Annie Leibovitz ~ A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005 at the National Portrait Gallery
A new exhibition opened at the National Portrait Gallery in October, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005, will draw together for the first time the well-known assignments and rarely-seen personal work of one of the world’s best-known portrait photographers. On exhibition through 1 February, 2009.
With over 150 photographs, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 shows iconic images of famous public figures together with personal photographs of her family and close friends. Arranged chronologically, they project a unified narrative of the artist’s private life against the backdrop of her public image. ‘I don’t have two lives,’ Leibovitz says. ‘This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.’
At the heart of the exhibition, Leibovitz’s personal photography documents scenes from her life, including the birth and childhood of her three daughters, and vacations, reunions, and rites of passage with her parents, her extended family and close friends.
The exhibition features Leibovitz’s portraits of well-known figures, including actors such as Jamie Foxx, Daniel Day Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt as well as artists and architects such as Richard Avedon, Brice Marden, Philip Johnson, Chuck Close and Cindy Sherman. Highlights include dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer holding a dance position on a beach, William S Burroughs in Kansas and Agnes Martin in Taos.
Featured assignment work includes searing reportage from the siege of Sarajevo in the early 1990s and the election of Hillary Clinton to the US Senate. There are also landscapes taken in Monument Valley in the American West and in Wadi Rum in the Jordanian desert.
One of the most celebrated photographers of our time, Annie Leibovitz has been making witty, powerful images documenting American popular culture since the early 1970s, when her work began appearing in Rolling Stone. She became the magazine’s chief photographer in 1973, and ten years later began working for Vanity Fair, and then Vogue, creating a legendary body of work. In addition to her magazine work, Leibovitz has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express, Gap, Givenchy, the Milk Board and the TV series The Sopranos.
A retrospective of her work from the years 1970 -1990 was presented at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1994, as well as Washington, D.C. and the International Center of Photography in New York.
Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 is a Brooklyn Museum exhibition, curated by Charlotta Kotik, Curator Emerita of Contemporary Art. The exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum on 20 October 2006 and has since toured to the San Diego Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It is now on tour at La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris before arriving in London, and after the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition will tour to C/O Berlin. Susan Bloom is the international coordinator of the exhibition.