X-hibit Closed: Guild Hall: ‘Avedon’s America’ — Photographs by Richard Avedon



Richard Avedon, China Machado, evening pajamas by Galitzine, London, 1965.

Guild Hall Museum is pleased to announce Avedon’s America, on view from August 12 – October 9, 2017. Displaying over fifty years of Richard Avedon’s photographic career, the show is a comprehensive presentation of black and white images that are as visually striking as they are psychologically intriguing. Avedon’s work stands as a testament to his dedicated desire to understand the unifying beauty in diversity.

In consideration of the current global political landscape, Avedon’s America is a decidedly timely exhibit, focused on America and its disparate people. The breadth of portraits on view inspires a deeper understanding of the many characters, ideas, and relationships that shaped the cultural discourse of 20th century America. From the Civil and Women’s Rights Movements to the Vietnam War, and with pioneering figures in visual, performing, and literary arts, subjects include William F. Buckley, John Cage, Janis Joplin, Florence Kennedy, China Machado, Malcolm X, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.

The exhibition is co-organized and curated by the Richard Avedon Foundation.


Richard Avedon, The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Convention, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1963.


Starting at the age of twenty-two, Avedon began as a freelance photographer, taking portraits and photographing models and fashions on the streets, in nightclubs, at the circus, on the beach and in other uncommon locations. It was through this work that he began to develop his style that would become a hallmark of his art: endless resourcefulness and inventiveness. He quickly became the lead photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, followed by long tenures at both Vogue and The New Yorker.

From the beginning of his career, Avedon was fascinated by photography’s capacity for evoking the life and personality of his subjects. He registered poses, attitudes, hairstyles, clothing and accessories as vital, revelatory elements of an image. He had complete confidence in the two-dimensional nature of photography, the rules of which he bent to his stylistic and narrative purposes. As he wryly said, “My photographs don’t go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues.”

Avedon’s brand-defining work and long associations with Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace, and dozens of other companies resulted in some of the best-known advertising campaigns in American history. These campaigns gave Avedon the freedom to pursue major projects in which he explored his cultural, political and personal passions.

Richard Avedon, Santa Monica Beach # 4, September 30, 1963



The Richard Avedon Foundation was founded by Richard Avedon in 2004. It is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation with the charitable mission to preserve and promote Richard Avedon’s photographs and legacy. The Foundation administers Avedon’s copyrights, and since its founding has licensed the use of hundreds of Avedon images to publications, art catalogues, and entities around the world. In addition, the Foundation has published monographs of Avedon’s work such as Woman in the Mirror (2005), Performance (2008), and Dior by Avedon (2015). The Foundation supports its mission through the sale of editioned Avedon photographs (all printed during Avedon’s lifetime), licensing, and other partnerships and fundraising. The Foundation’s most long-term project is to complete the digitization of Avedon’s archive, which contains approximately 500,000 images in analog form, as well as Avedon’s documents and papers.

Richard Avedon, William F. Buckley, Jr., pundit, New York City, July 22, 1975


Harvey Ginsberg Postcard Collection. Courtesy of the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

Guild Hall is an arts, entertainment, and education center for the community. Its primary focus is to inform, inspire, and enrich our diverse audiences by presenting programs of the highest quality in the visual and performing arts, to collaborate with artists of eastern Long Island, to foster the artistic spirit and to provide a meeting place for all. In 1931, Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse dedicated Guild Hall as a cultural center for the community. Each year, more than 40,000 visitors take advantage of the hundreds of events offered by our three departments.

The Guild Hall Museum features world-class art exhibitions of internationally renowned visual artists and emerging regional artists. The Museum also develops local talent through a series of community art exhibitions. One of the principal directives of the Museum is to collect, preserve and present the works of accomplished East End artists with a significant permanent collection and archive approximately 2,100 works of art.



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