The exhibition explores the ways in which photography and celebrity have interacted and changed, with portraits from the magazine’s early period (1913–1936) displayed in conjunction with works from the contemporary Vanity Fair (1983–present). The Los Angeles presentation will be the only U.S. stop on the exhibition’s international tour.
In 1913, Vanity Fair launched with the birth of modernism, the dawning of the Jazz Age, and the groundbreaking Armory Show that introduced avantgarde art to the American public. Publisher Condé Nast (1873–1942) partnered with editor Frank Crowninshield (1872–1947) to create a magazine that would engage with modern culture and innovation in the arts. Vanity Fair portraits by Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Baron De Meyer, Man Ray, George Hurrell and later Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Harry Benson, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber capture cultural and celebrity icons such as Gloria Swanson, Louise Brooks, Anna May Wong, and Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Noёl Coward, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Jesse Owens, James Joyce, Katharine Hepburn, and Fred and Adele Astaire during Vanity Fair's vintage age. More recent portraits include those of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kate Winslet, Lance Armstrong, George Clooney, a disrobed and pregnant Demi Moore (1991), a formal portrait of President Bush’s Afghan- War Cabinet (2002), and most recently actresses Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley posing naked with designer Tom Ford (2006).
After LACMA’s presentation, the exhibition will complete its tour at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia (June 12–August 30, 2009).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art Web Site