© Annie Leibovitz
Just found out via Lenny’s blog that the Corcoran Museum of Art (yes, evidence to the contrary aside, it’s about ART!) will be hosting two photography shows this Fall, by the obscure photographers Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams. What! You’ve never seen their work before? Well don’t worry this Fall will be your opportunity. For those of you who missed the Corcoran’s landmark First Ladies gown show, fear not, your bubble-gum dreams and cotton-candy wishes will all be fulfilled cum September.
Now, I’ve got nothing against Ansel Adams, a good guy. But I think the Nature Conservancy did a good job of media saturating him in the 90’s. I’ve seen five Ansel Adams’ shows in as many years without even trying. My point is let’s see someone new. And by that I do not mean the “Speaking Truth to Power” exhibit by Eddie Adams that was the Corcoran’s last banal attempt at social documentary (I believe the RFK foundation underwriting it had a lot to do with it, so I am not holding you, beloved yet wayward museum personally responsible). And if we can’t see someone new, let’s see someone we haven’t seen in every museum, gallery, and magazine cover we’ve passed by on the racks for the last decade. And yes, I have tried to avert my gaze.
The thing with Annie L. is that she portrays people as they wish to be seen, and I feel like i’ve eaten a really greasy meal when i look at her over-produced work. And when i look at her documentary work, sorry, same effect, i want to puke. No ambiguity in her photos what so ever. No questions asked, and certainly no answers given.
It wouldn’t even have to be someone new to the scene to appease this ire-filled writer. I think Irving Penn would do nicely. An exhibit of his palladium contact sheets in 2005 at the Nattie Gallery only left me salivating for more. Leibovitz and Adams make me feel like I’m watching that triumvirate train wreck Lohan, Spears, and Hilton over and over again on the news. (The news!) It’s like the Corcoran caught the bug that our national media has, that in spite of a multiplicity of channels and choices, we are in a groundhog day where we change the channel, pick up another A section and it’s the same story told over and over again. We do need more arts education.
© Irving Penn