museum of photographic arts collections


Sarah Charlesworth’s The Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26, 1979 from the Whitney’s collection belongs to her series Modern History, which examines how photographic images function within the editorial practices of newspapers. For this work, the artist selected as her subject front-page coverage from locales across the path of the 1979 solar eclipse over North America. Charlesworth removed all written language except for the mastheads in her actual-sized re-presentations of these 29 newspapers. Although they represent the same spectacle, the images vary, as do their size and position, depending on the publications’ photographers and editors and on the relative importance of the unseen articles sharing the page. The result is a visual allegory of how varied media perspectives contribute to an understanding of the world. Charlesworth remarked: “The eclipse interested me metaphysically, because there wasn’t any single image that was consistent, or even any single point in time represented. Each town along the eclipse path had its own experience of the same event.”

Artist Hank Willis Thomas takes over our Instagram account this week! Hank is one of several artists and scholars who contributed their knowledge to our new free online course Seeing Through Photographs, which is available now on Coursera

Follow along with Hank’s posts at @themuseumofmodernart

[Hank Willis Thomas. Image courtesy the artist]

Wishing you a happy Halloween with this photograph by Melissa Ann Pinney. Explore her work in the Whitney’s collection.

[Melissa Ann Pinney (b. 1953), Little Witch, Evanston, Illinois, 1999, printed 2003. Chromogenic print. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Jeanne and Richard S. Press. © Melissa Ann Pinney]


From Marsden Hartley to Cindy Sherman, there’s something for everyone in Art Everywhere USCast your vote now and tell us which iconic American artworks you want to see on billboards, trains, and buses across the country—including twenty from the Whitney’s permanent collection.

The fifth-floor galleries reopen today with three new exhibitions. Shaping a Collection: Five Decades of Gifts includes iconic works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and many others. The fifth-floor mezzanine galleries will sample the Whitney’s holdings of work by Edward Hopper, whose work will be shown alongside examples of contemporary photography, and Alexander Calder.

Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Second Story Sunlight, 1960. Oil on canvas. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art. © Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

The installation for Shaping a Collection: Five Decades of Gifts is well underway! Here’s Andy Warhol’s Ethel Scull 36 Times at the final stage of installation. Each photograph is a discreet panel and the panels of each row are fixed together. The rows are installed from the bottom up.

Made with Instagram

Last chance! A Collection of Ideas,an exhibition of design objects in MoMA’s collection ranging from the Google Map Pin to the video game Space Invaders, closes January 11.  

[Installation view of the exhibition A Collection of Ideas. On view February 15, 2014, to January 11, 2015. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photograph: Jonathan Muzikar]