Hauser & Wirth opens online exhibition 'Annie Leibovitz. Still Life'
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Hauser & Wirth opens online exhibition 'Annie Leibovitz. Still Life'
Annie Leibovitz, Rattlesnake skeleton in Georgia O’Keeffe’s living room Abiquiu, 2010. Archival pigment print. Edition of 3 + 2 AP, 45.7 x 59.7 cm / 18 x 23 1/2 in (unframed) © Annie Leibovitz. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

LONDON.- Celebrated American photographer Annie Leibovitz will present a new print in an edition of 100 on the occasion of her forthcoming online exhibition ‘Still Life’ opening on 5 June. 100% of proceeds of sales of ‘Upstate’ (2020), a work created while in quarantine, will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization as part of Hauser & Wirth’s #artforbetter initiative.

‘Still Life’ includes ten photographic works and explores the importance of our sense of place in light of the current global moment. The exhibition features personal images of Leibovitz’s own surroundings alongside a series of intimate scenes from the homes of historical figures from Charles Darwin and Emily Dickinson to John Muir and Georgia O’Keeffe. The exhibition showcases the artist’s singular ability to combine portraiture and photojournalism with profound humanism and sly wit.

The new print, ‘Upstate’ (2020), is a gridwork of nine images that document personal belongings and landscapes in or near the artist’s home in upstate New York where she has been spending time during the quarantine period. Spanning the natural and domestic, dramatic and quiet, the work chronicles her time at home with her family and the slower pace of life during this unprecedented period. The artist states, 'I did finally start taking pictures here: Our road at night. Pieces of a puzzle based on the Waterhouse painting of the Lady of Shalott that my daughter is working on. A fish dropped by a heron whose lunch we interrupted. Are these new pictures even photographs? I don’t know. They are more a response to this moment.'

This new work is shown alongside a special selection of previously completed works exploring the homes and studios of historical figures Leibovitz admires, photographing interiors and possessions that had an emotional impact on her. ‘It wasn’t an assignment. It was very personal. I traveled alone to places that interested me. There were no people in the pictures. I photographed houses and landscapes and objects that belonged to people who were no longer there.’

In these works, Leibovitz captures everything from the delicately pressed flowers of Emily Dickinson’s childhood herbarium to the worn surface of Virginia Woolf’s writing desk, documenting the inner lives of her subjects through the everyday objects that surrounded them.

On a visit to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu, New Mexico home, Leibovitz finds a rattlesnake skeleton displayed under glass on her coffee table and at O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch studio she photographs the small red hill that so often appeared as a monumental symbol of the American Southwest in her paintings. During a trip to Charles Darwin’s laboratory she documents several bird specimens, the intellectual basis of his life’s work. These journeys allowed Leibovitz to explore other worlds and environments, forging a connection to the past that has left a profound mark on her own life.

Annie Leibovitz has achieved international recognition for her photojournalism and portraiture, which serve to shape both the contemporary cultural imagination and our retrospective view of the late twentieth century. Through innate qualities of personality and talent, she achieved an unusually intimate and authentic understanding of her subjects that is beautifully transcribed in her photographs. In the Seventies and early Eighties, when she documented everything from Nixon’s resignation to the Rolling Stones on tour, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Olympia contest, and the youth, drugs, and camaraderie of the political and artistic worlds, Leibovitz chronicled a seminal era in American history.

Leibovitz produced 142 cover photographs for Rolling Stone, where she was the chief photographer for over ten years, before transitioning to Vanity Fair and Vogue. She has been a working photographer for nearly fifty years and her large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.

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