• Richard Avedon, The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Convention, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1963, black-and-white photograph.

    “Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power”

    Corcoran Gallery of Art
    500 17th Street, NW
    September 13, 2008–January 25, 2009

    Curated by Paul Roth

    Himself a figure of considerable clout, Richard Avedon understood power and cultivated his access to it throughout his career, often via prominent media venues like Rolling Stone, Vogue, and the New Yorker. The 231 portraits that constitute this election-time exhibition chronicle fifty-four years of national politics—and celebrate the cult of self-promotion that now permeates our culture. An emphasis on male Washington insiders and the military elite is balanced by images of lesser-known figures, including 1960s-era student civil rights workers Jerome Smith and Isaac Reynolds, gay members of the armed forces, and Sgt. Joseph Washam, a wounded veteran of the current Iraq war. Ultimately, the show portrays collaboration between the photographer and the photographed, and their shared recognition of a mutual and epic ambition.

  • Yinka Shonibare, Odile and Odette, 2005, still from a color video, 14 minutes 28 seconds.

    Yinka Shonibare

    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    June 26–September 20, 2009

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
    140 George Street The Rocks
    September 24, 2008–February 1, 2009

    Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Capital Gallery 600 Maryland Avenue SW Suite 7001
    November 11, 2009–March 7, 2010

    Curated by Rachel Kent

    In traditional folktales, the trickster serves to reveal cultural complexities, and as critic Jean Fisher has noted, this character has “a global reach,” popping up in narratives everywhere, subverting rules, and confusing codes. So, too, Member of the British Empire Yinka Shonibare, whose multireferential sculptures, installations, paintings, videos, and photographs have reverse-colonized the art world, peopling it with a cast of color-saturated, quasi-surreal masqueraders (often headless and usually engaged in extravagantly absurd pursuits). Featuring twenty works from the past twelve years, this major midcareer survey will highlight Shonibare’s newest output—and promises a carnival of both visual and postcolonial complexity.