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Brodovitch: From Diaghilev to Harper’s Bazaar

October 26 - November 25, 2011

Exhibition "Brodovitch: From Diaghilev to Harper’s Bazaar" is organized by Harper’s Bazaar magazine and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture and confined to the 15th anniversary of Harper`s Bazaar in Russia.

Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) is a pioneer of graphic design who invented a prototype of today's fashion magazines. In the early 1930s, Brodovitch made a revolution in the world of magazines by integrating images with text on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar. Brodovitch can be rightfully considered as the father of advertising and fashion photography and the tutor of photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.

A Russian born, Brodovitch joined the first wave of immigrants and started his career as a decorator in Sergey Diaghilev's theater in Paris. His job was not just to create posters and decorations for the Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. He also took photos of artists behind the stage during rehearsals and try-ins. His first success in design was a prize at poster contest for charitable ball party: the young artist from Russia took the Grand Prix hustling away nobody but Pablo Picasso.

In 1934, Alexey Brodovitch accepted an offer to take the office of Harper’s Bazaar art director in New York and stayed there for several decades – till 1958. In America, he introduced a brand new minimalist style emerged in Europe in 1920s under the influence of avant-garde movements and art deco style in industrial design. Upon Brodovitch initiative, Harper’s Bazaar collaborated with his friends Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Joan Miró, Jean Cocteau, the master of posters and type designer Adolf Kassandr, photographer Man Ray, and many others. Besides, Brodovitch founded a network of Design Laboratories which offer a truly invaluable apprenticeship for design people, the alma mater for many American designers and photographers.

Exhibition "Brodovitch: From Diaghilev to Harper’s Bazaar" at Garage Center for Contemporary Culture is the first time the oeuvre of Alexey Brodovitch is exhibited in Russia. Surprisingly, the works of this graphic design trend-setter have never been exposed in Russia in full scale.

This exposition in many ways resembles Hommage à Alexey Brodovitch at Grand Palais of Paris in 1982. It is a unique chance to observe Harper’s Bazaar covers and examples of graphic experiments Brodovitch practiced on the magazine's pages; series of Ballet photographs made during the tour of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in New York and performances of American ballet companies in the mid 1930s; portraits of Brodovitch shot by Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Arnold Newman, as well as personal letters, photo and video materials of lectures and interviews which give an idea of Brodovitch's teaching practice. The audience will also have an opportunity to learn more about the history of visual aesthetics at Harper’s Bazaar from its very beginning. It should be noted that many materials of the Brodovitch's art heritage are irrevocably lost: during the life of the designer his residence place suffered from fire three times which ended up with destruction of considerable part of his works. The contributors of the exhibition are the Richard Avedon Foundation and the Graphic Design Archive of Rochester Institute of Technology (USA).

Curator: Irina Meglinskaya, a gallery owner, expert in photography with over 10 years of tenure as photo director of Afisha magazine. Since 2010 and up to now Irina is the head of photo office at Afisha Publishing House.

Co-curator: Roger Remington, professor of Rochester Institute of Technology, expert in design history, theory, and methodology, a lecturer, the author of books on the history of design, the curator of Hommage à Alexey Brodovitch in Paris.

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