International Center of Photography Announces Sudden Impact. Photography on the Printed Page

The International Center of Photography will present Sudden Impact: Photography on the Printed Page November 10–13, 2011 at the Nave of the Grand Palais.

ICP joins the Tate Modern and the Musée de l’Elysée in the Recent Acquisitions exhibition, which explores a variety of museum acquisition strategies.

Sudden Impact: Photography on the Printed Page includes more than 40 works: issues of magazines such as Vu, Regards, Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung, and Picture Post; vintage prints by photographers such as Robert Capa and Weegee; and posters by Gustav Klutsis.

“The first half of the 20th Century was one of the notable periods of innovation in photography and yet it is remarkable that during those years it was rare for photographic prints to be seen on the walls of museums or galleries,” said ICP Chief Curator Brian Wallis. “Photographic images came to the attention of the public on the printed page, via large-format magazines and strikingly designed posters, and we are delighted to share a sampling of these images in this exhibition.”

The magazines provide a showcase for classic photographs by celebrated image-makers and can now be seen to mark a crucial stage in the development of today’s multimedia environment. The photographically illustrated magazine signals a historic shift from the domination of the word to the image on the printed page.

As one of the most visible features of the time period’s particular modernity, photographically illustrated magazines reflected a “machine age” dazzled by skyscrapers, automobiles, airplanes, streetcars, cinema, and the telephone. The images found in their pages provided readers with an introduction to the rhythms and attitudes of the fast-paced world of big cities and their crowd-filled urban spaces.

The publications ICP has acquired, including those displayed in this exhibition, are now attracting a steadily growing interest, after having long been regarded as ephemeral bits of paper, hardly worth the effort to preserve. ICP has, in recent years, systematically expanded its holdings of such materials to include more than 2,000 magazines, newspapers, and posters from the early 20th Century.

Image: Weltrundschau, Cover of Vu, May 28, 1930, “After the dual”. Collection International Center of Photography

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