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Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894–1978). Kenneth Spencer, 1933. Gelatin silver print, 20 1/16 × 15 1/16 × 1 1/2 in. (51 × 38.3 × 3.8 cm) framed. Brooklyn Museum; Gift of Wallace B. Putnam from the Estate of Consuelo Kanaga, 82.65.368. © Brooklyn Museum. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

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Consuelo Kanaga: Catch the Spirit

Consuelo Kanaga: Catch the Spirit is a retrospective of a critical yet overlooked figure in the history of twentieth-century photography. While Kanaga is less known than some of her peers, her career intersects with key figures and moments in modern photography in North America, from the formal precision of Group f/64 to the documentary witnessing of the worker photography movement. Like other modernist photographers, Kanaga drew on the realization that truth is relative: a photograph is not solely an accurate depiction but also an expression of the photographer’s feelings for the subject. 

Drawing upon nearly 500 vintage prints and 2,500 negatives in the Brooklyn Museum’s collection, the exhibition charts the artist’s radical photographic vision across six decades. It begins with Kanaga’s pioneering photojournalism, capturing the urgent social issues of her time, and extends to her modernist still lifes and her celebrated portraits of Black Americans. 

Content: Approximately 200 objects

Size: Approximately 5,000 sq. ft.

Publication: Yes

Availability: Spring and summer 2025

Curators: Drew Sawyer, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art (formerly Phillip and Edith Leonian Curator of Photography, Brooklyn Museum), with Imani Williford, Curatorial Assistant, Photography, Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum

Tour schedule

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California
September 28, 2024–February 9, 2025

Fundación Mapfre, Madrid, Spain
May 29–September 1, 2024

Fundación Mapfre, Barcelona, Spain
February 14–May 12, 2024