The Grain of the Present: Educational Materials


Pier 24 Photography offers various ways of learning about and experiencing the works on view in our exhibitions, both in person and online. The supporting content included here is intended to provide our visitors and extended community with an opportunity to learn more about the artists on view and ideas and themes through artist videos, lectures, and suggested publications for additional reading and looking.

Please note: All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Images and text owned by other copyright holders are used here under the guidelines of the Fair Use provisions of United States Copyright Law. The text, images, and videos used here are for educational use only.

The links below lead to content that thematically relates to The Grain of the Present.

New Documents: Fifty Years Later (2017)
In 1967, The Museum of Modern Art presented New Documents, a landmark exhibition organized by John Szarkowski that featured Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand, singularly important artists of the 20th century who were largely unknown at the time. Taking place on the 50th anniversary (to the day) of the exhibition's opening reception, New Documents: Fifty Years Later brings together three key figures who visited the landmark photography exhibition in 1967—Max Kozloff, Tod Papageorge, and Martha Rosler—and whose critical reflections have shaped our understanding of its legacy.

Exhibition walk-through of New Topographics at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2009)
Photographers Frank Gohlke, John Schott, and Henry Wessel walk through the 2009 restaging of New Topographics at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

"The Unreasonable Apple" by Paul Graham
Originally given as a presentation at the Museum of Modern Art's Photography Forum in February 2010, photographer Paul Graham discusses the profound power of using the world around us as subject matter in photographs.

Ephemera from New Documents
The original press release, wall label, and checklist for New Documents at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.


Exhibited Artists

  • Robert Adams

    Robert Adams

    (American, 1937–)

    "I began making pictures because I wanted to record what supports hope: the untranslatable mystery and beauty of the world. Along the way the camera also caught evidence against, and I eventually concluded that this too belonged in pictures if they were to be truthful and useful." – Robert Adams


    • Website for Adams' Retrospective The Place We Live
      The Place We Live—a retrospective of Adams' work from the past 40 years—was extensively traveled between 2010 and 2014. Organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, the retrospective was on view at the following institutions: Denver Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; Jeu de Paume, Paris; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; and Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat Bottrop, Germany.

    • Audio: Robert Adams in conversation with Tyler Green
      Episode No. 41 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Robert Adams in conversation with Tyler Green. They discuss Adams' retrospective exhibition, The Place We Live.

    • "Robert Adams: the photographer who roved the prairies for 45 years"
      Sean O'Hagan writes about Adams' retrospective in The Guardian.

  • Diane Arbus

    Diane Arbus

    (American 1923–1971)

    “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” – Diane Arbus


    • Video: Masters of Photography-Diane Arbus (1972)
      An episode of the television program Masters of Photography discussing Arbus. In the episode, Arbus' good friend Mary Clare Costello reads the artist's own words alongside images. The episode also features the artist's daughter Doon Arbus and curator John Szarkowski.

    • "Unmasked"
      Hilton Als writes about Arbus in The New Yorker.

    • "Where Diane Arbus Went"
      Photographer and critic Leo Rubinfien writes about Arbus in Art in America.

  • Lewis Baltz

    Lewis Baltz

    (American, 1945–2014)

    "I wanted to be able to make a body of work.  In fact, that body of work would be the unit, not individual images.  I was looking around, testing things, trying to find if there was a subject that could sustain that kind of engagement, a subject that was interesting enough in itself and interesting enough to me." – Lewis Baltz


  • Bernd & Hilla Becher

    Bernd & Hilla Becher

    (German, 1931–2007; German 1934–2015)

    “We want to offer the audience a point of view, or rather a grammar, to understand and compare the different structures...through photography, we try to arrange these shapes and render them comparable. To do so, the objects must be isolated from their context and freed from all association.” – Bernd & Hilla Becher


    • Video: Hilla Becher from SFMOMA
      A video produced by SFMOMA in which Hilla Becher discusses the photographic practice she shared with her late husband.

    • Video: Hilla Becher from Paris Photo
      A video produced by Paris Photo in which Hilla Becher discusses the process of making photobooks.

    • "The long look"
      An essay written by Michael Collins on the Bechers when they were awarded the Erasmus Prize for European culture in 2002.

