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Richard Avedon: Performance

November 13, 2008–January 3, 2009

545 W 22nd Street, New York, NY


Installation Views

We all perform. It’s what we do for each other all the time, deliberately or unintentionally. It’s a way of telling about ourselves in the hope of being recognized as what we’d like to be.

-Richard Avedon

PaceWildenstein and Pace/MacGill Gallery are pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Richard Avedon on view in the Chelsea gallery at 545 West 22nd Street from November 14, 2008 through January 3, 2009. Richard Avedon: Performance features approximately sixty gelatin silver prints made over the course of more than five decades.

Although 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.

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.

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.

A related exhibition of Avedon’s work will be on view at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco from November 6 to December 27, 2008.

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