Visionaire and Richard Avedon Foundation hosts the “Richard Avedon Moving Image” exhibit at Cadillac House. Here’s the review.
In Visionaire/Cadillac’s stunning “Richard Avedon Moving Image” exhibit, in collaboration with the Richard Avedon Foundation, viewers have an opportunity to examine some of famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon’s moving images, some having never been shown before. Here viewers are permitted a holistic look: an opportunity to examine Avedon’s stunning control over space, time, people, and clothes.
The works feature Shari Belafonte (in her youth), Catherine Deneuve (we shall never forget the “oh wow, twins!” moments in Les Demoiselles de Rochefort!), Anjelica Huston (now onto her 50th memoir!), Lauren Hutton (28 times on Vogue’s cover!) Jamie King (or is it Jaime?), Andie Macdowell (they really did you dirty in Groundhog Day!), Kate Moss (need we say more?), Brooke Shields (patron saint of the “yes, darling!”), Veruschka (at her very, very best- she was Avedon’s muse!), and many more.
In our brief analysis, there is a precarious (maybe not for him…) closeness to Avedon’s moving works. Physically arranged in a dark room with a selection of televisions equidistant from each other screening the works on loop, it’s a tactical distance and time is suspended— you are immersed in Avedon world. The pictures make you fall into disbelief, “no one really looks like this, no one really talks like this.” But here, now, they do. Avedon has a very particular sense of color in words and lens. It is a softness so iconically him, a content quality that is sexy and upbeat. In these video works, the sense of sexual tension, the sense that this girl has the entire world in her hand, is palpable.
We can definitely be sure that there’s always going to a need for apparent beauty. This apparent beauty strikes the viewer at point-blank, literally. She’s a stunning girl. A closed-angle lens invites you to accept this. Whether she’s a smart girl… well, an Avedon picture leaves the viewer with nothing to look at, but plenty to pay attention to.
Take, for example, the still-like nature of the Calvin Klein ad series. It’s intimate, like a blind date but familiar, like she’s your sister. The girls outline their impressions, their day, their emotions. She involves herself with the jeans in a natural way. And this is the Avedon approach- get her while you can, get her while she’s natural. The direct flip-side of this is the action? Avedon’s sense of action is unbridled. Pictures, of course, are “still” by nature and we expect very little in terms of ‘action’ and movement in expensive clothes is an apparent sin. But the greatest luxury is to be playful in great clothes.
To move in great clothes, to live in great clothes. It sounds like the rough draft of an ad campaign, but Avedon’s understanding that women do not simply sit around in their clothes translated into shots of women taking the clothes for granted- “of course I’m wearing this! Why wouldn’t I! Watch me move!” There’s almost an element of disregard for the clothes entirely. But this is the essence of luxury. It’s hair undone, it’s a dress tied around a leg, it’s a girl sitting a certain way… It’s a slow pan to a mirror and naked breasts. No wonder Richard Avedon loved working with actresses, it was a good observation on his part that they’re already halfway there on the movement part, now to make them look good… It’s Avedon to a “T”. We must accept the timeliness that is necessary in advertising as well as the timelessness of nostalgia and the pleasure of hearing what people think. And of course, the beauty of the human form. Avedon accepts all of it. It is a blend of ideas so perfectly executed that it’s hard to imagine a present day without his influence. Unfortunately, this bar is set very high.
The exhibit runs until September 30th, 2016 at the Cadillac House, which features the latest Cadillac models to explore, a cafe with fresh goods, and more.
330 Hudson Street, NY, NY
Link to visionaireworld.com