PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston November 2023

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OBSESSIONS. DECORATION. SALIENT FACTS. Road Trip to Bentonville: Annie Leibovitz in the Lens M ake your holidays memorable with an art pilgrimage to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where you can contemplate America via portraits by the photographer of our time. "Annie Leibovitz at Work" serves as the definitive guide to an image maker who has forged iconic shots that embody their subjects, from John Lennon and Yoko Ono's poignant final 1980 double portrait that graced the cover of Rolling Stone to Demi Moore's full-on pregnancy cover for 1991 Vanity Fair that generated shock and outrage while shattering saccharine images of motherhood. The magnum opus of the photojournalist- turned-artist, organized by Crystal Bridges acting curator of contemporary art Alejo Benedetti, features 300 photographs spanning 55 years — from 1968 (when Leibovitz acquired her first camera) through this year. Chronologically arranged, it begins with a 1968 image taken at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, where her father was stationed, showing soldiers with a queen of the country's indigenous people. Next it leads into Leibovitz's '70s-era early work for Rolling Stone, as well as photographs of the Rolling Stones' 1975 U.S. tour, taken at the request of Mick Jagger. Other nuggets in the '70s section include NASA's last moon launch with the astronauts of Apollo 17; the fraught Presidential campaign of 1972 between Nixon and McGovern, segueing into Nixon's resignation in 1974; images of New Journalism writers Thomas Wolfe and Hunter Thompson; and a grid devoted to the artist's roots in L.A. and San Francisco, including portraits of Joan Didion and husband, John Gregory Dunne. Also included are Leibovitz's own road- trip pics — Polaroids snapped of willing California Highway Patrol officers who had given her speeding tickets along Highway 5. Leibowitz left Rolling Stone in 1983 for the newly relaunched Vanity Fair, followed later by Vogue, aided by her close alliance with editor Anna Wintour. This departure broadened the artist's subjects to reflect what the public has come to know as an Annie Leibovitz photograph. The exhibition wraps with recent commissions for Crystal Bridges and new bodies of work reflecting the range of visages in Leibovitz lens, encompassing old and new icons from politics, music, art, fashion, literature, space travel, law, journalism, religion, tech, and current newsmakers. Catch this revelatory exhibition at Crystal Bridges before it heads out on its four-venue, two-year national tour. As noted by the photographer herself in the accompanying wall text: "The choices are personal, with a nod to journalism and where we are now … The threads are ongoing. I will be adding new pictures as the show goes along. There is no end in sight." "Annie Leibovitz at Work," through January 29, 2024, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, crystalbridges. org. Catherine D. Anspon Above: Annie Leibovitz's Self Portrait, Brooklyn, New York, 2017, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Top: Annie Leibovitz's Patti Smith, Electric Lady Studios, New York City, 2007, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Both images courtesy the artist, © Annie Leibovitz. 10

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