  • Eamonn Doyle

    Eamonn Doyle

    (Irish, 1969–)

    "Regardless of what you encounter on the street, what you choose to zone in on or react to, it will always be personal and reflect whatever’s going on inside, consciously or subconsciously. They are all shot at close range, but respectfully, perhaps even reverently. The pictures show only fragments of possible narratives, but for me, every life has weight and drama, even if its meaning is ultimately elusive." – Eamonn Doyle


  • LaToya Ruby Frazier

    LaToya Ruby Frazier

    (American, 1982–)

    "I think it's my job and my duty to be a witness to what's happening." – LaToya Ruby Frazier


  • Lee Friedlander

    Lee Friedlander

    (American, 1934–)

    “It fascinates me that there is a variety of feeling about what I do. I’m not a premeditative photographer. I see a picture and I make it. If I had a chance, I’d be out shooting all the time. You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.” – Lee Friedlander


  • Nicholas Nixon

    Nicholas Nixon

    (American, 1947–)

    "The best photographs are transparent, sensual, intelligent, fulfilled, freshly arrived, enduring and, in the deepest sense, are of the world." – Nicholas Nixon


  • Ed Panar

    Ed Panar

    (American, 1976–)

    "I’m fascinated by the places we live and how complex and strange our relationship to our everyday environment actually is. And of course trying to figure out how to get at some of these things through photographs." – Ed Panar


  • Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore

    (American, 1947–)

    "Attention in general is just as important to me now as it's always been. Part of what I wanted to communicate in my work was what the world looks like in a state of heightened awareness and I think that's why I tended to be attracted to kind of ordinary things, because to pay attention to something that's everyday is different than noticing something that calls out to you." – Stephen Shore

  • Alec Soth

    Alec Soth

    (American, 1969–)

    "I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance." – Alec Soth


    • Alec Soth on Influence, Summer Nights, and Allen Ginsberg
      Soth spoke with Lesley A. Martin about influence, Robert Adams's 1985 monograph Summer Nights, and Allen Ginsberg. The video, Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree, is Soth’s response to Adams. Soth's piece was produced as part of Aperture Remix, an exhibition for which artists were commissioned to create new work in response to Aperture publications that were influential in their artistic development.

    • Dismantling My Career: A Conversation with Alec Soth
      An interview with Soth conducted on the occasion of his exhibition From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America at the Walker Arts Center in 2010.

  • Awoiska van der Molen

    Awoiska van der Molen

    (Dutch, 1972–)

    "I don’t take many pictures. It’s not so much what I see, but what I experience—so I need an intuitive connection. This doesn’t happen often. If the feeling is not happening too strongly, then it will not be." – Awoiska van der Molen


  • Henry Wessel

    Henry Wessel

    (American, 1942–)

    "Most musicians I know don't just play music on Saturday night. They play music every day. They are always fiddling around, letting the notes lead them from one place to another. Taking still photographs is like that. It is a generative process. It pulls you along." – Henry Wessel


  • Garry Winogrand

    Garry Winogrand

    (American, 1928–1984)

    “Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand


  • Vanessa Winship

    Vanessa Winship

    (British, 1960–)
    "I find it necessary to go to a place, almost as if the ground’s going to tell me something. And, of course, it does. But whether I create an image in that place doesn’t matter. They are things that resonate; they are still necessary pilgrimages.” - Vanessa Winship



Book Flip-Throughs

The videos below flip-through the publications for a number of the bodies of work on view in our current exhibition.

Robert Adams Prairie (Fraenkel Gallery and Yale University Press, 2011)

Lewis Baltz Candlestick Point (Gallery Min and Aperture, 1989)

Eamonn Doyle i (D1, 2014)

Lee Friedlander The Little Screens (Fraenkel Gallery, 2001)

Stephen Shore Uncommon Places: Photographs by Stephen Shore (Aperture, 1982)

Alec Soth Niagara (Steidl, 2006)

Garry Winogrand Women Are Beautiful (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975)

Vanessa Winship she dances on Jackson (Mack, 2013)

Nicholas Nixon The Brown Sisters (MoMA, 2014)



Adams, Robert. Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews. New York: Aperture, 1994. Print.
ISBN: 978-0893815974

Baltz, Lewis. Lewis Baltz: Texts. Göttingen: Steidl, 2012. Print.
ISBN: 978-3869304366

Dexter, Emma and Thomas Weski. Cruel and Tender: The Real in the 20th Century Photograph. London: Tate Modern, 2003. Print
ISBN: 978-1854374547

Hermanson Meister, Sarah. Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2017. Print.
ISBN: 978-0870709555

Jenkins, William. New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape. Rochester, NY: International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. 1975. Print.

