The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, October 30, 2014


SFMOMA Sole U.S. Venue for Major Richard Avedon Retrospective that Celebrates Portraiture
Richard Avedon, Charles Chaplin leaving America, New York, September 13, 1952; © 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- As a highlight of its summer exhibitions schedule, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946–2004, on view from July 11 through November 29, 2009.

Widely celebrated as one of America's preeminent photographers, Avedon was among the first to challenge the conventional boundaries between studio photography and reportage. Some of his best-known portraits—a young Bob Dylan standing in the rain, Marilyn Monroe caught in a vulnerable moment, Andy Warhol and his Factory cohorts—are the most iconic of the 20th century.

Whether photographing politicians, artists, models, or Hollywood stars, Avedon revolutionized the genre of portraiture. His daring style rejected conventional poses and instead captured both motion and emotion in the faces of his subjects, often encapsulating their intrigue in a single honest moment.

SFMOMA is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition, which is the first major retrospective of the Avedon's work since his death in 2004. A selection of nearly 200 photographs spanning the artist's entire career are presented roughly chronologically, highlighting major themes and benchmarks of Avedon's output: his early, post–World War II street scenes; his breakthrough Paris fashion work in the 1950s; his far-reaching survey of American counterculture in the 1960s and '70s; his Reagan-era series, which focused on ordinary people living in the western United States; and his portraits of the nation's most influential people.

"Avedon is one of our great photographers whose work only increases in influence and resonance," says Phillips. "SFMOMA is thrilled to present this important overview, which offers the first opportunity to examine the whole of Avedon's achievement and his integral place in the history of photography."

Avedon was committed to photography as a social transaction. His subjects—even those who were anonymous—face the camera in implicit awareness of their collaboration in the portrait-making process. Beginning with one of Avedon's early street photographs (taken in Rome in 1946) and ending with his portrait of pop musician Björk (made less than four months before the photographer's sudden death), Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946–2004 reveals the profoundly social dimension of all the artist's work, celebrating his never-ending fascination with people and his persistent desire to absorb and represent cultural change.

Richard Avedon was born in 1923 in New York City to Russian Jewish parents; he died in 2004 of a cerebral hemorrhage in San Antonio, Texas, where he was on assignment for The New Yorker. He first began taking pictures at the age of 19 in the U.S. Merchant Marine, where his role was to take identity photographs of servicemen with the Rolleiflex he had been given by his father when he left home. Upon his return to New York in 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but he was quickly discovered by the legendary Alexey Brodovitch, at that time artistic director of the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. Soon he was delivering photographs to Harper's regularly, as well as to Life, and Look. By 1946 he had established his own studio. For the next six decades, Avedon had an enormously successful career, making pictures both for magazines and artistic display, bridging journalism and the art world, insiders and outsiders.

Avedon was also one of the most innovative fashion photographers of our time. A great admirer of Martin Munkácsi—the Hungarian photographer who revolutionized the fashion world with dynamic images of models in motion—Avedon followed in his hero's footsteps by producing inventive scenes of urbane women in scenarios that were groundbreaking for the day. His famous Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955, for example, does more than capture the glamour of a renowned model in elegant couture. Depicting the subject amid hay and sawdust, and between two elephants, the picture itself becomes a fantasia of desire, pleasure, and display. Avedon's talent as a fashion photographer was so legendary that he became the inspiration for the film Funny Face (1957), with Fred Astaire playing the part of the young New York photographer.


In the 1960s and '70s, Avedon expanded his artistic reach with a series of studio portraits representing charismatic figures of the sexual and intellectual counterculture movements then under way. The Beatles, Twiggy, Allen Ginsberg, César Chávez, Andy Warhol, and Malcolm X all make an appearance. His portrait work during this time ultimately expanded to encompass a cross-section of individuals from an enormous range of social realities: artists (Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning); writers (Truman Capote, William Burroughs, Jean Genet); government and business officials (Ralph Nader, Henry Kissinger, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post); as well as various drifters, aristocrats, and radical political protestors.

