Annie Leibovitz Exhibition Breaks Museum of Contemporary Art Attendance Records
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) announce that its exhibition of works by internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz is now the most popular ticketed exhibition ever presented at the MCA. Just twelve weeks since its opening on 19 November 2010 and only half-way through its run, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 has attracted 95,118 visitors. During the summer period, attendances have peaked at nearly 2,300 people per day. The previous MCA record for a ticketed exhibition was set by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson whose works attracted 63,080 visitors in 2010. MCA also announced that the MCA is extending the exhibition by another month. It will now close on Tuesday 26 April 2011, providing more opportunity for Sydney-siders and interstate visitors to enjoy this moving and inspiring exhibition.
MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor was delighted to make this announcement in light of the visit to Sydney by Annie Leibovitz. The artist is this week attending a series of media events and a special reception to celebrate the exhibition.
“We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of the Annie Leiboivitz exhibition. It has been popular from New York to London, Paris to Berlin and now in Sydney also. She is one of the most celebrated artists of our time and certainly the most influential photographer working today. We are thrilled to have her here with us in Sydney to see the exhibition and celebrate its success,” says Ms. Macgregor.
Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 brings together almost 200 images of famous public figures together with personal photographs of her family and close friends over a fifteen-year period. The images 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.”
Born in Westbury, Connecticut, Annie Leibovitz is the third of six children. She is a third-generation American whose great-grandparents were Russian Jews. Her father’s parents had emigrated from Romania. Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, was a modern dance instructor; her father, Sam Leibovitz, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. In high school, she became interested in various artistic endeavours, and began to write and play music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while working various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969. Throughout her life on the Kibbutz, she learned to take Jewish concepts and apply them to her photographs.
Leibovitz had a close romantic relationship with noted writer and essayist Susan Sontag. They met in 1989, when both had already established notability in their careers. Leibovitz has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work. After Sontag’s death in 2004, published an article about Leibovitz that made reference to her decade-plus relationship with Sontag, stating that “The two first met in the late ’80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket. They never lived together, though they each had an apartment within view of the other’s. Neither Leibovitz nor Sontag had ever previously publicly disclosed whether the relationship was familial, a friendship, or sexual in nature. However, when Leibovitz was interviewed for her 2006 book A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, she said the book told a number of stories, and that “with Susan, it was a love story.
A major retrospective of Leibovitz’s work was held at the Brooklyn Museum, Oct. 2006 – The retrospective was based on her book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005, and included many of her professional (celebrity) photographs as well as numerous personal photographs of her family, children, and partner Susan Sontag. This show, which was expanded to include three of the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, then went on the road for seven stops. It was on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from October 2007 to January 2008, and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from March 2008 to May 2008. In February 2009 the exhibition was moved to Berlin, Germany.
In 2007, the Walt Disney Company hired her to do a series of photographs with celebrities in various roles and scenes for Disney Parks “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign.
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 also features Leibovitz’s portraits of well-known figures, including actors such as Jamie Foxx, Daniel Day-Lewis, Demi Moore, Scarlett Johansson, 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.