Tag Archives: Richard Avedon

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

I live in a world now where everything is “delegated” to photography. Nothing is left to memory, your own memory. What I’m interested in, instead, are things that can’t be seen, not those that can be… I have always labored under the illusion—but I also think it was true—that nobody ever photographed me. Because my face is not for sale. The real me is not photographable.Benedetta Barzini, to Beniamino Barrese

Beniamino Barrese is the son of Benedetta Barzini—the first Italian model to appear on the cover of American Vogue—and his mother’s obsessive interlocutor throughout his documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER, one of the year’s best.

Summoned by Diana Vreeland in the mid-1960s to come to New York for a few weeks, Barzini stayed for a few years, a sought-after subject of Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, and Andy Warhol, a confident of Gerard Malanga and Salvador Dalí, and an acquaintance of Marcel Duchamp.

Barzini was a double-rebel. Modeling in Manhattan put a necessary distance between Barzini and her parents—heiress Giannalisa Feltrinelli and writer Luigi Barzini, Jr., author of The Italians. But the trajectory of second-wave feminism in the 1970s opened Barzini’s eyes to the ornamental condition of women, and she returned to Italy and became an activist and left-wing academic.

I asked myself this question: Why do we have prototypes of beauty? Why are models at the bow of the ship and the other women are squashed together into the stern? Why? Because men invent women… Maybe it would be better if female bodies disappeared from men’s imaginations.Benedetta Barzini

Barzani explains to her son that the camera is a dangerous liar because within its capture of arbitrary moments, it “freezes” life “within a limited boundary,” contaminating thought and inscribing conformity. “I don’t like frozen things… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a hundred million photos of sunsets. Frankly, they’re all the same. But they weren’t the same when you saw them.”

Barzini is by turns loving and exasperated with her son and his never-ending investment in images and their documentation. Yet Barzini still models herself—recently appearing in Simone Rocha‘s Fall-Winter 2017 show in London. Nothing if not contradictory, Barzini wants to remove herself from a world she finds deplorable, railing against ambiguity yet unsure which entrance to the void she should walk through. She explains to Barrese that their work together on this film is an act of “separation.” The filmmaker sees it differently, and together they find a sense of an ending.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

Now playing.

Laemmle Monica Film Center

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica.

Quad Cinema

34 West 13th Street, New York City.

Beniamino Barrese, The Disappearance of My Mother (2019), from top: Benedetta Barzini (3); Barrese and Barzini (2); Richard Avedon spread of Barzini in American Vogue; Barzini on the cover of Vogue Italia, September 1967; Simone Rocha Fall-Winter 2017 show, London; Andy Warhol, Benedetta Barzini Screen Test, 1966; Barzini and Marcel Duchamp, filmed at the artist’s Cordier and Ekstrom Gallery opening by Warhol, 1966 (2); The Disappearance of My Mother U.S. poster; Barzini (5). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the photographers, Benedetta Barzini, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Condé Nast, and Kino Lorber.

POP AMÉRICA

Featuring nearly 100 works of Latinx and Latin-American art, the traveling show POP AMÉRICA—1965–1975—the first exhibition to present a vision of Pop on the American continent as a whole”—is now on view at the Block Museum of Art, just north of Chicago.*

The exhibition is guest curated by Duke University professor Esther Gabara.

POP AMÉRICA—1965–1975

Through December 8.

Block Museum of Art

Northwestern University

40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston.

*Nasher Museum director Sarah Schroth.

Pop América, from top: Rupert GarcíaUnfinished Man, 1968, acrylic on canvas, courtesy of the Rena Bransten Gallery, San Fransisco, photograph by John Janca; Antonio Berni, Mediodia, 1976 , acrylic and collage on canvas, collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin; Marta Minujín, Frac-asado , 1975, mixed-media dress on stand and metal crown of thorns, Estrellita B. Brodsky Collection, courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York and Buenos Aires; Antonio Caro, Colombia Coca-Cola, 1976, enamel on sheet metal, edition 11/ 25, collection of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, courtesy of Casas Riegner, Bogota; Felipe Ehrenberg, Caja no. 25495, 1968, acrylic on wooden box with marbles, collection of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, courtesy of Reina María de Lourdes Hernández Fuentes; Eduardo Costa, Fashion Fiction I, 1966–1970, 24-karat gold, photograph by Albano Garcia; Eduardo Costa, Fashion Fiction I, Vogue, February 1, 1968, modeled by Marisa Berenson, photograph by Richard Avedon, © the Richard Avedon Foundation; Marisol EscobarMi mamá y yo, 1968, steel and aluminum, collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, © 2018 Estate of Marisol, licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Robert Indiana, Study for Viva HemisFair poster, 1967, collage and graphite on board, collection of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, San Antonio, courtesy of the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, © 2018 Morgan Art Foundation Ltd., licensed by ARS; Rubens GerchmanTropicália ou panis et circencis, 1968, Philips album cover, collection of Marcelo Noah and Marina Bedran, © Rubens Gerchman Institute, Rio de Janeiro, image courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, photograph by Peter Paul Geoffrion; Raúl MartínezEl vaquero, circa 1969, acrylic on black-and-white photograph, Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection, image courtesy of the Raúl Martínez Estate, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba, and Corina Matamoros; Hugo Rivera-ScottPop América, 1968, collage on cardboard, photograph by Jorge Brantmayer. Images courtesy and © the artists, the photographers, the McNay Art Museum, the Nasher Museum, and the Block Museum.

