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

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 retrospective of photographers Harry Shunk and János Kender, who created an invaluable record of the avant-garde art world and its most famous figures – 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 selected from among 10,000 donated by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in 2014, now held in the Bibliotèque Kandinsky in Paris. The photographs, grouped into sections entitled Intimities, The Body in Action and New Spaces, plunge viewers into the art scene of the late 1950s to the early 1970s, a period in which artists were particularly 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 observers but also artists and authors of their time. Their images have a dual nature in that they provide an important documentation while being photographic artworks 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


Harry Alexandre Schunke, (later Harry Shunk), met Hungarian János Kender in Paris. They would become life and work partners. In 1957, they met the gallerist Iris Clert, a 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 amongst 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 documented 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)


Texts by AA.VV.
2019 Centre Pompidou, Paris
English edition
Ed. Xavier Barral
484 pp.

ISBN 978-2-365-112-369

Shunk-Kender: L’art sous l’objectif (1957–1983) (FR)


Texts by AA.VV.
2019 Centre Pompidou, Paris
French edition
Ed. Xavier Barral
484 pp.

ISBN 978-2 36511-214-7