The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind with my family coming to visit. Since the weather forecast wasn't the greatest, one of our main goals while they were here was to hit up as many museums and galleries on our bucket list as possible. One of the exhibitions on our list was at the C/O Berlin, located in the Amerika Haus, for an Irving Penn retrospective.
The Amerika Haus in Berlin stands as an architectural treasure from the 1950s. After WWII, the building stood as a symbol of an ever-evolving relationship between the USA and Germany - culturally and politically - and sometimes even controversial. Although the house was has been the focal point of controversy in the 1960s, and even closed its doors to the public post-9/11 due to tightened security, the Amerika Haus has consistently served as a meeting place for culture and talks on democracy. After renovations, the Amerika Haus reopened housing the C/O Berlin, which organizes some 20 exhibitions in a year. Visual media of all kinds from the likes of Irving Penn, Nan Goldin, Wim Wenders, Stephen Shore, and Annie Leibovitz draw visitors, but their educational programs for children, teens, and adults also enrich the C/O as an invaluable resource in Berlin.
C/O Berlin: Irving Penn Centennial
The Irving Penn exhibition at the C/O Berlin celebrates 100 years of the photographer's life. Showcasing over 200 works, this truly is a unique opportunity to view work from Penn throughout his career. Starting with carefully curated still lives, the exhibition flows into his famous portraits of celebrities, and highlights Penn's experimental film developing process in order to fine-tune the perfect film print.
Next Penn's sought-after editorial photographs for fashion and beauty magazines are juxtaposed next to his nude series, which was largely rejected by the public for not reflecting the beauty standards of the time.
Another floor of the exhibition featured portraits from Penn's travels to New Guinea, Peru, and Morocco.
The top floor contained a room of Penn's cigarette series images, and a room of decaying flowers and discarded items. An interesting parallel to the beauty and mourning of life and growing old.
C/O Berlin set up a corner backdrop where visitors could take their own portraits a la Penn. My family and I had some fun trying our hand at it!