Papageorge, Tod. Core Curriculum: Writings on Photography. New York: Aperture, 2011. Print.
ISBN: 978-1597111720

Salvesen, Britt and Alison Nordström. New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape. Tucson, AZ: Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; Rochester, NY: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Göttingen: Steidl, 2013. Print.
ISBN: 978-3865218278

Shore, Stephen. The Nature of Photographs: A Primer. London/New York: Phaidon Press, 2012. Print.
ISBN: 978-0714859040



Adams, Robert. Prairie. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. Print.
ISBN: 978-0300180534

Adams, Robert. The Place We Live. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; Göttingen: Steidl, 2013. Print.
ISBN: 978-3869305332



Arbus, Diane. Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph. New York: Aperture, 2012. Print.
ISBN: 978-1597111751

Arbus, Diane. Diane Arbus: Revelations. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.
ISBN: 978-0375506208



Baltz, Lewis. Candlestick Point. Göttingen: Steidl, 2011. Print.
ISBN: 978-3869301099

Baltz, Lewis & Gus Blaisdell. Candlestick Point. Tokyo: Gallery Min; New York: Aperture, 1989. Print.
ISBN: 4-906265-50-2



Becher, Bernd & Hilla. Industrial Landscapes. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002. Print.

ISBN: 978-0262025072

Becher, Bernd & Hilla. Typologies of Industrial Buildings. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2004. Print.
ISBN: 978-0262025652



Benson, Richard, Lee Friedlander and Peter Galassi. Friedlander. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2005. Print.
ISBN: 978-0870703447

Friedlander, Lee. The Little Screens. San Francisco: Fraenkel Gallery, 2001. Print.
ISBN: 978-1881337119



Donohoe, David, Eamonn Doyle, and Niall Sweeney. End. Dublin: D1, 2016. Print.
ISBN: 978-0992848729

Doyle, Eamonn. On. Dublin: D1, 2015. Print.
ISBN: 978-0992848712

Doyle, Eamonn. i. Dublin: D1, 2014. Print.



Frazier, LaToya Ruby. The Notion of Family. New York: Aperture, 2014. Print.
ISBN: 978-1597112482



Nixon, Nicholas. The Brown Sisters. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1999. Print.
ISBN: 978-0870700422

Nixon, Nicholas. The Brown Sisters: Thirty-three Years. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008. Print.
ISBN: 978-0870707193

Nixon, Nicholas. The Brown Sisters: Forty Years. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. Print.
ISBN: 978-0870709531



Panar, Ed. Animals that Saw Me: Volume One. Los Angeles: Ice Plant, 2011. Print.
ISBN: 978-0982365342

Panar, Ed. Animals that Saw Me: Volume Two. Los Angeles: Ice Plant, 2016. Print.

Panar, Ed. Golden Palms. Atlanta, GA: J&L Books, 2007. Print.
ISBN: 978-0974690865



Shore, Stephen. Stephen Shore: A Road Trip Journal. London/New York: Phaidon Press, 2008. Print.
ISBN: 978-0714848013

Shore, Stephen. Stephen Shore: American Surfaces. London/New York: Phaidon Press, 2008. Print.
ISBN: 978-0714848631

Shore, Stephen. Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places: The Complete Works. New York: Aperture, 2005. Print.
ISBN: 978-1931788342


Soth, Alec. From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America. Minneapolis, The Walker Art Center, 2010. Print.
ISBN: 978-3775727501

Soth, Alec. Niagara. Göttingen: Steidl, 2006. Print.
ISBN: 978-3865212337

Soth, Alec. Sleeping by the Mississippi. Göttingen: Steidl; London: Thames & Hudson, 2008. Print.
ISBN: 978-3865217530

Soth, Alec. Songbook. London: MACK, 2015. Print.
ISBN: 978-1910164020



van der Molen, Awoiska. Blanco. Amsterdam: Fw:Books, 2017. Print.
ISBN: 978-9490119485

van der Molen, Awoiska. Sequester. Amsterdam: Fw:Books, 2014. Print.
ISBN: 978-9490119294



Wessel, Henry. Henry Wessel. Göttingen: Steidl, 2007. Print.
ISBN: 978-3865213914

Wessel, Henry. Henry Wessel: Five Books: California and the West, Odd Photos, Las Vegas, Real Estate Photographs, Night Walk. Göttingen: Steidl, 2005. Print.
ISBN: 978-3865211330



Rubinfien, Leo. Garry Winogrand. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013. Print.
ISBN: 978-0300191776

Winogrand, Garry. Women Are Beautiful. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975. Print.
ISBN: 978-0374292775



Winship, Vanessa. she dances on Jackson. London: Mack, 2013. Print.
ISBN: 9781907946363