Richard Avedon: Andy Warhol and the Factory 1969 and The Family 1976

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition RICHARD AVEDON: Andy Warhol and The Factory [1969]and The Family [1976]from January 4 to March 1, 2003.

Andy Warhol and Members of The Factory (#11), New York City, October 30, 1969, 1969

In 1969, Richard Avedon began using an eight-by-ten inch view camera on a tripod in order to yield images with extreme detail.  That same year he photographed Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory. Printed in a larger-than-life scale, 10 x 31 feet, the bold group portrait generates a visceral confrontation between the viewer and photograph. To convey the eccentric extravagance of Warhol’s studio, Avedon adopted an innovative multi-panel technique that also suggests a reading of the group as a frieze of classical figures.  In a final frame that was ultimately cut, Avedon depicted Warhol videotaping the actor Joe Dallesandro in a post-coital state. That image, as well as other works that led to the triptych’s final version, will be exhibited here for the first time.

Once he had photographed the Factory, Avedon realized that he could apply a related approach to other groups.  In the bicentennial election year of 1976, Avedon was commissioned by Rolling Stone to chronicle the campaign. Once he began, he realized that the real story extended beyond the candidates alone, and expanded his undertaking to incorporate heads of state, bankers, media moguls, union leaders – the people he understood to comprise the true power elite.  Avedon titled this body of work The Family. Like August Sander before him, Avedon aimed for emotional neutrality, and in this case preferred to let his sitters pose themselves so that the results would not be skewed by any political bias on the photographer’s part. The final structure of the work, as seen on the gallery walls, also recalls the typological approach of the Bechers, in this case applied to human physiognomy.

George Bush, 1976
gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 inches
Donald Rumsfeld, 1976
gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 inches

Avedon’s work is currently the subject of a major survey exhibition, entitled Richard Avedon: Portraits, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through January 5, 2003.

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