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Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast
2017.1.20 - 2017.3.5
Central Gallery, Nave and Long Gallery
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“Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast,” on view at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) from 20 January through 5 March 2017, offers a comprehensive survey of the century-long history of fashion photography as pictured and written by Condé Nast, the prominent American magazine publisher that pioneered the development of the modern fashion magazine through titles such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Glamour. Occupying the Central Gallery, Nave, and Long Gallery, the exhibition draws together a kaleidoscopic selection of prints by more than 80 iconic photographers including Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, and Mario Testino, marking the public presentation of many of these works for the first time in China since their publication. It also includes an exceptional collection of original magazines, illustrating how some of the images first circulated. These rare materials were selected from the Condé Nast archives in New York, Paris, Milan, and London. First launched in 2012, “Coming into Fashion” has since traveled to institutions in twelve cities including Berlin, Milan, Edinburgh, Paris, Moscow, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Taipei.

Fashion photographs – glamorous, provocative, beautiful, accomplished, magical – have always been associated with some of the most significant names in the history of photography. This has been the case since the advent of fashion photography in the early years of the twentieth century: the great American photographer Edward Steichen took what might be considered the first fashion photographs in 1911, and since then many key practitioners have turned fashion photography into an art form. Today, fashion photographers are exhibited, as artists, in the world’s most prestigious museums, and their photographs sold by galleries and auction houses for considerable prices. Each year publishers release new books dedicated to the best of the genre.

For many fashion photographers, it was the editors and art directors at Condé Nast publications, such as Edna Woolman Chase, Diana Vreeland, Alexander Liberman, and Franca Sozzani, the late Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia who recently passed away on 22 December 2016, that launched their careers. Since his earliest days as a publisher in the very first years of the twentieth century, Condé Nast was a gifted talent scout. By surrounding himself with great artists, he placed Vogue, in addition to his other magazines (most notably Vanity Fair and Glamour, as well as the foreign editions of Vogue), at the forefront of the photographic avant-garde. The Condé Nast studios in New York, Paris, and London were laboratories of creativity, employing artists eager to capture and show off the gems of haute couture.

This exhibition, unprecedented in both scale and volume, looks at early work by such luminaries as Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, David Bailey, Guy Bourdin, Corinne Day, Deborah Turbeville, Sølve Sundsbø, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, and Tim Walker as it appeared in the pages of Condé Nast magazines. This creative collaboration has kept fashion photography – and Condé Nast – innovative and often challenging but always able to capture the style of the day.

Regarding the presentation of this exhibition in Beijing, UCCA Director Philip Tinari observes: “UCCA has an established tradition of regularly presenting photography, and of engaging with both fashion and publishing. This is evident in a number of exhibitions held at UCCA in recent years, including ‘The Chinese Photobook’ (2015), ‘Beyond Words: Photography from The New Yorker’ (2012), and ‘Peter Lindbergh: The Unknown’ (2011). We find these explorations beyond the strict purview of contemporary art key to our project of building a critical and informed audience for visual culture in China today. We are excited to be working with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, and to be partnering with Vogue China to present this exhibition.”

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Download “Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast” press release. 

 

About the Exhibition

“Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast” is organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), an independent, non-profit curatorial organization with offices in Minneapolis, New York, Paris, and Lausanne. Curated by art historian Nathalie Herschdorfer, the exhibition is presented in association with Vogue China.

 

About the Curator

Nathalie Herschdorfer is a distinguished art historian who specializes in the history of photography. She is currently Director of the Museum of Fine Arts (Le Locle, Switzerland), and has also been working as a curator at the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography and as director of the photography festival Alt. +1000 in Switzerland for several years. Previously, she spent twelve years as a curator at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, where she worked on major exhibitions such as “Face: The Death of the Portrait” (2004), and retrospectives of Edward Steichen, Leonard Freed, Ray K. Metzker and Valérie Belin. She is the author of Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past (2011), editor of Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography (2012) and co-author, with William A. Ewing, of reGeneration: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today (2005 and 2010). Among her recent projects are the book NewSwissArchitecture (2015), and a Dictionary of Photography including over 1,200 concise yet fully detailed entries on all aspects of the subject (Thames & Hudson, 2015), the Chinese edition of which is forthcoming in 2017.

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Guy Bourdin
  • French Vogue, February 1955
  • Pigment print
  • Estate of Guy Bourdin
  • © Estate of Guy Bourdin. Reproduced by permission of Art + Commerce
Works in the Exhibition
 / 4 1
    • Erwin Blumenfeld
    • American Vogue, March 1945
    • Inkjet print from original transparency
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1945 Condé Nast
    • Edward Steichen
    • American Vogue, December 1923
    • Gelatin silver print
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1923 Condé Nast
    • Guy Bourdin
    • French Vogue, February 1955
    • Pigment print
    • Estate of Guy Bourdin
    • © Estate of Guy Bourdin. Reproduced by permission of Art + Commerce
    • David Bailey
    • American Vogue, April 1962
    • Gelatin silver print
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1962 Condé Nast
    • John Rawlings
    • American Vogue, March 1943
    • Inkjet print
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1943 Condé Nast
    • Constantin Joffé
    • American Vogue, September 1945
    • Inkjet print from original transparency
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1945 Condé Nast
    • Deborah Turbeville
    • American Vogue, May 1975
    • Gelatin silver print
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1975 Condé Nast
    • Clifford Coffin
    • American Vogue, June 1949
    • Inkjet print from original transparency
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1949 Condé Nast
    • Norman Parkinson
    • Glamour, October 1949
    • Modern gelatin silver print
    • Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive
    • © Norman Parkinson Limited. Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive
    • Sølve Sundsbø
    • Love, Spring/Summer 2011
    • Digital print
    • Courtesy the artist
    • © Sølve Sundsbø/Art + Commerce
    • Miles Aldridge
    • Vogue Italia, September 2002
    • Digital print
    • Courtesy the artist
    • © Miles Aldridge
    • Sebastian Kim
    • Teen Vogue, January 2011
    • Inkjet print
    • Courtesy the artist
    • © Sebastian Kim
    • Albert Watson
    • American Vogue, May 1977
    • Digital print
    • Condé Nast Archive
    • © 1977 Condé Nast
    • Peter Lindbergh
    • Vogue Italia, March 1989
    • Gelatin silver print
    • Courtesy the artist
    • © Peter Lindbergh
    • Inez & Vinoodh
    • French Vogue, October 2002
    • Inkjet print
    • Courtesy the artists and Gagosian Gallery
    • © Courtesy Inez & Vinoodh and Gagosian Gallery
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Videos
  • "Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast" Exhibition Opening
    3'48''
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