Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of attending a press preview of the new Annenberg Space for Photography’s exhibition, Beauty CULTure. It’s an expansive show with hundreds of images and on first impression, all about beauty we’ve seen reflected in fashion magazines over the years, but fortunately the exhibition goes deeper and explores the ideas of beauty and aging, gender, and race. It features works from iconic photographers such as Albert Watson, Bert Stern, Herb Ritts, Man Ray, Jean-Paul Goude, Guy Bordin, Horst, Melvin Sololsky, Matthew Rolston, Lauren Greenfield, Susan Anderdon Tyen, Patricia Lay Dorsey, and many more.
The Annenberg describes the exhibition as “a seminal examination of photography’s role in capturing and defining notions of modern female beauty and how these images profoundly influence our lives in both celebratory and disturbing ways. Through different lenses focused on the body beautiful, the exhibition examines both traditional and unconventional definitions of beauty, challenging stereotypes of gender, race and age. It explores the links between beauty and violence, glamour and sexuality and the cost (in its multiple meanings) of beauty.
The highlight was a 30 minute documentary presentation created for the exhibition and directed by Lauren Greenfield, who manages to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly business of beauty. Beauty CULTure opens to the public in Los Angeles on May 21, 2011 and runs through November 27, 2011.