Henri Cartier-Bresson (who sometimes Americanized his name to "Hank Carter" when traveling in America or with American friends*) will be the subject of a major show at New York City's Museum of Modern Art this spring.
MoMA, as H.C.-B. fans will recall, was the site of his first major American show, in 1947—originally planned when they thought it was going to be posthumous, as Cartier was believed to have been killed in the war (he was actually a POW). The new show will be the first Cartier-Bresson retrospective in the United States in more than thirty years.
"Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century" is in New York from April 11th through June 28th, 2010, and will then travel to The Art Institute of Chicago (where I'll be sure to catch it), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. I expect the catalog to be fantastic! (Dare we hope for a new edition of The Decisive Moment, which in 58 years has never been reissued?)
(Thanks to Yemado)
Featured Comment by Jim Metzger: "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!"
Featured Comment by Bill Mitchell: "He de greatest! Without question more 'great' images than any other photographer (I would guess Eisenstadt is a distant second). Let us hope that time does not diminish appreciation of his achievement."
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "Indeed, this 'Hank' show is coming here to the Art Institute of Chicago in July. I know the curators here are excited. I'll probably be visiting it at MoMA in advance of its arrival here.
"—Caution: Heresy Follows. Turn Your Children Away!—But while I am eager to see the show, and Peter Galassi's catalog, I can't help feeling like this is well over-trodden ground. Cartier-Bresson's work is delightful and always enjoyable to view. But it's been published and ruminated over so many times. Plus, as it's all rather contrasty small-scale black-and-white work it's been quite well represented in dozens of finely printed books over the past 5+ decades. What undiscovered revelations could possibly remain about this man's photography?
"Doesn't popular photo worship seems just a bit stuck in Rutsville, rather like the film 'Groundhog Day'?
"Museum curators either seem to reach way back for the crowd-pleasing (and attendance-encouraging) classics like this or way out to look-at-me dreck that's at the fringes of the definition of photography (like much of MoMA's recent 'New Photography' exhibition). There's a lot of other wonderful work, past and present, out there. (Tease: With a little luck and a little more funding I hope to be able to reveal a show of just such work at the Art Institute of Chicago in the coming months.)
"Okay, I'm ready to be led to the stake for my barbequeing now. You can let the kids back at the computer."
Mike replies: I can sympathize with this view, Ken—in fact I've been mulling over writing an essay about the ways in which culture is stuck, despite our self-concept of ourselves as a society accelerating at breakneck speed into the future. In many ways I would rather see a Vivian Maier show, although maybe someday I will.
Still, art is new to people who haven't experienced it before, and it has been thirty years since he had a major retrospective here. And it's always good to see original prints. And museums still have Rembrandt and Van Gogh shows, don't they? And Turner and Miro and Franz Kline? Seeing original Rothkos is a religious experience, never mind that it's no longer anything new. I intend to enjoy the H.C.-B. show for what it is. Maybe I'll meet up with you at the Art Institute—look for a guy with a beard wearing a carnation in the lapel of his trenchcoat.
P.S. I just saw "Groundhog Day" for the first time in 2009, and loved it. Old hat to you, no doubt.