The Shape of Things: Photographs from Robert B. Menschel

Author(s): Quentin Bajac

photographic collections

This survey explores sixty remarkable photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, all acquired with the support of Robert B. Menschel and meticulously selected for the book by the Museum's Chief Curator of Photography, Quentin Bajac. Ranging from the contemporary artist Andreas Gursky to William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the medium's founding figures, these works collectively tell the story of photography from its beginnings, but upend and newly illuminate that story through their arrangement in reverse chronological order. Each image is the subject of a brief, elegant text. The book borrows its title from a work by Carrie Mae Weems, one of the many great photographs that Menschel has contributed to the collection.


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Quentin Bajac is The Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Sarah Hermanson Meister is a Curator in the Department of Photography at MoMA, New York.

General Fields

  • : 9781633450226
  • : Museum of Modern Art
  • : Museum of Modern Art
  • : November 2016
  • : February 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Quentin Bajac
  • : Hardback
  • : 152