Gagosian is pleased to present Avedon 100, a landmark exhibition in celebration of the centenary of Richard Avedon’s birth. The collection of Avedon photographs was selected by more than 150 people – including prominent artists, designers, musicians, writers, curators, and fashion world representatives – who elaborate on the impact of the photographer’s work today.
Avedon 100 documents Avedon’s enduring influence on photography and profound global impression on visual culture. In an installation designed by Stefan Beckman, the exhibition represents six decades of his oeuvre, including the In the American West series and images of the social justice movement, as well as classic portraiture, advertising, and fashion work. It features both iconic and rare photographs, among them several of Avedon’s larger-than-life-size mural prints, as well as exhibition prints created for his 1978 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The photographs are displayed in loosely chronological sequence, with special attention paid to visual cadence, together showing how the artist dissolved the lines between photographic genres and cemented the medium’s status as a contemporary art form. In an increasingly digital world, his work is also testament to the artistry of film photography.
Among the many remarkable images on view are Avedon’s rarely exhibited mural featuring multiple images of a dancing Marilyn Monroe, created from a sitting in 1957 that also produced his iconic “sad” Marilyn. His dynamic 1971 portrait of Tina Turner is printed at a monumental scale and was selected for the exhibition by Tonne Goodman. In many cases the link between a photograph and its selector enhances the work’s already powerful impact. Hillary Clinton, for example, has chosen Avedon’s 2003 portrait of her for The New Yorker, while Taryn Simon sought out a 1994 image of Salman Rushdie, inscribed by Avedon to the writer “Yours, in the struggle – Dick,” and loaned by Rushdie for exhibition. Among many extraordinary images selected by figures from the worlds of fashion and film are Miuccia Prada’s choice, a 1979 portrait of thirteen-year-old Texas rattlesnake skinner Boyd Fortin from In the American West, and Emma Watson’s, a 1965 photograph of Donyale Luna, who would become the first Black model to grace the cover of American Vogue.