Richard Avedon at SFMOMA

October 8, 2009 by bryan

I have mixed feelings about art museums, sort of a love/hate relationship. I love looking at the art, thinking about the art, reading about the artists, and I hate how exhausted I feel afterward. This happens to me often. I bombard my senses for one half hour too long, and I am done for the day.

One way I have found to avoid this, is to purchase a year pass to a favorite museum. I feel less pressure to see everything in one day, and allow myself the time and space to be inspired by the work. So as a new member to SFMOMA I was very excited to take the time to enjoy the Richard Avedon exhibition, and it did not disappoint.

Not only was the photography spectacular, the curating was excellent. The show takes you through his work photographing fashion, celebrities, politicians, artists and the working man. The way it is presented feels very organic, enabling us to see how he grew/changed as an artist.

At the end of the exhibition I overheard an interesting question posed by a guide, "Would you have wanted Avedon to photograph you?" While he was known to capture a beautiful photograph, not every person was pleased with their portrayal. You are looking at yourself in the mirror as someone else sees you. A potentially scary prospect...

...But come on, of course I would have signed up for that portrait - he's Richard Avedon.


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