Among his most powerful works from this period are the group portraits that assemble members of social microcosms, such as his portraits of The Family, as he called his encyclopedic survey of political figures from America's bicentennial year; civil rights activist Julian Bond and members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and Andy Warhol and members of The Factory, an unforgettable photograph that conveys a sense of improvised mischief (its subjects posing in various stages of undress) though it was actually a staged and highly controlled tableau.

Avedon had his first major museum exhibition in 1962 at the Smithsonian Institute, followed by other shows at important institutions throughout the country—exhibitions that typically centered on the fashion aspect of his work. As late as the mid-1970s, very few museums recognized contemporary photography as a "serious" artistic medium. But eventually photography began to gain foothold in major collections, exploding as a field of interest in the art world, and Avedon was there at just the right moment.

His hallmark series In the American West (1980–85)—a body of portraits devoted to unknown denizens of the rural West—was received quite differently from his earlier work for fashion magazines. Commissioned by The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, Avedon traveled through 13 states and 189 towns in the western United States from 1979 to 1984, taking nearly 17,000 photographs along the way. These images of farmhands, oil workers, petty criminals, waitresses—many dramatically oversized, and all depicting the subjects against a stark white background, with no shadows or reference to place—present ordinary human frailty rather than the stereotypes of rugged grandeur so often associated with the American West.

During the final two decades of Avedon's career, he continued to create some of the most well-known images of key cultural icons, including Nobel Prize recipient Kofi A. Annan, artist Roy Lichenstein, writer Salman Rushdie, peer photographer Lee Friedlander, and of course several important self-portraits.

Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946–2004 will also present a selection of vintage magazines in which Avedon published—Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker—that show how his eye functioned in a journalistic sense, and how the photographs appeared in their original context.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art | Richard Avedon | Charlie Chaplin | Marilyn Monroe | Björk | The New Yorker | Harper's Bazaar |




Today's News

July 11, 2009

The United Kingdom's Most Popular Landmark, Big Ben, Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary

SFMOMA Sole U.S. Venue for Major Richard Avedon Retrospective that Celebrates Portraiture

Metropolitan Museum Announces American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915

Exhibition of Hundreds of Objects Trace the History of Wine and its Consumption

Knoxville Museum of Art Acquires Important New Contemporary Works

Program Introduces New Art Works Installed at Unexpected Locations throughout Museum

Green Light for Museum of Contemporary Art Redevelopment Plans

Masterpieces from Dulwich Picture Gallery on View at Frick Art & Historical Center

A Different Approach to the World: The Humboldt-Forum in the Berlin Palace, A First Look at the Lab

C.M. Russell Museum Hires Darrell G. Beauchamp as Executive Director

The Blue House Goes Out of The Blue with International Symposium on Instant Urbanism

First U.S. Solo Museum Exhibition for British Painter Hurvin Anderson at Studio Museum in Harlem

The Sale of a Lifetime: Artist Jasper Joffe will be Selling Everything he Owns in a Sale with a Difference

Guggenheim Presents New Concert Series: It Came from Brooklyn

Robert Irwin Recreates Ethereal Scrim Piece First Shown at the Opening of the Walker Art Center

Photographs by Joyce Tenneson on View This Summer at the Portland Museum of Art

Previously Unknown Inca Road Discovered in Peru

Chicana Artist Explores Heritage through Retablo Paintings

INAH Exhibition at SRE Displays African Musical Instruments

Exhibition of Palm Island Youth Photography Opens at Gallery of Modern Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

Related Stories



SFMOMA announces 2012 SECA Art Award winners

First-ever retrospective of Richard Serra's drawings on view at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Lunch Break by Sharon Lockhart

SFMOMA Announces Exhibition on the Art and Influence of Gertrude Stein and Her Family

SFMOMA Appoints Robert W. Lasher as New Deputy Museum Director, External Relations

SFMOMA to Present Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and The Camera Since 1870

SFMOMA to Honor William T. Wiley with 11th Annual Bay Area Treasure Award

SFMOMA Announces New Body of Work by R.H. Quaytman

SFMOMA to Present Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and The Camera Since 1870

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Showcases Works by Paul Klee



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site