April 20, 2016

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty

You could call this the anti-iPhone exhibit.

Legendary American photographer Irving Penn is best known for the iconic fashion photography and still life images he shot for Vogue over more than six decades (the prolific artist has more than 150 Vogue covers to his credit).

But his retrospective exhibit now open at the Dallas Museum of Art, titled Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, goes well past the fashion work that made him famous.

Curated from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s extensive collection of Penn’s modernist work, you could call this the anti-iPhone exhibit. Attendees will revisit the art of classic photography while perusing 146 images snapped by Penn, including cityscapes from the 1930s, post-war shots of Europe, and ethnographic images from around the world juxtaposed against well-known celebrity portraits and fashion images.

Whether it’s that famous “Bee” shot, images of of traditional Peruvian dress, or event Salvador Dalí posed in a corner—there’s a clear evolutionary arc throughout the exhibit. And while the fashion photos paid the bills, you can see the surrealist images were Penn’s true passion, not only because of the breadth of subjects, but also because of the insanely attentive detail paid to each shot.

Penn shot his final Vogue cover at the age of 91(Nicole Kidman) and never shot on digital—which means he also developed all of his own film.

What we’re trying to say is Penn-cil this in. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

The Details: Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is on display at the Dallas Museum of Art now until August. 1717 North Harwood Road.