Arts & Culture

The Annenberg Space for Photography Presents “BEAUTY CULTURE”

The Annenberg Space for Photography is pleased to announce its next exhibit —BEAUTY CULTURE, a photographic exploration of how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society. Featuring works from iconic photographers such as Albert Watson, Bert Stern, Herb Ritts, Man Ray, Jean-Paul Goude, Guy Bourdin, Horst P. Horst, Melvin Sokolsky, Matthew Rolston, Philippe Halsman, Lauren Greenfield and Tyen, BEAUTY CULTURE encourages a social dialogue about the allure and mystique of the pursuit of female beauty, as well as the cult-like glorification and multi-billion dollar industries that surround it.

Daring, provocative and at times controversial, the exhibition presents diverse viewpoints on beauty as it has evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries.The exhibition compellingly illustrates the power of the still image in shaping cultural ideals and expectations of feminine beauty – and photography’s undeniable influence on conceptions of the Self.

“As much as beauty can astonish and inspire, it can also corrupt and subvert, rendering all else – and even itself – broken and obsolete. The great contemporary photographers do so much more than chronicle and celebrate what is beautiful in our time. They dig beneath it, they confront our compulsion with it, and they turn art’s mirror on ourselves as well. I can’t think of a more important conversation for the Annenberg Space to have,” says Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation.

Other noted photographers and visual artists in the exhibit include: Andres Serrano, Carrie Mae Weems, Chuck Close, David LaChapelle, Ellen von Unwerth, Erwin Blumenfeld, Gilles Bensimon, Greg Gorman, Leonard Nimoy, Lillian Bassman, Lynn Johnson, Martin Schoeller, Mary Ellen Mark, Michel Comte, Nino Muñoz, Norman Jean Roy, ORLAN, Patrick Demarchelier, Paul Lange, Robert Maxwell, Terry Richardson and William Claxton.

Showcasing images of performers, professional models and pop-culture icons, BEAUTY CULTURE features portrait and editorial images of Alek Wek, Angelina Jolie, Anja Rubik, Beverly Johnson, Bo Derek, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Cheryl Tiegs, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Crystal Renn, Du Juan, Elizabeth Taylor, Gisele Bundchen, Grace Jones, Helena Christensen, Hilary Swank, Iman, Jean Shrimpton, Kate Moss, Kristen McMenamy, Lakshmi Menon, Linda Evangelista, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Megan Fox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nadja Auermann, Nancy Kwan, Naomi Campbell, Sophia Loren, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz and Venus Williams. Through the following themes, BEAUTY CULTURE will examine both traditional and unconventional definitions of beauty:

• What Size Is Beauty?
• What Color Is Beauty?
• Beauty, Inc.: The $300 Billion Cosmetics Industry
• Beauty for Money: The Professional Model
• Beauty from Cradle to Grave
• Dreams on Paper: The Pin-Up Girl
• Extreme Beauty
• Pageant Culture
• Reaction and Revolution
• The Hollywood Glamour Machine: Vamps, Vixens and Bombshells
• The Marilyn Syndrome
• Androgyny

In addition to over 170 photographs featured in the print gallery, BEAUTY CULTURE will showcase nearly 500 digital images in vivid detail on high-resolution screens in our Digital Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a short documentary film directed by acclaimed photographer and award-winning documentarian Lauren Greenfield, shown in the Digital Gallery. The digital film expands upon the print exhibit’s themes, and features interviews with well-known photographers, models, historians and beauty experts who will guide visitors on a fascinating photographic exploration of the culture – and cult – of beauty.

The IRIS Nights lecture series will continue BEAUTY CULTURE’s dialogue and examination of the impact of photography on the image of women. Cutting-edge photographers, filmmakers and stylists will discuss their work and stories from their creative quests to project, capture, reshape or challenge the prevailing vision of feminine ideals.

Manon Slome- critic, independent curator and founder of No Longer Empty- is the exhibition consultant. The curatorial advisor for this exhibit is Kohle Yohannan, author and cultural historian.

BEAUTY CULTURE opens to the public in Los Angeles on May 21, 2011 and runs through November 27, 2011.