This first retrospective of photographer Irving Penn’s work in almost 20 years features 146 photographs, drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, to chart the artist’s particular fascination with the transitory nature of style, both personal and public, within the larger history of modern art. It reveals how Penn (1917-2009) used photography to respond to social and cultural change by brilliantly describing surface appearances in ways that speak to the depths of human existence.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue ($45, softcover), co-published by The Irving Penn Foundation and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, with an essay by Merry Foresta and an introduction by Betsy Broun, the museum’s director.
American Art Museum
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