Richard Avedon: Performance

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce Richard Avedon: Performance, the gallery’s first exhibition of Avedon’s photographs since the artist’s death in 2004.  Spanning more than five decades, the photographs will be on view from November 6th through December 27th, 2008.

Truman Capote, writer, New York, October 10, 1955, 1955
gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 inches (sheet) [50.8 x 40.6 cm]

Although Richard Avedon first earned his reputation as a fashion photographer, perhaps his greatest achievement was his reinvention of the genre of photographic portraiture. The concept of “performance,” in both life and art, was one of his central concerns. He photographed actors and comedians, pop stars and divas, musicians and dancers, artists in all mediums whose public lives were essentially performances.

Bob Dylan, Singer, New York City, 2/10/65, 1965
gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches (sheet) [35.6 x 27.9 cm]

Many of the most celebrated cultural figures of the last fifty years passed before Avedon’s camera. Though he is known for his definitive portraits of Charlie Chaplin, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, and Bob Dylan among others, his interests were not solely in the famous. His finest portraits also included some of the more cerebral and less public figures in the arts, such as Isak Dinesen, Bert Lahr, Stephen Sondheim, François Truffaut, and Marian Anderson.  The exhibition will include approximately fifty original prints as well as contact sheets, work prints, album covers, and other ephemera.

Marian Anderson, contralto, New York, June 30, 1955, 1955
gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches (sheet) [40.6 x 50.8 cm]

Avedon’s portraits were the subject of a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002, and his work appears in every major museum photography collection. The books he produced throughout his career set new standards for photographic publishing.  A newly released, 304-page hardcover publication, Richard Avedon: Performance, accompanies the exhibition. His career will be the focus of a major retrospective opening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the fall of 2009.

Concurrent with the exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery, Richard Avedon: Performance will also be on view at Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City from November 14, 2008 to January 3, 2009.

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