Nothing Personal
Richard Avedon & James Baldwin

 

 

This meticulous reprint of Richard Avedon and James Baldwin’s Nothing Personal explores the complexities and contradictions still at the center of the American experience – especially timely in the age of Donald Trump. Deploying both image and text, Avedon and Baldwin examine the formation of identity, and the bonds that both underlie and undermine human connection. An accompanying 72-page booklet features a fresh essay by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Hilton Als, and many of Avedon’s unpublished outtakes, correspondence, preliminary layouts and ephemera.

In 1963-64, former high school friends Richard Avedon, at the time one of the world’s most famous photographers, and James Baldwin, best-selling novelist and essayist and a leading literary voice in the American civil rights movement, collaborated on Nothing Personal, a book about the state of life in America.

 

 

 

Avedon’s subjects range from civil rights icons, to intellectuals, politicians, pop singers, patients in a mental institution, and ordinary Americans, all carefully juxtaposed, cropped, and tightly sequenced. The American Nazi Party contends with poet Allen Ginsberg, and a weary General Eisenhower gives way to the sway of Malcolm X. Depleted mental institution patients call out for human warmth, and are followed by the embrace of mother and child.

Baldwin’s four-part essay offers a critique of a society that is disconnected, unjust and divisive, and therefore in the midst of an existential crisis. In a highly personal and pertinent testimony, he writes about his own experience of harassment by a racist police officer in his native New York City. Yet Baldwin, like Avedon, ends his work with the inescapable need for – and power of – love.

Designed by legendary art director Marvin Israel, Nothing Personal is a triumph of minimalism. An oversized book in its own white slipcase, the striking placement of both photographs and text revolutionized the design and packaging of photography books. This is a faithful reprint of the original book, which has been out of print for decades, and was produced with the collaboration of The Richard Avedon Foundation.

 

 

 

Hilton Als, Avedon’s former colleague at The New Yorker, and a scholar of Baldwin’s work, traces the making of Nothing Personal and documents the friendship and creative relationship between Avedon and Baldwin. Als also movingly reflects on how Nothing Personal impacted his own life, as well as his friendship with Avedon.

When first published in 1964, Avedon and Baldwin’s vision of America was controversial, and both men endured harsh criticism for being liberal elites and “Hollywood moralists” who were not representing the true feelings of “real” Americans. Sound familiar?

To coincide with the book’s release, New York’s Pace Gallery will present a comprehensive exploration of Avedon’s photographs and documents from the book.

 

Nothing Personal / Richard Avedon & James Baldwin
Hardcover with booklet in slipcase, 27 x 36 cm, 160 pages / Taschen
For more information, please visit the book page >

NATURE // NATURES
Sep 23 – Dec 23, 2022
We Live is the title of the first manuscript published by Lydie Arickx in 2014, such could be the...
+
Navigating North
Oct 7, 2022 – Apr 2, 2023
Showcasing the Jenny & Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection, this exhibition investigates links between the north and south. The themes...
+
Deana Lawson
Various / 2022–2023
This exhibition is the first museum survey dedicated to the work of Lawson, a singular voice in photography today...
+
World Press Photo 2022
Winners & Exhibitions Announced
Providing a variety of perspectives from all corners of the globe, the 2022 World Press Photo Contest awarded works...
+
RAW / 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2022
Oct 24 – Dec 13, 2022
Artpil proudly announces the online Exhibition of 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2022 and its participation in Rome Art...
+
Futurities, Uncertain / 2022 Cornell Biennial
Jul 13 – Dec 18, 2022
Inviting celebratory imaginations and enactments, the 2022 Cornell Biennial performs an artistic call and response to counter singular utopic...
+
Art Will Set You Free
Conversation with Photographer Bill Phelps
As life was turning constantly during this past year, one of the things that constantly kept me looking, hoping...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .130
The Summer's End
The summer's end is upon us, the respite from a life on pause rounded out. The pandemic in the...
+
NATURE // NATURES
Sep 23 – Dec 23, 2022
We Live is the title of the first manuscript published by Lydie Arickx in 2014, such could be the...
+
Navigating North
Oct 7, 2022 – Apr 2, 2023
Showcasing the Jenny & Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection, this exhibition investigates links between the north and south. The themes...
+
Deana Lawson
Various / 2022–2023
This exhibition is the first museum survey dedicated to the work of Lawson, a singular voice in photography today...
+
World Press Photo 2022
Winners & Exhibitions Announced
Providing a variety of perspectives from all corners of the globe, the 2022 World Press Photo Contest awarded works...
+
RAW / 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2022
Oct 24 – Dec 13, 2022
Artpil proudly announces the online Exhibition of 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2022 and its participation in Rome Art...
+
Futurities, Uncertain / 2022 Cornell Biennial
Jul 13 – Dec 18, 2022
Inviting celebratory imaginations and enactments, the 2022 Cornell Biennial performs an artistic call and response to counter singular utopic...
+
Art Will Set You Free
Conversation with Photographer Bill Phelps
As life was turning constantly during this past year, one of the things that constantly kept me looking, hoping...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .130
The Summer's End
Pack up the beach bags and the picnic baskets. Count the votes. Back to school, return to work, live the new normal.
+