This exhibition will run through December 13th
American fashion photographer Irving Penn, who died in October, at the age of 92, used his craft and his subjects as vehicles for a civilizing enterprise. Against the bestiality and depredations of global warfare—Penn’s legendary tenure at Vogue began in 1943, in the depths of World War II—the photographer strove for humanity and calm; while the postwar world hummed with speed and increasingly youthful, violent energies, his ageless compositions served as models of balance, restraint, and order. Not that Penn turned his back on the world, or sanitized its inequities. Indeed, he brought working people, figures with inelegant body types, non-Western subjects, and all manner of mundane items into his studio along with influential personages and haute couture models. His prints, meanwhile, particularly those made in the platinum and dye transfer processes he mastered beginning in the 1960s, display varieties of inky luster that suggest intimacy with—rather than indifference to—the people and objects before his camera.The Art Institute has more than 180 individual Penn prints, donated to the Institute by Penn in 1995. Most will be on display in this tribute.
If you’re in the Chicago area before this exhibition leaves, this is an exhibition which no one should miss.
As I travel, I love seeing the work of other photographers as I hope you do. If you know of a new photographic exhibition which you think the Blog should publicize, please contact me.