The established US photographer Annie Leibovitz, who is known for her portraits of Hollywood stars and presidents, has signed up with Hauser & Wirth gallery for worldwide representation.
“We’ve been doing a slow dance,” Leibovitz adds, referring to her new partnership with the gallery. “Magazines [such as Rolling Stone] have been a good vehicle for me, but there are so many other layers to my work. They’ve always been there.” Crucially, she adds: “We’re looking at editioning works from across my career.”
A major work by Leibovitz marking the move —Driving Series, 1970-1984 (2019)—is on show with Hauser & Wirth at Art Basel this week. The 63-part composite piece shows high-profile figures at the wheel of a car including O.J. Simpson, Mick Jagger, Carole King and Bruce Springsteen.
“I’ve always photographed people in cars. It started in California, which is a very car-centred place. I used to drive between San Francisco and LA a lot. Cars can be like studios for some people. I was just in a car with [the artist] James Turrell, at his crater in Arizona. I took pictures of him driving,” she says.
Asked if she still considers herself a photojournalist, Leibovitz says: “I admire photojournalists of today; the people at the New York Times and Washington Post are relentless. I think of myself as a creative artist using photography in every way. I’ve worked in the realm of photojournalism, but it is just one lens that I use. Reality can be so personal.”
Leibovitz held a show at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles earlier this year entitled Annie Leibovitz, the Early Years, 1970-1983: Archive Project No. 1 which included more than 4,000 images. “They [the gallery] are old-fashioned and their relationships with artists are important. I met some of their brilliant artists out there [in Los Angeles] such as Mark Bradford, and Paul McCarthy, who I admire for the way he’s handled Trump,” she says.
A solo exhibition is planned later this year at Hauser & Wirth in Hong Kong (23 November-8 February 2020) which will include works derived from the installation in Los Angeles, Leibovitz says. “Her skill as a portrait-maker places her within a lineage of such influential artists as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Andy Warhol and August Sander,” says Marc Payot, a Hauser & Wirth partner and vice president, in a statement.