It gives me joy and pleasure to introduce Idea Photographic: After Modernism, an exhibition and catalog that do justice to the extraordinary history of photography over the last century. Few arts can boast such a remarkable life of creativity and experimentation in such a short span of time as photography.
Idea Photographic draws upon the work of more than 126 artists, ranging from well-recognized masters in the field to emerging young talents, spreading across the cultural landscape from the United States to Peru to Uzbekistan to Korea. We take pride in presenting the breadth of the photography collection of the Museum of Fine Arts of the Museum of New Mexico for the first time. Additionally, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Princeton University Art Museum, both noted for their outstanding photography collections, have generously loaned works for this exhibition, through the funding of the Museum Loan Network.
Too often the process of developing an exhibition remains hidden behind the scenes. But the creation of this exhibit is too fascinating to go unreported. Curator of Photography Steve Yates collaborated with Professor Siegfried Halus, Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the Santa Fe Community College, to teach two seminars in the history of modern photography. Classes were conducted second semester at the Museum of Fine Arts. Here, the students had the opportunity to work directly with the actual photographs in the collections area and to learn from some of the leading artists and scholars in the field. The products of these studentsí research has resulted in a complete section in this catalog on the biographies of all of the artists.
Exhibitions often take many years from the birth of the idea to its fruition; Steve developed the concept for this exhibition ten years ago. In 2000, he and Siegfried joined together their considerable experiences to develop the concept into a major photograph exhibition and catalog. Exhibitions also depend on the extent and the breadth of the permanent collection. Steve Yates, with the generous help of many donors, has guided the growth of the photography collection, which numbered 300 in 1980 to the 7,500 works that reside in the Museum of Fine Arts today.
Marsha Bol, Ph.D.