We gave it an A+
Those who criticized Avedon’s glossy sameness in this winter’s An Autobiography may forgive him on the occasion of Evidence 1944-1994, published in conjunction with the Whitney Museum’s retrospective on Avedon. Framed by mementos—including a letter from the poet Marianne Moore—are the familiar images. But Whitney guest curator Jane Livingston’s inspired organization of the photographer’s work illustrates the stunning power of his style. There are surprising moments of tenderness (Michelangelo Antonioni, director, and his wife Irena, 1993), but most of the images are ferociously free of the artist’s emotional infusions. What distinguishes the drifter from the photographer’s father? Avedon may not be telling, but don’t deny yourself the pleasure of his challenge.