23 September 2008


LACMA gets all the cool exhibits. Premiering October 26 is Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008, showing works from the likes of Julian Broad, Cecil Beaton and the ubiquitous modern three - Mario Testino, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibowitz.

The time frame in the title is misleading. (Or at least it was for me. Who knew that the magazine ceased to exist from 1936 to 1983?) The exhibit will feature photographs from the first era of the magazine (1913 - 1936), mostly devoted to those that appeared during Frank Crowninshield's tenure as Editor. He was the one who removed the "Dress" from the magazine's original title "Dress and Vanity Fair," and decided to make the entire endeavor more literary. It all sounds too mythical, but Crowninshield is said to have been "the most cultivated, elegant, and endearing man in publishing, if not Manhattan." (Is "in publishing" supposed to be a qualifier or further proof of his attributes?)

The tale continues...apparently he also introduced cubism to the American public, roomed with Conde Nast, and was responsible for pulling Dorthy Parker out of caption writing. In his Editor's Letter in the first issue of the magazine, he wrote that "young men and young women, full of courage, originality, and genius, are everywhere to be met with." Slightly different than the magazine we know and sometimes love today with its Hollywood issues, established writers, nude starlets and obsession with the Kennedy clan. Worry not though, the 1983 - Present era will be represented as well. Pregnant Demi Moore and Miley Cirus, anyone?

I am forever a sucker for Conde Nast photos, celebrity or not...probably against my better judgment.

Don't hate it because it's sponsored by Burberry, either, everyone needs sponsors. The funny thing is, besides mere association with what should be some great photographs and the semblance of glamor, Burberry's aesthetic has little to do with that of the exhibit. This would have been better served by Asprey.

Oh, and Liz Goldwyn will also be showing her documentary on burlesque, Pretty Things...which is supposed to somehow tie into the portraits. More on burlesque later, though.

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