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POWER IN PICTURES: Richard Avedon may have been known primarily for his fashion photography and portraiture, but he had a lifelong fascination with power, too. That power, and its interplay with politics and culture, are the central themes tying together a new exhibit of Avedon’s work, opening Saturday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. The exhibit features portraits of political, legal, cultural and media elite ranging from the Kennedys to Donald Rumsfeld and Joan Baez. The Avedon works in the exhibit tell a story about the American political process, said Paul Greenhalgh, director and president of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which is particularly timely in the current election cycle.
“Power in governments, in business, in religion, in law, in media and culture was, Avedon once said, among his greatest subjects,” said Paul Roth, senior curator of photography and media arts for the museum.
The works shown span Avedon’s entire career, starting in the Fifties and ending with an incomplete series called “Democracy” that the artist was shooting for the New Yorker in 2004 when he died of a brain hemorrhage. Among the most recent photos is a picture of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama taken when he was primarily known as the keynote speaker from the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston.
The exhibit will be in Washington through Jan. 25, after which it will travel to other cities that have not been determined.
— Liza Casabona