Don't miss this! I flew to Columbus, Ohio from California to view renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz's complete "Master Set" and other photographs from her diverse and broad range of work and I am glad I did.
More than 200 of her photographs are on view now through December 30, 2012 at the Wexner Center for the Arts on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio.
Annie Leibovitz is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Wexner Prize which recognizes an artist whose work reflects exceptional innovation and the highest standards of artistic quality and integrity.
I've visited exhibitions at many of the greatest museums in Europe, Asia and in the U.S., and the Annie Leibovitz exhibition ranks right up there with the best. The Wexner Center for the Arts is the first institution to be able to exhibit the complete "Master Set" which is a collection of 156 photographs personally selected by Annie Leibovitz.
The exhibition shows photographs spanning 40 years of Ms. Leibovitz' extraordinary career. The from early years as the Chief Photographer of Rolling Stone, to portraits of celebrities and notable people of the past spanning 40 years from Muhammad Ali, to President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth.
includes photographs from her recent book "Pilgrimage," a project featuring interiors, landscapes and talismanic objects attached to historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elvis Presley, Georgia O'Keefe, and Emily Dickinson, among others.
On November 9, I joined nearly 2,000 others to attend a conversation on stage between Annie Leibovitz and Rolling Stone's co-founder, publisher, and editor Jann S. Wenner at the Wexner Center for the Arts Mershon Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio.
Their collaboration at Rolling Stone in the 1970s is legendary. Their subsequent—and independent—roles are also legendary as interpreters and shapers of the social, cultural, and political history of America.
Annie Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. By 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape.
Annie Leibovitz was Rolling Stone's Chief Photographer, during the period when Ben Fong-Torres, our longtime columist on these pages was the senior music editor and writer for Rolling Stone.
At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life.
She has photographed U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama as well as hundreds of athletes, actors, artists, dancers, musicians, fashion designers, scientists, and business leaders. She has also created several influential advertising campaigns, including her award-winning portraits for American Express and the Gap.
By no means are all of Leibovitz’s subjects famous. In the special projects that became books on “women” and “music,” she brought her approach to portraiture to figures who might not necessarily be featured in a magazine.
She has spent significant amounts of time on stories that were not an assignment: the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, for instance, and the formation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov.
She was the official photographer of the World Cup Games in Mexico in 1986 and of the summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. She made a series of portraits of people living with AIDS in San Francisco, worked with the Nature Conservancy on a sequence of landscapes of wilderness areas, and documented the construction of Renzo Piano’s New York Times building.
Several collections of Leibovitz’s work have been published. They include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983); Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970–1990 (1991); Olympic Portraits (1996); Women (1999), in collaboration with Susan Sontag; American Music (2003); A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 (2006); Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008), a first-person commentary on her career; and Pilgrimage (2011).
Exhibitions of Leibovitz’s work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; the National Portrait Gallery in London; the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors. In 2006 she was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. The previous year, in a compilation of the 40 top magazine covers of the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), she held the top two spots (#1 for the photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken for Rolling Stone the day Lennon was shot, and #2 for the pregnant Demi Moore in Vanity Fair).
In 2009, she received the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achievement Award, ASME’s first Creative Excellence Award, and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London. She was the recipient of the 2012 Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle.
For more information go to www.wexarts.org