Sunday at the Brooklyn Museum

James was late for brunch at Mayrose, and I was pretty sure we wouldn’t make it to the museum. He convinced me that we should go, and I’d be back for my 4PM meeting. Kudos to you James Weinman, though you were wrong about why we should go.

A little while ago, one hung over morning this autumn I watched a spot on NY1 about the Ron Mueck exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I was enchanted by the way Mueck painstakingly installed every hair on the man’s head he was sculpting. When my dear friend James suggested we check out the Mueck exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum this weekend, I responded with great enthusiasm. We also agreed that we would breeze through the Leibovitz first, having read the lukewarm review in the NYTimes and after hearing various friends assert their own disappointment with the show.
Well, this just goes to show you that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, everything you read. Annie Leibovitz’s newest collection of work, A Photographer’s Life: 1990 – 2005, will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum until January 21st, 2007. It moved me to tears. It is an intimate gift from the photographer, and not one that should be disregarded for any reason. I implore you to go.

The exhibition chronicles the last 15 years of Leibovitz’s life including photographs of the birth of her daughter Sarah, the deaths of Susan Sontag and Leibovitz’s father, the photos of Demi Moore while pregnant, and many other captivating images of celebrities as well as Leibovitz’s family (these were my favorite). This collection was born from a book of photos memorializing Susan Sontag that Leibovitz was trying to put together shortly after death. The result is a vast selection of works, some incredibly private (photos of the cesarian birth of her daughter Sarah), some are celebrated, public (Brad Pitt, 1994), but all put together with the singular goal of telling the narrative of the last 15 years of Leibovitz’s life, frought with births, deaths, tragedy and ecstasy. She captures the smallest, most specific moments in the eyes of her subjects, and the subsequent images are thrilling to behold. They threaten to speak, as though a live person was trapped on the paper their likeness was printed on.

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