The Annenberg Space

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We finally made it to the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City this week. Just a week old, the Space’s mission is to be a community center that showcases both digital and print photography — a sort of heavenly high-tech hang-out for fans of the art form.

The venue itself is sleek: all clean lines and modern design, with fresh white flowers in vases and multiple flat screens relaying image after striking image.  The current exhibit is called L8S ANG3LES, and it features the work of 11 photographers with varying styles: John Baldessari, Julius Shulman, Tim Street-Porter, Douglas Kirkland, Greg Gorman, Lauren Greenfield, Catherine Opie, Carolyn Cole, Lawrence Ho, Kirk McKoy and Genaro Molina.  

Eleven photographers is a lot for the amount of space they have, and there wasn’t really enough of each photographer to give you a decent overview, or even introduction, though there were multiple videos running that offered more of each photographer’s work. We particularly liked Julius Shulman (awesome California architecture), Douglas Kirkland (amazing celebrity portraits) Genaro Molina (never heard of him but want to know more), Catherine Opie (though not the best representation of her work on display) and Carolyn Cole (powerful war/strife photography). (Lauren Greenfield? Still don’t get her.)

In the back there is a kitchen (presumably for parties) and a reference room with cool magazines and rare photography books (Helen Levitt, War by the VII agency and Falkland Roadby Mary Ellen Mark to name just a few), with a table where you can just sit down and read for hours if you wish. They’ll also be offering a regular lecture series and workshops (most of the current exhibit’s stars are coming to speak, including Douglas Kirkland and Carolyn Cole). 

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The location I have to say is not ideal, and one wonders why they chose a site that is nestled so deep within a corporate compound that’s anchored by CAA. The main drawback is the parking situation and the maze-like process you go through to find the Space. It’s not one of those places where if you have an hour to kill you’ll just drop by. It’ll probably take you half that time to park and find the place. But, alas — such is the price to pay for great, free photography.

A note about photography on the premises since there was a report recently about the overzealous CAA security guards harassing people: They don’t allow photography inside the Space, however you can take exterior shots and bring your camera inside with you. I was able to sneak the shot above, but I was politely asked not to take any in the area with the photography.

 

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