Art Through the Eye of the Camera (1957-1983)



Shunk-Kender, John Baldessari, Pier 18, New York, 1971, donazione della Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in memoria di Harry Shunk e János Kender Foto: Shunk-Kender © J. Paul Getty Trust. Tutti i diritti riservati

Curated by Julie Jones, Chloé Goualc’h, Stéphanie Rivoire

An exhibition conceived and realised by Centre Pompidou, Paris, in collaboration with Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana

The recently renovated spaces of Palazzo Reali are the setting for the exhibition of the work of photographers Harry Shunk and János Kender, who created an invaluable record of the world of avant-garde art and its most famous representatives – Andy Warhol, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Yves Klein, Daniel Spoerri, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely – in Paris and New York. The exhibition features 450 original photographs and documents that have been selected from among the 10,000 donated by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in 2014, now held in the Bibliotèque Kandinsky in Paris. The photos shown are grouped in sections titled “Intimities”, “The Body in Action” and “New Spaces” and plunge viewers into the art scene between the late 1950s and early ’70s, a period in which artists were especially interested in experimentalism and sexual and artistic freedom, while also on the constant look-out for alternative spaces in which to create and show their work. Shunk and Kender were onlookers but also artists and authors of their time: images have a dual nature in that they offer important documentation while also being photographic works in themselves.

  • MASI Palazzo Reali

  • via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano
  • Press conference
    Friday February 28th,
    10 am

    Saturday February 29th,
    from 6 to 9 pm

  • Full price: 8.- CHF/Reduced price: 6.- CHF


It was in Paris that Harry Alexandre Schunke, later altered to Harry Shunk, met the Hungarian János Kender, who would become his life and work partner. In 1957 they met the gallerist Iris Clert, who was a point of reference for the Nouveaux Réalistes, and they began to follow the exhibitions and performances of the group (Klein, Arman, Spoerri, Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, Villeglé, Hains among the others). At the end of the 1960s, the duo moved to New York where they entered the highly experimental art scene that featured Warhol, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Baldessarri, Kusama and many others; there Shunk-Kender used their photos to document not just the artists’ works and performances but also moments from their private lives. Their partnership came to an end in 1973 when Kender turned away from photography. Shunk, however, continued to work independently until the end of his life.


Shunk-Kender: Art Through the Eye of the Camera (1957-1983) (EN)