Press Release


December 1, 2005 - January 7, 2006

Opening reception: Thursday, December 1, 2005, 6-8pm

The Magnum Archive: Vintage 20th Century will present more than 100 vintage prints by over 40 of the world’s greatest photographers drawn from the incomparable Archive of Magnum Photos, New York. The show will feature some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century, as well as newly discovered masterpieces.

The Archive of Magnum Photos, New York is the greatest collection in the world of artistic photographs documenting the tumultuous second half of the 20th Century.

For the first time, the entire Archive of over 180,000 black and white prints has been searched to produce an exhibition that charts the unparalleled contribution of the world’s leading photographic agency.

Magnum is a collective of independent photographers seeking to share with the world their individual visions of the world. Founded in 1947 over lunch in New York by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour and George Rodger, Magnum remains to this day the world’s premier photo agency. For almost 60 years it has gathered under one roof many of the world’s most brilliant photojournalists and creative photographers, men and women dedicated to the necessity of visual witness.

Magnum’s pictures embody a tradition of creative tensions that trace back to Cartier-Bresson’s surrealist socialism and Capa’s narratives of frozen moments.  Magnum photographs are animated by the drive to reconcile art and journalism, poetry and prose, individual and communal visions. Magnum photographers balance, on one hand, their commitment to changing the world with, on the other hand, more neutral acts of recording unending horrors and joys.

Now that digital photography has replaced film and paper, a collection like the Magnum Archive will never again be assembled. The Magnum Archive: Vintage 20th Century will exhibit some of the most important black and white photographic prints that will ever be made.