SOURCE: Phoenix Art Museum

January 03, 2008 11:00 ET

Phoenix Art Museum to Showcase Work of Two Influential American Legends With Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence and Chado Ralph Rucci Exhibitions

Iconic Photographer, Richard Avedon and Avant-Garde Couture Fashion Designer, Ralph Rucci to Be Featured in 2008

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - January 3, 2008) - Phoenix Art Museum is set to host two monumental upcoming exhibitions featuring two artistic greats -- Richard Avedon and Ralph Rucci -- both renowned in their respective industries and both iconic influencers to the world of fashion. On display from January 12 - April 13, 2008, Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence will showcase more than 50 photographs from the famed artist's collection, an unprecedented collaboration between Phoenix Art Museum and Center of Creative Photography. In addition, from March 21 - August 17, 2008, the Museum will be the exclusive home to Chado Ralph Rucci, an extraordinary fashion exhibition featuring more than 25 exquisite pieces created by renowned couture designer Ralph Rucci.

"Phoenix Art Museum is pleased to be able to celebrate the imaginative work of Richard Avedon and Ralph Rucci through these two moving exhibitions," said James K. Ballinger, the Museum's Sybil Harrington director. "Their contributions to the artistic community are tremendous -- each a true visionary in their respective trade capturing the spirit, emotion and prophetic character of the 20th century," he said.

Legendary photographer Richard Avedon is credited with being one of the most powerful photographers of our time. In 1994, American Photo Magazine ranked him first on their "Photography's Top 100" list, and said, "In an era of superstar photographers, he is still the quintessential superstar." Avedon garnered immense respect throughout his career, and this exhibition will serve as homage to the tremendous impact he had on the photography industry.

In the early years of his career, Avedon distinguished himself as one of the industry's leading fashion photographers. As a contributor to prominent magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, Avedon photographed the era's leading models. He highlighted designers' haute couture fashions by shooting his models in glamorous, sophisticated settings -- differentiating himself from other photographers who used traditional in-studio shots.

During the 1950s, Avedon shifted his creative focus and turned his attention toward photographing evocative portraits of prominent individuals. With a focus on the posture, expression and gestures of his subjects, he was able to capture powerful, emotional shots. His subjects included influential members of society, including artists, politicians, writers and intellectual figures. The exhibition will incorporate several of his most noted shots of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney that were featured in publications including Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.

Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence celebrates Avedon's storied seven-decade career by incorporating pieces that reflect the many phases of his work, and will be located in the Museum's Norton Photography Gallery.

"This exhibition showcases Avedon's evolution as an artist," Rebecca Senf, curator of photography for Phoenix Art Museum, said. "The public will be able to witness his greatness at capturing beauty in two different types of photography -- that of fashion and of individual portraits."

Consecutively, pioneering American designer Ralph Rucci will be bringing his Chado Ralph Rucci collection to Phoenix Art Museum straight from the runways of Paris, and will be on display in the United States for the first and only time. Distinguished as only the second American to be invited to be a member of the haute couture in Paris, Rucci has made powerful alliances and earned the respect of the best in the industry, elevating his status as one of the world's top designers.

"The Ralph Rucci exhibition is an unprecedented event to take place at Phoenix Art Museum and in the United States for that matter," said Dennita Sewell, curator of fashion design. "We are elated to have the opportunity to showcase the exquisite work of such a distinguished designer and revolutionary artist."

Rucci has been designing stunning ready-to-wear and made-to-order ensembles for the past 25 years. In 1994, he established the "Chado Ralph Rucci" label, choosing the name of the ancient Japanese tea ceremony which symbolizes respect, tranquility, grace and integrity -- the same elements he uses in the creation of his work. In 2002, Rucci was invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to present his first couture show in Paris. He was the first American to be included in the Chambre's official calendar since the 1940s. His designs are not only viewed as stylish fashion pieces, but are considered works of art themselves.

This exclusive fashion event will commence with a special runway show to kick off the five-month exhibition, on display in the Museum's Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery. With contributions made from Rucci's personal archives along with those from private collections, the exhibition will feature ensembles that showcase the designer's signature styles and techniques, along with his intense attention to detail.

Ralph Rucci has chosen Phoenix Art Museum as the exclusive locale to unveil his elegant collections, straight from the runways of Paris Fashion Week. This is the first and only time that Rucci will be showcasing his designs in the United States. The exhibition will be laid out in such a way as to emulate the contemporary atmosphere of his fashion shows. Pieces ranging from sophisticated day wear to glamorous evening gowns will be featured alongside a runway, and will include high-quality photographs that will allow viewers to be fully exposed to the great detail of his work.

"This exhibition will allow Museum visitors to witness up-close the work of one of the world's most visionary fashion designers," said Sewell. "This is an opportunity that simply does not often come along to the general public, as viewings of clothing of this nature are usually reserved for the fashion elite."

About the Exhibitions

Exhibition dates:

Richard Avedon, Photographer of Influence: January 12 - April 13, 2008
Chado Ralph Rucci: March 21 - August 17, 2008

Exhibition details:

Phoenix Art Museum is located in downtown Phoenix at the corner of Central
Avenue and McDowell Road.

Admission to the exhibitions is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students
with a valid school ID, $4 for children ages 6-17 and free for children
under 6 and for Museum members.

Museum hours are as follows:

Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
First Friday Evenings: 6-10 p.m.

The Museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays

Educational programming:
Richard Avedon and the Liberal Sensibility
David A. Ross, guest lecturer
Tuesday, January 29, 7 p.m.
David A. Ross was a close friend of Richard Avedon for 25 years, beginning
when Mr. Ross worked with the artist on his first retrospective exhibition
held at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1978. Mr. Ross went on to direct the
Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Whitney Museum of American Art
and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Ross will explore Avedon's work
and the unique contribution he made to the history of photography.

Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence
Tuesday, February 26, 7 p.m.
Norton Family Assistant Curator for Photography, Rebecca Senf, explores the
way Richard Avedon had an impact on the presentation of his
photography. This overview is followed by an opportunity to view the
photographs, ask questions and discuss work in the gallery.

Darkness and Light: Richard Avedon
Sunday, February 17, 1 p.m.
Learn more about photographer Richard Avedon through this American Masters
program on his life and work. Screened courtesy of Thirteen/WNET New York;
presented by No Festival Required in conjunction with Movies at the Museum.
Runtime: 90 minutes.

About Phoenix Art Museum:

The classically progressive design of the 203,000 sq. ft. Phoenix Art Museum integrates art and architecture with the Southwestern landscape, accommodating large traveling exhibitions and a collection of over 17,000 works in American, Asian, modern & contemporary, European, Latin American and Western American art and fashion design. Visitors also can enjoy the Sculpture Garden, the Thorne Miniature Rooms of historic interiors, PhxArtKids interactive space for children, Arcadia Farms at Phoenix Art Museum and The Museum Store. Visitors can learn more about the Museum's collection through its bilingual, random access MP3 audio guide, available at the admissions desk. The Museum recently opened its $50 million expansion project, which included the addition of a glass-enclosed lobby and entry plaza, four-level gallery wing, sculpture garden and expanded store.

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