FUNNY FACE, PARIS BLUES

Pink is the navy blue of India. — Diana Vreeland

Long before her international fame as editor-in-chief of Vogue in the sixties and the “Empress of Fashion” at the Met’s Costume Institute in the seventies and eighties, Diana Vreeland was a legend in Manhattan creative circles. As Harper’s Bazaar‘s fashion editor, she was the inspiration for Allison Du Bois in the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin-Moss Hart musical Lady in the Dark (1941). And Kay Thompson played Maggie Prescott, a version of Vreeland, in the dazzling Paramount musical FUNNY FACE (1957, directed by Stanley Donen).

Upon discovering Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn), a lovely, philosophical clerk in a Greenwich Village bookstore, Prescott and photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire, in a role based on Richard Avedon) sweep Jo uptown for a test shoot. Maggie orders her office minions to chop off Jo’s hair and paint her with a “marvelous mouth.” Jo resists, but gives in once she realizes her new modeling gig comes with a paid trip to Paris, home of Jean-Paul Sartre.

This weekend, as part of its series Runaway Hollywood—Global Production in a Postwar World, the UCLA Film and Television Archive will screen FUNNY FACE, followed by the black-and-white Paul Newman-Sidney Poitier vehicle PARIS BLUES (1961, directed by Martin Ritt). The story of two American jazz musicians in Paris, the tourists they fall for (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll), and the Latin Quarter dives at the center of their expat scene, PARIS BLUES features a score composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

FUNNY FACE and PARIS BLUES

Saturday, July 27, at 7:30 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater—Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face; Kay Thompson performing the “Think Pink” number; Thompson, Fred Astaire, and Hepburn after wrapping up “Bonjour, Paris!”; Verve album cover; Diahann Carroll and Sidney Poitier in Paris Blues; Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman; Louis Armstrong (left), Poitier, and Newman on set.

VINCE ALETTI’S ISSUES

Who better than Vince Aletti to organize and aggregate a virtual tour of his massive and coveted collection of periodicals into the pages of a deluxe art book?

Something like this awaits the readers of ISSUES, a new publication from Phaidon.

The book includes work by Diane Arbus, Corinne Day, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Edward Steichen, Toni Frissell, Irving Penn, Horst, Collier Schorr, Inez Van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin, Bill Cunningham, and Cindy Sherman.

VINCE ALETTI—ISSUES: A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN FASHION MAGAZINES (London: Phaidon, 2019).

From top: Horst P. Horst, Vogue, June 1, 1940, cover model Lisa Fonssagrives; Melvin Sokolsky, Harper’s Bazaar, March 1963, model Simone D’Aillencourt; Vince Aletti‘s apartment, photographed by Jason Schmidt, courtesy of the photographer and Phaidon; Corinne Day, The Face, July 1990, model Kate Moss.

HILTON ALS — A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN

“Troubled times get the tyrants and prophets they deserve. During our current epoch, the revival of interest in author James Baldwin has been particularly intense. This is in part due, of course, to his ability to analyze and articulate how power abuses through cunning and force and why, in the end, it’s up to the people to topple kingdoms.

“As a galvanizing humanitarian force, Baldwin is now being claimed as a kind of oracle. But by claiming him as such, much gets erased about the great artist in the process, specifically his sexuality and aestheticism, both of which informed his politics.” — Hilton Als*

GOD MADE MY FACE—A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN—a group show curated by Hilton Als, featuring the work of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Alvin Baltrop, Beauford Delaney, Marlene Dumas, Ja’Tovia Gary, Glenn Ligon, Alice Neel, Cameron Rowland, Kara WalkerJane Evelyn Atwood, and James Welling—is on view through mid-February.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Metrograph and Als will present a series of films featuring Baldwin through the years, at home and abroad.

GOD MADE MY FACE—

A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN*

Through February 16.

David Zwirner

525 and 533 West 19th Street, New York City.

HILTON ALS ON JAMES BALDWIN FILM SERIES

Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2.

Metrograph

7 Ludlow Street, New York City.

See “The Energy of Joy: Hilton Als in conversation with David Bridel and Mary-Alice Daniel,” PARIS LA 16 (2019): 217–221.

From top: Marlene Dumas, James Baldwin, 2014, from the Great Men series exhibited at Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, image credit: Marlene Dumas and Bernard Ruijgrok PiezographicsBeauford Delaney, Dark Rapture, 1941, oil on canvas; Alvin Baltrop, The Piers (man sitting), 1975-1986, photograph; Richard AvedonJames Baldwin, writer, Harlem, New York, 1945, © The Richard Avedon Foundation; Ja’Tovia Gary, An Ecstatic Experience, 2015, video still; Jane Evelyn AtwoodJames Baldwin with bust of himself sculpted by Larry Wolhandler, Paris, France, 1975 (detail), gelatin silver print. All images courtesy David Zwirner.