snap+share: art of sharing pictures at SFMOMA
snap+share: art of sharing pictures at SFMOMA

“snap+share”: exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) explores the transmission of photographs from mail art to social media. March 30 through August 4, 2019.

Source: SFMOMA

On June 11, 1997, French software engineer Philippe Kahn sent a grainy color photograph of his infant daughter Sophie, moments after she was born, to his family and friends using a cobbled-together contraption made up of his mobile phone, a digital camera and a linked online network. This transmission marked a decisive moment in the history of sharing photos — an essential component of photography since its inception. Technology has escalated — and accelerated — the creation, distribution and consumption of photographic imagery, and as a result, millions of images are now sent across the Internet each day.

”snap+share: transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks” explores the outward gesture of sharing pictures, instead of the more traditional, inward act of taking photographs, throughout the history of the medium. The show examines our current social media environment as the latest iteration in a long lineage of using networks — first with postal systems and now the Internet — as a vehicle for art making, as well as affirming one’s place in the world. SFMOMA will be the first institution to look at this phenomenon in an historical context.

With origins in the mail art movement of the 1960s and ’70s, the exhibition features early work by Ray Johnson, often referred to as the father of mail art in the United States. Mail art involves sending a postcard, image or photographic equipment through the postal service often with text or instructions. In the process of distributing and even creating artwork through the mail system, artists also create networks of participants. Postcards by Joseph Beuys, Walker Evans and On Kawara are shown in two galleries dedicated to the movement alongside recent examples by artists such as Thomas Bachler and Moyra Davey.

Philippe Kahn, Sophie Lee Kahn birth picture.