Power plays

By GREG COOK  |  May 21, 2010

The exhibit offers nine vintage photos plus 18 contact sheets that show the more than 200 shots he took to get the six that appeared in that February’s Harper’s Bazaar. Many of the prints seem washed out —the rich, burnished tones of his reproductions are missing. But in the contact sheets, you can track his thinking as he applies the mythmaking familiar from his fashion work.

The Kennedys might smile or squirm or mug, but Avedon picks shots in which they look stately. Three-year-old Caroline stands next to her father; his hand is on her shoulder, and she seems to be squinting into the future. Jackie and Caroline cradle six-week-old John Jr. Jackie poses in an evening gown. Jackie sits behind JFK, with her arm around him, the model couple.

Avedon works hard to fashion a calm, collected, regal portrait of the Kennedys. How could one resist seeing them as glamorous, young, fresh, and sexy after Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, Harry and Bess Truman, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt? But the shoot makes clear a curious phenomenon of our democracy — and perhaps a lesson for Ix K’abal Xook. Our rulers don’t have to commission artists to project their glory — our artists volunteer to do it for free.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Entertainment, Arts, Entertainment, and Media, Kennedys,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PERFECTLY HUMAN  |  April 16, 2014
    Sometimes I think you can understand everything about our society today by considering it through two themes — the perfection of technology versus the messily human handmade.
  •   THE LAST FRONTIER  |  April 02, 2014
    They say that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica haven’t been above freezing in millennia.
  •   ASSURED ABSTRACTIONS  |  March 19, 2014
    “The golden age of abstraction is right now,” ARTnews informed me last spring.
  •   COMMON GROUND  |  March 12, 2014
    “I did everything in the world to keep this from happening,” exclaims the assistant to the rich man in Kerry Tribe’s There Will Be ___ _.
  •   LOCAL LUMINARIES  |  March 05, 2014
    Reenacting a childhood photo, portraits of fabulous old ladies, and dollhouse meditations on architecture are among the artworks featured in the “2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition.”

 See all articles by: GREG COOK