Speed thrills - Page 2

The surface seductions of Martin Munkácsi

These images work as reportage, of course, but crafted with Munkácsi's customary élan, they are nearly too revealing — and pleasing — for comfort.

Munkácsi's wanderlust, zest, and brilliant eye — his gift for homing in on kinetic narratives and telling details greatly influenced Henri Cartier-Bresson's crucial notion of the "decisive moment" in photography — led him to document the oddly parallel ascendancy of fascism and fashion as era-defining movements that shaped the intertwined fates of Europe and America and motivated his own travels to far-flung locales. Whether studying the drape of a Halston headdress on a beachcombing model, observing Fritz Lang at work in his Berlin apartment, or conveying the gory excitement of a bullfight simply by training his camera on the spectators' wildly expressive faces, Munkácsi applied his groundbreaking aesthetics to epochal scenes of 20th-century life. He shot while he thought, and beauty lies bleeding. *


Through Sept. 16

Mon.–Tues. and Fri.–Sun., 11 a.m.–5:45 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.–8:45 p.m.; $7–$12.50 (free first Tues.)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St., SF

(415) 357-4000


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