

Adams had a long relationship with The Museum of Modern Art. Together with Trustee David H. McAlpin and Beaumont Newhall, the Museum’s first curator of photography, he was instrumental in founding MoMA’s Department of Photography, the first of its kind. “Adams’s dedication and boundless energy were vital to the creation of the department and to its programs in its early years,” says Peter Galassi, current Chief Curator of the department. Mr. Szarkowski met Adams in 1962 shortly after joining MoMA as Director of the Department of
Photography, and he included Adams’s work in one of his first exhibitions for the Museum, The Photographer and the American Landscape (1963). In 1979, Mr. Szarkowski, working closely with the photographer, organized for MoMA the major exhibition Ansel Adams and the West.

Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco in 1902, lived there for 60 years, and spent the last two decades of his life in Carmel Highlands, on the Big Sur Coast. As a youth he first photographed Yosemite Valley with a Kodak Brownie box camera, and Yosemite became the lifelong subject for which he is best known. Starting in 1919, Adams spent much time in Yosemite and the Sierra and served as photographer on the Sierra Club Outings until 1936. The process of Adams’s development as an artist is documented in the proof albums that he made on these outings, three of which are included in this exhibition. In his later life, Adams became an important educator and proponent for the medium of photography, an advocate for the Sierra Club, and America’s best-known environmentalist.


Marking the 100th anniversary of Adams’s birth, and to coincide with this exhibition, Little, Brown and Company—the exclusive publisher of the work of Ansel Adams—has published Ansel Adams at 100. Written and edited by John Szarkowski, this definitive volume on the artist and his work features prints that have been meticulously reproduced for the book under the supervision of Richard Benson, dean of the Yale University School of Art, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, and a pivotal figure in recent advances in photographic reproduction. Printed on specially made French paper and bound in natural linen cloth with a matching slipcase, the oversized, 192-page book has been designed by the award-winning J. Abbott Miller of Pentagram Design.


Special programs, including a lecture by John Szarkowski on September 30 at MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre, will be held in conjunction with the presentation of the exhibition.

Public Information:
MoMA QNS, 33 Street at Queens Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens

For current hours and admission, please call 212/708-9400 or visit www.moma.org
Hours: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Thursday through Monday; 10:00 a.m.–7:45 p.m. Friday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Admission: $12; $8.50 full-time students with ID and people 65 and over. Free for members and children under 16 accompanied by an adult. Friday, 4:00–7:45 p.m., pay what you wish.

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