Richard Avedon Writers Exhibition
Gagosian Gallery Project Space Paris
Now – 28 July 2011
Richard Avedon, Self-portrait, 1980, © The Richard Avedon Foundation 2011
Gagosian Gallery, Paris, presents ”Writers” which shares 20 years of rich portraits by photographer Richard Avedon.
Now at the Gagosian Gallery Paris is an exhibition of Richard Avedon’s portraits of writers, first executed in between the 1950’s and the 1970’s and presented in the Project Space. This exhibition follows the announcement of Gagosian Gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of Richard Avedon, and the presentation of artist portraits in New York earlier in the year. Larry Gagosian comments “Avedon is America’s consummate modern photographer and one of the iconic artists from a generation which produced many extraordinary painters, sculptors, and photographers. We consider it a great privilege to represent one of the true masters of twentieth century art.”
Gagosian Gallery, Installation View Writers exhibit, 2011
During a career that spanned nearly sixty years, Richard Avedon defined and expanded concepts of art and culture in twentieth century photography while producing an extended meditation on life, death, beauty, class, race, and identity. His reportage, portrait and commercial work dissolved the lines between photography’s many perceived genres, as it ranged across a breadth of subject matter including fashion, the American Civil Rights movement, war protestors, the fall of the Berlin wall, and portraits of the famous and the anonymous. It’s no surprise that his legacy includes photographs of many of the greatest literary figures too. This exhibition spotlights his portraits of Truman Capote, Jorge Luis Borges, Henry Miller, Jean Genet, Ezra Pound, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and the poet Marianne Moore -while their words were each uniquely their own, these images are distinctly Avedon.
Richard Avedon – Aldous Huxley, Writer, New York City, October 22, 1956, © Gagosian Gallery 2011
Richard Avedon - Ezra Pound, Poet, Rutherford, New Jersey, at the home of William Carlos Williams, June 30, 1958, © Gagosian Gallery 2011
Richard Avedon -William Burroughs, Writer, New York, July 9, 1975, © Gagosian Gallery 2011
Richard Avedon - Truman Capote, Writer, New York, October 10, 1955, © Gagosian Gallery 2011
The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see key works such as the portrait of a young Truman Capote taken in 1955. Depicting the writer topless and with his head thrown back in a trance-like state, the image epitomizes Avedon’s desire to capture his subjects in intimate and emotive conditions. Four years later the duo (who were friends) went on to publish Observations in which images of Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock taken by Avedon ran alongside notes by Capote. A close friend, Capote was a great admirer of his work, and once responded to a less than positive review of one of Avedon’s second book Nothing Personal: “The most unjust is in his depicting Avedon as merely an “affluent” fashion-photographer whose main motivation in assembling this book was to exploit the American desire for self-denigration and, so to say, cash in. Balls.” Capote goes on later to appear in Avedon’s book The Sixties .
Richard Avedon - Allen Ginsberg, Writer, New York City, November 30, 1963, © Gagosian Gallery 2011
Richard Avedon (1923-2004) is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Born in New York City, Avedon began his professional photographic career in 1942 in the U.S. Merchant Marine Photographic Department, and attended the Design Laboratory at the New School. He began work as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar in 1945, eventually joining rival Vogue magazine, where he would remain on staff until 1990. In 1992 he was named the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. He received a Master of Photography Award from the International Century for Photography and his work is included in the collections of MoMa, the Smithsonian, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with countless other museums and institutions worldwide. Avedon’s portraits were the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002. A major 2007 retrospective exhibition organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark traveled to Milan, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco.
Richard Avedon established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. The Foundation is the repository for Avedon’s photographs, negatives, publications, papers, and archival materials.