MOA becomes first venue outside D.C. to host the Pulitzer Prize Photographs exhibit

A photo taken in 1949 entitled ‘Babe Bows Out’. The BYU Museum of Art is hosting the Pulitzer Prize Photographs exhibit featuring over 1,000 iconic photos. (Nathaniel Fein/Nat Fein Estate)

The Museum of Art’s newest exhibit, Pulitzer Prize Photographs, showcases over 1,000 iconic pictures from every Pulitzer Prize Photograph winner since 1942. The exhibit is from the Newseum in Washington D.C., and the MOA is the first venue to host the exhibit outside of D.C.

Kenneth Hartvigsen, the MOA American Art curator, said the exhibit is unlike any other.

“It’s not a traditional art show, but it’s a dramatic and powerful experience,” he said. Hartvigsen said the photographs expose difficult truths, but also remind people of the good in humanity.

The exhibit features 80 large photographs, several interactive kiosks and more than 15 hours of video interviews with some of the winning photographers.

“The goal of the exhibit is to encourage people to take a more active role in the community and to make a difference,” Hartvigsen said.

BYU student Ryan Trapp said the exhibit is something everyone should see.

“It reminds us that these are things that actually happened — but should never happen again,” Trapp said.

The iconic photograph from 1945 shows five American soldiers raising a flag over the island Iwo Jima. This photo is one of 80 large pictures visitors can see at BYU’s Museum of Art Pulitzer Prize Photographs exhibit. (Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press)

Provo resident Mina Kubricky said the pictures evoked powerful emotions as she learned the context behind each photograph.

“I kind of want to cry,” she said. “There are a lot of horrors but also beautiful acts.”

Although for most students the pictures represent historical events, for Jessica Salter these pictures remind her of memories.

“These pictures are familiar to me,” she said. Salter remembers living through several of the tragic events that are pictured in the exhibit. Salter visited the MOA exhibit with her children and said that some of the pictures are “PG-13.”

A picture taken on October 18, 2012 shows two Syrian rebels taking sniper positions at the heavily contested neighborhood of Karmal Jabl in central Aleppo. (Javier Manzano/AFP Photo)

Hartvigsen cautions parents to look at the exhibit first and then decide if they want to bring their children. Although some of the images are graphic, the curator believes the exhibit is an important teaching opportunity for everyone.

“It shows what it means to live in an imperfect world,” Hartvigsen said.

The Museum of Art is free to all visitors. The Pulitzer Prize Photographs is open now until March 3, 2019. For more information visit

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