Friday, May 15, 2009

More Avedon

"Avedon took Munkacsi’s use of motion and literally ran with it…[His models] dance, leap or lope past, often completely obscured by flowing garments. Movement could also be disintegration: in a 1994 photograph, Stephanie Seymour is shown crumpling like a marionette whose strings have been cut."

Roberta Smith reviews Avedon Fashion 1944–2000 in today's paper:

Avedon’s fashion photographs from the late 1940s to the early ’60s are everything you want great art to be: exhilarating, startlingly new and rich enough with life and form to sustain repeated viewings. Their beauty is joy incarnate and contagious. The best of them are as perfect on their own terms as the best work of Jackson Pollock or Jasper Johns from that era, and as profoundly representative of it.

As with these painters Avedon’s work represents an important turning point and a new kind of self-consciousness of his medium. He makes us aware of its process on different levels, while also questioning its values and deflating its pretensions. His images have a new tautness; you see them as energy-producing wholes in which every detail and bit of surface is articulated. Like Abstract Expressionist painting, they show us an art form learning from and then moving beyond European conventions.
Read the rest of Roberta Smith's review here.

The New Yorker also has a slideshow online featuring 15 images from the show (Avedon was a staff photographer there in the last years of his life).

Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, August 1955. Photography Richard Avedon. Cathy Horyn, paraphrasing part of a 1958 New Yorker article on Avedon and his frequent subject: "Dovima was a devout Catholic and a homebody who traveled on shoots with her husband and a suitcase full of comic books. She was Dorothy Horan. Dovima was a blend of “Do” for Dorothy, “vi” for victory, and “ma” for her ma."

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