On the occasion of her online exhibition ‘Still Life,’ opening 20th June, American photographer Annie Leibovitz will debut ‘Upstate’ (2020), a new print comprising a grid of photographs taken by the artist while in quarantine. 100% of the proceeds of sale of this edition of 100 prints will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization as part of Hauser & Wirth’s #artforbetter initiative.
The exhibition ‘Still Life’ explores the importance of a sense of place. It includes images from a project completed by the artist before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic alongside a suite of recent photographs made during the lockdown. The exhibition showcases Leibovitz’s singular ability to combine portraiture and photojournalism with profound humanism and sly wit.
The earlier photographs in the exhibition are from a project Leibovitz made for herself in order to explore places inhabited by people from the past who mean something to her. ‘It wasn’t an assignment,’ she says. ‘It was very personal. I traveled alone to places that interested me. There were no people in the pictures. I photographed houses and landscapes and objects that belonged to people who were no longer there.’
The inner lives of artists are reflected in the delicate pressed flowers of Emily Dickinson’s childhood herbarium and the worn surface of Virginia Woolf’s writing desk. On a visit to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu, New Mexico, home, Leibovitz found a rattlesnake skeleton displayed under glass on a coffee table, and at O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch house she photographed the small red hill that so often appeared as a monumental symbol of the American Southwest in O’Keeffe’s paintings. During a trip to England, she was shown bird specimens preserved by Charles Darwin, the basis of his life’s work. These journeys were exercises in personal and artistic renewal for Leibovitz.
The photographs from which the ‘Upstate’ grid are drawn document the landscape surrounding the artist’s home in upstate New York, where she has been living during the quarantine period. Leibovitz began taking the pictures there after looking back at her earlier work. ‘I did finally start taking pictures here,’ she says. ‘Our road at night. Pieces of a puzzle based on the Waterhouse painting of the Lady of Shallot that my daughter is working on. A fish dropped by a heron. Are these new pictures even photographs? I don’t know. They are more a response to this moment.’
Annie Leibovitz. Still Life Live Date: 5 June 2020
For more information or to purchase ‘Upstate’ visit: www.hauserwirth.com
About the Artist
Annie Leibovitz has achieved international recognition for her photographs, which serve to shape both the contemporary cultural imagination and our retrospective view of the late twentieth century. Through innate qualities of personality and talent, she achieves an intimate and authentic understanding of her subjects that is beautifully transcribed in her work.
Her pictures began appearing in Rolling Stone in 1970, when she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. She was soon the magazine’s chief photographer. In 1983 she became the first contributing photographer to the revived Vanity Fair and in the early 1990s began contributing regularly also to Vogue. Her early work was based in photojournalism. Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson were her primary influences. Photojournalism remains a key element in everything she does, but it is as a portraitist, particularly a conceptual portraitist, that she is most well known and influential. She has been a working photographer for fifty years and her large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.
Supporting COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization
Hauser & Wirth will donate 10% of the proceeds of the sale of works from this exhibition to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization as part of the gallery’s ongoing #artforbetter initiative.
To learn more about the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO visit: covid19responsefund.org