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Indepth Arts News:

"Richard Avedon: Portraits"
2002-09-26 until 2003-01-05
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY, USA

One hundred eighty portraits by acclaimed photographer Richard Avedon—a vast collective portrait of America in the second half of the 20th century—will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 26. Richard Avedon: Portraits will feature his most classic and penetrating images, documenting as never before this artist's dazzling reinvention of the genre of photographic portraiture. The exhibition, which will remain on view through January 5, 2003, will span Avedon's entire career, from his earliest portraits made in the late 1940s through his most recent work.

All of the photographs in the exhibition are courtesy of Richard Avedon.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art commented: "Richard Avedon's work now takes its proper place in the larger history of art, representing the culmination of the time-honored tradition of public portraiture. Much like the great 19th-century French photographer, Nadar, whose telling portraits of rare individuals captured the creative genius of his generation, so Avedon, a century later, collected the key players and directed them in a brilliant portrait of an era that was questioning, unruly, and self-consciously alive, like all periods of radical growth. We are honored to share this estimable achievement with our audiences."

Among the highlights of Richard Avedon: Portraits will be stunning portrayals of 20th-century artistic, intellectual, and political figures including Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Charlie Chaplin, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marian Anderson, Willem de Kooning, and many others; a series of portraits of the artist's father in the years just prior to his death; and portraits of the unsung citizenry from the artist's series In The American West. The exhibition will also feature Avedon's mural-size group portraits of: Andy Warhol and the members of the Factory (1969), the coterie of artists, filmmakers, and performers who comprised the avant-garde bohemia of the day; the Mission Council (1971), military and political leaders who determined policy in regard to the Vietnam War; and the Chicago Seven (1969), a group of radicals accused of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Maria Morris Hambourg, Curator in Charge of the Metropolitan's Department of Photographs and the organizer of the exhibition, noted, "By dint of progressive challenges to himself, Richard Avedon has not only distilled photographic portraiture to its irreducible core, but has also produced an extended meditation on life, death, art, and identity. Laureate of the invisible reflected in physiognomy, Avedon has become our poet of portraiture."

Richard Avedon
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Palm Springs, California
January 31, 1964

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