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Geraldo de Barros, among others

Geraldo de Barros, Autoportrait, São Paulo Ed. 8/15, 1949/2014. Silver Gelatin Print, 12 x 15 3/4 in.

Fotoclubismo. Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964

Through Sep 26


MoMA, Floor 5, 516

Fotoclubismo explores the unforgettable creative achievements of São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB), a group of amateur photographers whose ambitious and innovative works embodied the abundant originality of postwar Brazilian culture. Although their work was heralded around the world in the 1950s, it subsequently faded from view. This is the first museum exhibition to present this fascinating moment in photography’s history to audiences outside of Brazil.

Photography was a hobby for most FCCB members: on weekdays, group members—many of whom were women—went to their jobs as businessmen, accountants, journalists, engineers, biologists, and bankers. On weekends, they often traveled to photograph together. They were nonetheless quite serious about their artistic ambition, not unlike millions of people on Instagram today. Their pictures assumed many forms—from inventive experiments to distillations from everyday life—and their attentiveness to abstraction evolved in dialogue with leading critical thinkers and peers in design, painting, and film.

More than 60 photographs, drawn almost exclusively from MoMA’s collection, demonstrate the group’s extraordinary range. Their absence from international histories of the medium provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on the biases that led to these exclusions, and invite us to reflect on the status of the amateur today.

Organized by Sarah Hermanson Meister, Curator, with Dana Ostrander, Curatorial Assistant, Robert B. Menschel Department of Photography.


Major funding for the exhibition is provided by Monique M. Schoen Warshaw in honor of Sarah Hermanson Meister.

Generous support is provided by David Dechman and Michel Mercure and by the Consulate General of Brazil in New York.

Additional funding is provided by Rose and Alfredo Setubal.