BEAUTY CULTURE – Cult or the Norm?

© Lauren Greenfield/INSTITUTE - Botox Injection

BEAUTY CULTURE the current exhibition at The Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, features 100’s of images from top photographer in fashion, beauty, and pop culture that take an in-depth look at how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society.

BEAUTY CULTURE encourages a social dialogue about the allure and mystique of the pursuit of female beauty, as well as the cult-like glorification and multi-billion dollar industries that surround it.

The exhibition illustrates the power of the still image in shaping cultural ideals and expectations of feminine beauty and photography’s undeniable influence on conceptions of the SELF.

Wallis Annenberg, chairman of the board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, says: “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.”

© 2009 Fadil Berisha - Carmen Dell'Orefice

A set of themes guides the quest for understanding both traditional and unconventional definitions of beauty this exhibition has set for itself. They are: Size and Color of beauty, Beauty Inc. the $300 billion dollar Cosmetics Industry, Beauty for Money: the Professional Model, Beauty from Cradle to Grave, Dreams on Paper, the Pin-Up Girl, Extreme Beauty, Pageant Beauty, Reaction and Revolution, The Hollywood Glamour Machine, The Marilyn Syndrome and Androgyny.

Showcasing images of performers, professional models and pop-culture icons BEAUTY CULTURE features portrait and editorial images of more than 33 world famous iconic people.

The exhibition is accompanied by a short documentary film directed by acclaimed photographer and award-winning documentarian Lauren Greenfield. It expands upon the print exhibit’s themes and features interviews with some of the above mentioned iconic people.

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.

© Felicia Webb – Backstage at Paul Smith

BEAUTY CULTURE runs through November 27, 2011 at The Annenberg Space for Photography 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, CA 90067.

For more information and exhibition hours

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