Richard Avedon People

Andy Warhol, artist, with Jay Johnson and Candy Darling, actors, New York, August 20, 1969 editorial_mainRichard Avedon People celebrates the work of American photographer Richard Avedon (1923 to 2004), renowned for his achievements in the art of black and white portraiture.

Avedon’s masterful work in this medium will be revealed in an in-­depth overview of 80 photographs from 1949 to 2002, to be displayed at The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne from 6 December 2014.

Known for his exquisitely simple compositions, Avedon’s images express the essence of his subjects in charming and disarming ways. His work is also a catalogue of the who’s who of twentieth-­century American culture.

In the show, instantly recognisable and influential artists, celebrities, and countercultural leaders including Bob Dylan, Truman Capote, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Malcolm X, are presented alongside portraits of the unknown. Always accessible, they convey his profound concern with the emotional and social freedom of the individual.

“Richard Avedon was one of the world’s great photographers,” says Ian Potter Museum of Art Director, Kelly Gellatly. “He is known for transforming fashion photography from the late 1940s onwards, and his revealing portraits of celebrities, artists and political identities.”

“People may be less familiar, however, with his portraiture works that capture ordinary New Yorkers going about their daily lives, and the people of America’s West.”

“Richard Avedon People brings these lesser-­?known yet compelling portraits together with his always captivating iconic images. In doing so, the exhibition provides a rounded and truly inspiring insight into Avedon’s extraordinary practice.”

Avedon changed the face of fashion photography through his exploration of motion and emotion. From the outset, he was fascinated by photography’s capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subjects.

This is evidenced across the works in the exhibition, which span Avedon’s career from his influential fashion photography and minimalist portraiture of well-­known identities, to his depictions of America’s working class.

Avedon’s practice entered the public imagination through his long association with seminal American publications. He commenced his career photographing for Harper’s Bazaar, followed by a 20-­year partnership with Vogue. Later, he established strong collaborations with Egoiste and The New Yorker, becoming staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992.

Richard Avedon People is the first solo exhibition of Avedon’s work to be displayed in Victoria following showings in Perth and Canberra. The exhibition was curated by the National Portrait Gallery’s Senior Curator, Dr Christopher Chapman, in partnership with the Richard Avedon Foundation over the course of two years.

The Foundation was established by Avedon in his lifetime and encourages the study and appreciation of the artist’s photography through exhibitions, publications and outreach programs.

Richard Avedon People
The Ian Potter Museum of Art – The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street, Parkville
Exhibition: 6 December 2014 – 15 March 2015
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.art-­museum.unimelb.edu.au for details.

Image: Andy Warhol, artist, Candy Darling and Jay Johnson, actors, New York, August 20, 1969 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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