PORTRAITS OF POWER
Veteran jour nalists L eonard Downie Jr., and Sally Quinn, were among Washington VIPs attending the Sept. 9 opening reception at the Corcoran Gallery of Art of “Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power.”
Considered the country’s preeminent portraitist, the now-deceased Mr. Avedon spent his career photographing the faces of politics, several now exhibited for the first time: about 250 photographs, snapped by the artist from the 1950s until his death in 2004.
One of his last por traits, which especially wowed the Corcoran crowd, is of an obviously younger-looking Barack Obama following his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The photographer seemed to possess a knack for pulling rising stars from the deep pools of ordinary politicians, including a handsome newcomer named Jimmy Carter.
And yes, that is former Defense Secretar y Donald H. Rumsfeld proudly sporting his large 1970s-era eyeglasses and frames, which literally encompass half of his youthful face.
Hats off to Paul Roth, the Corcoran’s curator of photography and media arts, for organizing the unprecedented exhibit, which can best be described as a walk through American history. Portraits of Power runs through Jan. 25, 2009.