We are constantly showered with images that tell us what it means to be beautiful and how to achieve beauty. Beauty can generate praise, love and idolization. On the other hand, it can also lead to jealousy, challenge and controversy. A new exhibit called BEAUTY CULTURE from the Annenberg Space for Photography explores the definition of feminine beauty and its role in modern society.
With works from numerous respected fashion, beauty and pop-culture photographers and visual artists, the exhibit encourages a critical dialogue of the pursuit of beauty, its glorification, and the multi-billion dollar industries that surround it. The exhibit features varying viewpoints on beauty as it has evolved through the last century and into the current one. It also presents the power of the still image in molding cultural ideals and expectations of feminine beauty.
Wallis Annenberg, chairman of the board, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, explains, “As much as beauty can astonish and inspire, it can also corrupt and subvert, rendering all else—and even itself—broken and obsolete. The great contemporary photographers do so much more than chronicle and celebrate what is beautiful in our time. They dig beneath it, they confront our compulsion with it, and they turn art’s mirror on ourselves as well. I can’t think of a more important conversation for the Annenberg Space to have.”
In addition to more than 170 photographs featured in the print gallery, BEAUTY CULTURE will showcase nearly 500 digital images on high-resolution screens. The exhibition also includes a short documentary film directed by photographer and award-winning documentarian Lauren Greenfield. The IRIS Nights lecture series will continue BEAUTY CULTURE’s dialogue and examination of the impact of photography on the image of women. Cutting-edge photographers, filmmakers and stylists will discuss their work and stories from their creative quests to project, capture, reshape or challenge the prevailing vision of feminine ideals.