Annie Leibovitz : A Photographer’s Life 1990 – 2005 / Exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien
Annie Leibovitz : A Photographer’s Life 1990 – 2005
30 October 2009 – 31 January 2010
The exhibition “Annie Leibovitz −A Photographer’s Life 1990−2005” at KUNST HAUS WIEN offers an unusual glimpse of the oeuvre of one of the best-known portrait photographers of our time. In addition to her portraits of famous personages, which have long since become icons of photographic art, the more than 150 works on display include photographs from Leibovitz’s private life that have never been exhibited before. The result is a unique chronology, a composite of family album, diary and assignment work. The exhibition was organised by the Brooklyn Museum, New York and is being sponsored by American Express.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer, Cumberland Island, Georgia, 1990
Photograph © Annie Leibovitz
From Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990 – 2005
Annie Leibovitz’s photographs for magazines have chronicled American popular culture since the 1970s. Accordingly, her world-famous portraits of artists and politicians form an important part of the exhibition: Mikhail Baryshnikov on the shore of Long Island, William S. Burroughs in Kansas, a heavily pregnant Demi Moore, Bill Clinton in the Oval Office, portraits of Agnes Martin, Mick Jagger, Mathew Barney, Chuck Close, Robert de Niro and Scarlett Johansson.
Annie Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Westport, Connecticut. Today she lives in New York with her daughters Sarah, Susan und Samuelle. Numerous photo series show scenes from the photographer’s private life: Her parents and her yearly growing circle of relatives are featured in sequences taken during family gatherings and jaunts to the seaside. The births of her three daughters appear alongside the illness and death of Leibovitz’s father. Photographs of travels to Venice, Berlin, Kyoto and Cairo focus on Leibovitz’s family and close friends. These highly personal works, which have the character of candid snapshots, contrast biographically and artistically with lesser known landscape photography by Annie Leibovitz, for example in Monument Valley in the USA or Wadi Rum in the Jordanian desert, and reportages such as the one of the siege of Sarajevo.
The photographer sees her work, which has been displayed in numerous museums throughout the world, as a unified whole: “I don’t have two lives,” Leibovitz says. “This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.” The exhibition can be read both as a very personal, even intimate chronology of one of the most celebrated photographers of our time and as the story of her development. Leibovitz herself says: “I have no single favourite photograph. What means the most to me is my work as a whole.”
Franz Patay, Director of KUNST HAUS WIEN, points out the longtime connections between Annie Leibovitz and KUNST HAUS WIEN: “This exhibition follows up on a presentation of works by Annie Leibovitz from the years 1970 to 1990 that was shown at KUNST HAUS WIEN in 1993. We are happy to enjoy such continuity in our cooperation, as a consequence of which we, as the only venue in Central Europe, are privileged to present this important exhibition.”
Courtesy Kunsthaus Wien – Museum Hundertwasser
Photograph © Annie Leibovitz