Princeton University Art Museum Presents Itinerant Languages of Photography


Exhibition explores photographs as constantly shifting records of culture, history, and meaning and introduces alternative histories of photography

PRINCETON, NJ – From its inception, photography has been about the circulation and exchange of images. Because of this incessant movement, the meaning and cultural relevance of a photographic image changes constantly. Through approximately 85 photographs from public and private collections in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, The Itinerant Languages of Photography explores the movement of photographs across time and space, and different media, offering a more diverse transnational history of photography.

On view at the Princeton University Art Museum from Sept. 7, 2013 through Jan. 19, 2014, The Itinerant Languages of Photography traces historical modes of photographic itinerancy from its origins in the 19th century as a shifting archival record to its conceptualist manifestations in the present–featuring artists such as Marc Ferrez, Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo,  Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joan Colom, Graciela Iturbide,  Susan Meiselas, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Joan Fontcuberta, and Rosângela Rennó.

“In this era of perpetual digital photographic production, dissemination and consumption, it is critical to step back and examine the nature and history of image making,” said Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward. “This exhibition asks us to consider the photograph as a globally transmitted, continually translated and annotated document—reinterpreted and re-animated through the lens of our shared histories, memories, and experiences.”

Rosângela Renno, A Última Foto (The Last Photo), 2006: Eduardo Brandão, Holga 120. Diptych: color photograph and photographic camera (Holga 120S) 78 x 78 x 9.5cm (photo); 14.8 x. 21.9 x 10cm (camera). Coleção Jorge Mora, New York. © 2006, Rosângela RennoThe exhibition takes its point of departure from the idea that photography, as a set of practices and a technological artifact, resists being fixed in place—that the photograph comes into being only after it has been reproduced and displaced. Tracing historical forms of traffic and displacement in photography from its origins in the 19th century to the present, the exhibition is divided into four sections: the Brazilian Empire of Don Pedro II; the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath; street photography from Spain and Latin America; and more experimental interventions involving historical and contemporary photographic technologies. Each section considers an aspect of photographic movement through particular profiled collections and seeks to speak to the others across time and cultures.

Co-curated by Princeton University professors Eduardo Cadava (Department of English, Program in Media and Modernity, Program in Latin American Studies) and Gabriela Nouzeilles (Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, Program in Latin American Studies), the exhibition is the culmination of a three-year interdisciplinary project sponsored by the Princeton Council for International Teaching and Research and a collaboration between the Princeton University Art Museum, the Fundación Foto Colectania in Barcelona, the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil, the Instituto Moreira Salles in Rio de Janeiro, and the Fototeca Nacional del INAH in Mexico City.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with essays by the co-curators, as well as contributions by artist, essayist and curator Joan Fontcuberta; Valeria González, an independent scholar and curator based in Argentina; Thomas Keenan, associate professor of comparative literature and director of the Human Rights Program at Bard College; Mauricio Lissovsky, associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; and John Mraz, research professor at the University of Puebla in Mexico.

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About the Princeton University Art Museum

Founded in 1882, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country. From the founding gift of a collection of porcelain and pottery, the collections have grown to more than 72,000 works of art that range from ancient to contemporary art and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, China, the United States and Latin America.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. The Museum is intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, offering a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

Please direct image requests to Erin Firestone, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Princeton University Art Museum, at (609) 258-3767 or