A talk with Sarah Meister (Photography Curator, MoMA) about Dorothea Lange and her work: Lange once remarked: "All photographs - not only those that are so-called 'documentary' - can be fortified by words," a statement through which we can investigate her lifelong commitment to image making. This talk will consider the ways in which Lange's most iconic photograph, commonly known as 'Migrant Mother', has been fortified - and undermined - by words.
Sarah Meister is a Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Museum published her books Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother and Frances Benjamin Johnston: The Hampton Album earlier this year. Other recent projects include the exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction (2017), Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967 (2017), One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers (2016), From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola (2015; co-curator), and the three volume series Photography at MoMA (2015-17; co-editor). She is currently organizing a Dorothea Lange exhibition that examines the relationship between words and pictures (2020) as well as a major exhibition of Brazilian modernist photography (2021). She is the lead instructor for the online course Seeing Through Photographs (Coursera), and co-director of the August Sander Project, a five year research initiative.