Los Angeles, CA: The Annenberg Foundation, one of the nation’s largest private family foundations, announced today plans to open a new community space dedicated to both digital images and print photography in Los Angeles, California.
The Annenberg Space for Photography will open in spring 2009 at 2000 Avenue of the Stars. Located on the former site of the Shubert Theatre, the Photography Space will be a 10,000 square foot facility which will feature a state-of-the-art digital projection gallery along with a traditional print exhibit area. The combination of these galleries will enable the Annenberg Space for Photography to show an unprecedented number of images to the general public in a dynamic environment. General admission to the Annenberg Space for Photography will be free.
In addition to being a cultural experience that celebrates photography as an art form, the Photography Space will present images focused on the human condition as an expression of the philanthropic work of the Foundation and its Trustees. The Annenberg Space for Photography will be under the stewardship of the Foundation’s Los Angeles-based Trustees — Wallis Annenberg, Lauren Bon, Charles Annenberg Weingarten and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten.
The Trustees will work directly with guest curators throughout the year on all exhibits and programming.
Work by photographers at all levels of expertise from around the world will be featured. The galleries will also exhibit often unseen photographic collections held by museums, galleries and media organizations.
“Photography is one of the most accessible and personal forms of art. We are thrilled about creating a space completely dedicated to it which will compliment the landscape of existing cultural institutions nationally and in Los Angeles. Our Foundation will continue its multi-million dollar grant support of the existing arts and civic life. We see the creation of the Annenberg Space for Photography as a service to the community where visitors can see the world through a different lens and leave feeling motivated to make positive change,” says Wallis Annenberg, Vice President and Trustee of the Annenberg Foundation.
The Annenberg Space for Photography was conceived by the collective Board of Trustees of the Foundation. The original inspiration was sparked by Wallis Annenberg’s personal devotion to photography. A passion for the artform led Wallis to examine the challenges most traditional museums experience exhibiting photographic work. These museums have remarkable photography collections, and in many cases their archives are more comprehensive than exhibit space is available. This motivated Wallis and the Foundation Trustees to create a new paradigm for experiencing photography. A state-of-the-art digital presentation system will allow thousands of photographs to be readily accessible to the public in large and high resolution format.
When the Foundation announced its plan to move its administrative offices from Westwood to its current location at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles Councilmember Jack Weiss and real estate developers at Trammel Crow approached the Foundation with the opportunity to operate a community space on the property, providing the perfect location for the realization of the Foundation’s plans for the Photography Space.
Councilmember Weiss comments, “I am grateful that the Annenberg Foundation, with their vision and standards of excellence, is helping enrich the city by bringing world class digital art and photography to Los Angeles. This space will add cultural vitality and excitement to Century City.”
The creation of the Photography Space builds upon the Foundation’s long history of supporting visual arts. Most recently the Foundation demonstrated its commitment to the arts by giving a grant to help LACMA acquire the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, an important group of 19th and 20th century photographs, featuring more than 3,500 prints which include the work of Ansel Adams, Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Steichen, W.H. Fox Talbot and Edward Weston. In recognition of this support, LACMA’s Department of Photography is being renamed the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department.
The Annenberg Space for Photography’s opening exhibit will be a group show of eight Los Angeles-based photographers in the genres of fine art, architecture, documentary, fashion, photojournalism and celebrity portraits. The show, soon-to-be-titled, will feature the work of John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, Greg Gorman, Douglas Kirkland, Tim Street-Porter, Julius Shulman, Lauren Greenfield and Carolyn Cole. All based in Los Angeles, these artists work in the city in which the Foundation has expanded its philanthropy in recent years. The exhibit will also include work from staff photographers at the Los Angeles Times. Anne Wilkes Tucker, renowned photography curator from the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, will serve as a Special Advisor for this inaugural exhibit.
Ms. Tucker comments, “The opening exhibit inaugurates an exciting new space with work by eight internationally recognized photographers. Their work represents richly diverse aspects of contemporary photography and of Los Angeles itself, from film and television celebrities to the Los Angeles Times coverage of international and local news, to city’s rich cultural scene. The multifaceted displays of prints and digital projection, along with interviews with the artists speaking about their projects and careers, are uniquely innovative. This exhibit should appeal to the public and to many artists who might participate in future programs in this new space.”
In addition to featured exhibits which will change several times a year, shorter weekly shows will enable visitors to have different daily experiences with multiple visits. Simultaneously, videos of photographers discussing their work will give guests the often rare opportunity to hear directly from the artists.
Workshops, lectures and discussions featuring artists will be a prominent part of the ongoing programming. Educational opportunities will be created for adults, children and teens. Guests of the Photography Space will have access to Century Park and its restaurants within steps from the Photography Space doors. The Photography Space is adjacent to 2000 Avenue of the Stars, the location of the Foundation’s Los Angeles headquarters.
The interior design by architects DMJM Design was influenced and inspired by the ergonomics of cameras and lenses. The building also includes a residential-style workshop area that will be used for intimate discussions with photographers. The technology of the Photography Space enables extreme digital clarity, sound and multiple image presentation –giving artists a wide range of creative possibilities for showing their work.
Photographer Greg Gorman comments, “I worked with film for decades before converting to digital. As the artform has evolved, I’m excited to see a space celebrate both. I expect that this will change the way we all think of a traditional photography gallery.”
Fulfilling a Mission
The Annenberg Space for Photography aligns perfectly with the mission of the Foundation — to improve the well-being of the community through the exchange of ideas and new ways of thinking. The Trustees believe that the experience of this art form and images exhibited there will further their vision as philanthropists for a better world.
About the Annenberg Foundation
Established in 1989 by Walter H. Annenberg, the Annenberg Foundation provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally through its headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania, and offices in Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C. Its major program areas are education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation operates a number of initiatives which expand and complement these program areas. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.