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. *
MARTIN MUNKÁCSI: THINK WHILE YOU SHOOT!
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