Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.
On January 3, 1961, elite fashion photographer Richard Avedon, on assignment for Harper’s Bazaar and Look magazines, unpacked his portable studio in the Palm Beach, FL, family compound of president-elect John F. Kennedy. Over the next several hours Avedon took candid and posed portraits of the young president-to-be, his elegant wife, and their adorable children. Combining elements of fashion and art photography, Avedon sought to capture the essence of the Kennedys at their finest.
Avedon created a single edition of the Harper’s Bazaar images and in 1966, a mere three years after the assassination that rocked the world, donated the prints and negatives to Smithsonian’s newly opened Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History, NMAH). For the first time, images from this photo shoot are on view in their entirety. Available only to select venues, The Kennedys | Portrait of a Family, an exhibition developed by NMAH and circulated by SITES, showcases Avedon’s beautiful photos of the “picture perfect” first family. Text panels offer additional insight into Avedon’s career and approach as well as the technical aspects of photography and magazine production.
“Of all the photographs in the Photographic History Collection,” says Shannon Thomas Perich, exhibition curator and associate curator of the collection, “these poignant and stirring photographs never fail to trigger memories, generate conversation, and make visitors recognize that they themselves are part of American history.”
Accompanying the exhibition is a companion book by Perich, The Kennedys: Portrait of a Family/Richard Avedon (Collins Design, 2007), with a foreword by Kennedy historian Robert Dallek.
The exhibition was created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Bering Center, and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
The exhibition is supported by the Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. Fund and Collins Design, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The exhibition and national tour were sponsored by HISTORY™.
>>Interview with exhibiton curator on Good Morning America
>>Interview on SITES' blog