NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO PRESENT EVOCATIVE AND MOVING IMAGES BY RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER ANNIE LEIBOVITZ
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage
On View November 21, 2014 – February 22, 2015
NEW YORK, NY (August 19, 2014) – The New-York Historical Society will celebrate a renowned photographer’s creative eye and unique cultural perspective in Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. On view at New-York Historical from November 21, 2014 through February 22, 2015, this will be the final stop on the national tour of Pilgrimage, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Pilgrimage charts a new direction for Annie Leibovitz, one of America’s best-known living photographers. Unlike her staged and carefully lit portraits made on assignment for magazines and advertising clients, the photographs in this exhibition were taken simply because Leibovitz was moved by the subject. Featuring 78 photographs taken between April 2009 and May 2011 – six of them taken in New York – the exhibition speaks in a commonplace language to the photographer’s curiosity about the world she inherited, spanning landscapes both dramatic and quiet, interiors of living rooms and bedrooms, and objects that are talismans of past lives.
“Annie Leibovitz is one of the great photographers of our time, a visionary who can capture moments and transform them into indelible images that linger in our cultural consciousness,” said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “The photographs in Pilgrimage are haunting, moving and often surprising, and we look forward to sharing their emotional power with audiences in New York.”
Although there are no people in Leibovitz’s pictures, the images are, in a certain sense, portraits of subjects that shaped the photographer’s distinctly American view of her cultural inheritance. Visiting the homes of iconic figures including Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pete Seeger and Elvis Presley, as well as places such as Niagara Falls, Old Faithful and the Yosemite Valley, Leibovitz let her instincts and intuitions guide her to related subjects – hence the title “Pilgrimage.” Some of the pictures focus on the remaining traces of photographers and artists she admires, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Ansel Adams and Robert Smithson.
Highlights on view at New-York Historical include haunting images of Abraham Lincoln’s hat and gloves, worn on the night he was assassinated; Elvis Presley’s television at Graceland, the screen shattered by a bullet; and Emily Dickinson’s only surviving dress, a simple white frock. Among the photographs taken by Leibovitz in New York are Eleanor Roosevelt’s living room and desk from Val-Kill Cottage in Hyde Park, the Yonkers warehouse of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and Pete Seeger’s workroom in Cold Spring.
“From the beginning, when I was watching my children stand mesmerized over Niagara Falls, this project was an exercise in renewal,” said Annie Leibovitz. “It taught me to see again.”
Pilgrimage is an evocative and deeply personal statement by a photographer whose career now spans more than forty years, encompassing a broad range of subject matter, history and stylistic influences. Together the pictures show Leibovitz at the height of her powers and pondering how photographs, including her own, shape a narrative of history that informs the present.
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage is organized for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Bernie Stadiem Endowment Fund provided support for the exhibition. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum's traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.
The touring exhibition was organized by guest curator Andy Grundberg, former New York Times photography critic and associate provost and dean of undergraduate studies at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. New-York Historical’s presentation was coordinated by Marilyn Kushner, Curator and Head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.
The exhibition is presented in conjunction with a book by Annie Leibovitz, Pilgrimage, published by Random House. It is available for purchase at the New-York Historical Society Museum Store and at bookstores nationwide.
On Tuesday, February 10 at 6:30 pm, the New-York Historical Society will present “An Evening with Annie Leibovitz” during which Leibovitz will discuss the project’s origin and evolution.
About Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz’s large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time. Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student. In 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. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, her work with actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as her fashion photographs, expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. Leibovitz has published several books and has exhibited widely. She is a Commandeur in the French government’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America's pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
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