The Collectible Moment: Photographs in the Norton Simon Museum

During the 1960s and early 1970s the Norton Simon Museum, known then as the Pasadena Art Museum (PAM), earned an international reputation for organizing and presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions featuring the work of established and emerging artists. In 1969, PAM distinguished itself again by establishing a photography department that advocated the collecting and exhibiting of contemporary work rather than an exclusively historical or encyclopedic collection. In so doing, PAM stood in the vanguard of a small but determined movement to validate photography as a major art form, a medium engaged with issues that were central to contemporary art.

The Norton Simon Museum presents The Collectible Moment, a first-ever survey of the Museum's photography collection. Approximately 160 works by 100 historical and modern photographers will be on view with special emphasis on the contemporary artists involved with the development of the Museum’s photography program in the early 1970s. The installation includes three complete photography portfolios and a selection of ephemera from the Museum's archives (letters, brochures, informal photographs) intended to introduce audiences to the photography exhibitions organized by PAM. Featured artists include Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Betty Hahn, Robert Heinecken, Anthony Hernandez, Kenneth Josephson, Leland Rice, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, Edmond Teske, Edward Weston and Minor White. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue of the collection and a series of public programs.