Richard Avedon Exhibit in Perth

Richard Avedon, 1957
Richard Avedon, 1957

‘Richard Avedon – People’, a touring exhibit featuring photos of Marilyn, Arthur Miller and others, reaches the Art Gallery of Western Australia on August 2, staying until November 17, Gail Williams reports for Perth Now.

“His legacy of work – preserved by the Richard Avedon Foundation – provides a pictorial history of celebrity and international pop culture of the latter half of the 20th century taking in the civil rights movement, the protesters, the artists, musicians, politicans, poets and writers of the time.

Stripped of celebrity and placed against a stark white backdrop Avedon’s subjects are seen close up, wrinkles, warts and on equal footing with the photographer and the viewer.

Through Avedon’s eyes we see Marilyn Monroe looking lost and vulnerable, caught during a moment when her public mask had slipped. Then in another shot she is once again ‘on show’ playing the vamp with her arms around the neck of her playwright husband, Arthur Miller.

Robert Cook, the project curator at the Art Gallery of WA is excited at the prospect of the unveiling them in a glittering opening night party on July 30 where VIP guests will have their memories jogged by the iconic images from the past six decades.

‘It’s a history of celebrity, in a weird way,’ says Cook. ‘It’s kind of like you see all of society unfolding under his lens.’

One of his favourites is the image of Monroe and Arthur Miller.

‘People always talk about that relationship between those two being such a bad fit,’ he says. ‘But in this picture there’s this gorgeous young girl with a man 11 years older than her who looks handsome and is amazingly youthful looking. It’s one of my favourites…'”

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