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Exhibition: Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty


  • MOPA 1649 El Prado San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)
Irving Penn, Ball Dress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci, New York, 2007, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © Condé Nast

Irving Penn, Ball Dress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci, New York, 2007, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © Condé Nast

Irving Penn (1917–2009), known for his iconic fashion, portrait and still life images that appeared in Vogue magazine, ranks as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. “Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty,” organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and curated by Merry Foresta, the museum’s first Curator of Photography, is the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly 20 years. The exhibition features work from all stages of Penn’s career—street scenes from the late 1930s, photographs of the American South from the early 1940s, celebrity portraits, fashion photographs, still lifes and more private studio images. Penn’s pictures reveal a modernist instinct for stark simplicity whether he was photographing celebrities, fashion models, still lifes or people in remote places of the world.

Beyond Beauty is made possible by the generous support of City of San Diego, Michele Comtois, Gardner Bilingual Fund, The Joseph and Beverly Glickman Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, Karen Kinney, Marion and David Knowles, Gail and Mel Mackler, Barbara Mandel, The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation, Julie Lorene Smith, Allan and Anita Sutton, Marie Tartar and Steve Eilenberg, Peggy Ann Wallace.

Exhibition Viewing Times:

This exhibition will be on display through February 17th, 2019 during MOPA’s regular hours of operation: Tuesdays - Sundays 10:00AM - 5:00PM.

About MOPA:

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is a vibrant center for visual learning, dedicated to sharing and exploring the universal language of photography. With the mission to inspire, educate, and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film, and video, MOPA serves over 100,000 visitors annually.

Born of a group of local photographers and art patrons, plans for an actual organization began in 1972 with the creation of the Center for Photographic Arts. This entity essentially operated as a museum without walls for nine years, until the City of San Diego donated a space for a permanent location in the historic Balboa Park Cultural Complex. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, MOPA officially opened to the public in May 1983 and through the decades has gained an impressive international reputation for high-quality exhibitions and programs.

MOPA is one of only three independent stand-alone museums exclusively dedicated to photography and film in the nation, with its permanent collection encompassing the entire history of photography spanning contemporary works and photojournalism, in addition to materials and documents related to the history and processes of the medium. Nearly 8,500 photographs by 700 artists as well as over 21,000 items are held within the Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library.

Learn more about the MOPA and this event by visiting their website!