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"Made for Magazines: Iconic 20th-Century Photographs" opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Anton Bruehl, Untitled, 1930s–1940s, color carbro print, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Anton and Karen Bruehl. © Estate of Anton Bruehl.

HOUSTON, TX.- Made for Magazines: Iconic 20th-Century Photographs celebrates the heyday of magazines through some 80 impactful photographs— including the immortal photograph from the set of “The Seven Year Itch,” Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder by George Zimbel (1954); Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent by Richard Avedon (1981); and the sailor kissing the nurse in VJ Day in Times Square, New York (1945) by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Photographs have come a long way since the first halftone—a picture of Steinway Hall in Manhattan—was published in the New York Daily Graphic in 1873. Picture magazines reached an all-time high between 1920 and the 1980s and quickly grew in number and specialty. Made for Magazines presents the significant types of magazine photographs—news and human interest, celebrity, sports, fashion, architecture and advertising—while investigating the transition from print publications to the fluid network of online content. Though print media has been on the decline since the rise of the internet, the impact of these celebrated images made for magazines still resonates to this day.

The photography collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is exceptionally strong in images made for the printed page, and Made for Magazines is drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition explores this richly historic century through works by such renowned photographers as Edward Steichen, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Gordon Parks and Annie Leibovitz, which were originally published by magazines such as Life, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Texas Monthly. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, first published in newspapers and later in magazines, are also among the works on view.

Made for Magazines is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The curator is Anne Wilkes Tucker, the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography.

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