Previously on view at the Jeu de Paume in Paris last summer, this exhibition of the American photographer Richard Avedon (1923 - 2004) features more than 200 photographs, demonstrating the scope of Avedon's production, from the glamorous world of fashion through the more psychologial portraits to reportage-oriented shots.
In the 1960s, Avedon also ventured into photojournalism, covering such hot subjects as Civil Rights campaigners in the American South (1963), the Ku Klux Klan, patients in a mental hospital and the Vietnam war — both in the country itself, where he photographed military officers and napalm victims, and back home, where, a pacifist himself, he covered the hippie protests against the war.
In 1974 Avedon exhibited a series of his father, then dying of cancer, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. During this decade he continued his fashion photography and reportage, and also produced a series of 73 portraits of America's political elite for Rolling Stone.
The early 1980s saw Avedon produce a long series of 700 portraits of middle class and poor Americans from the 17 western states. As if to refute the myth of the American West, these portraits, all taken outdoors against a white ground, show closed, tense and introverted faces with an intense but subjacent emotional power. At the end of the decade, a commission from the French magazine Égoïste gave Avedon the chance to cover the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The show includes portraits of Truman Capote, Charles Chaplin, Henry Kissinger, Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen, The Beatles, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Samuel Beckett, Twiggi, Dovima with Elephants and many more
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