You're probably aware that there's a major retrospective exhibition of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, until June 28th. A few ancillaries:
• There's a fine show review by the admirable Peter Schjeldahl of The New Yorker called "Picture Perfect" that you can read online. Crisp, short, rich as chocolate, and one of the few appraisals I've read in recent years that isn't hagiographic. Critic Schjeldahl takes a rather dim view of the master. Although that is in a sense a very traditional take—the old-fashioned stance of art critics was to be patronizing of photography whatever else they did—he makes some astute points and digs up a couple of wonderful quotes. The essay is one of those rare ones that's both an opposing view and, in its own way, right. Recommended read.
• The new show catalog by MoMA curator Peter Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, is now available. (Here's the U.K. link—different cover in the U.K.) If you are to have only one H.C.-B. book, or if you are new to him, I still recommend the big monograph Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, which we are very lucky to still have in print. If that's too steep for you, I very much enjoyed Clement Cheroux's chock-a-block little pocket-sized introduction, ten bucks and cheap at twice the price. Good stuff.
• Finally, although it brings up less than pleasant memories of his rather daffy interview of Henri himself (which I reviewed here), Charlie Rose has interviewed Martine Franck, Henri's widow and the co-founder of his Foundation, which provided most of the prints for the MoMA show. The interviewed aired last night, as far as I can tell. I can't make the Charlie Rose website work—none of the links function for me—but maybe you'll have better luck.
(Thanks to numerous readers)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.