Press Release


COLUMBIA, SC - Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage charts a new direction for one of America's best-known living artists. Unlike her staged and carefully lit portraits made on assignment for magazines and advertising clients, these photographs were taken simply because Leibovitz was moved by the subject. The exhibition, including 78 photographs, taken between April 2009 and May 2011, will be on view at the Columbia Museum of Art October 4, 2013 through January 5, 2014. The CMA is the only exhibition presentation in the Southeast. Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage is an evocative and deeply personal statement by a photographer, whose career now spans more than 40 years, encompassing a broad range of subject matter, history and stylistic influences. The work shows Leibovitz at the height of her powers and pondering how photographs, including her own, shape a narrative of history that informs the present.

"These pictures may surprise even those who know Leibovitz's photography well," guest curator Andy Grundberg, former New York Times photography critic, said. "They are more intimate, personal and self-reflective than her widely published work, combining the emotional power of her recent black-and-white portraits of her family with an awareness of her own cultural legacy. All photographs are in a sense intimations of mortality, but the pictures of Pilgrimage make this connection explicit."

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage took Leibovitz to places she could explore with no agenda. She wasn't on assignment. She chose the subjects simply because they meant something to her. The first place was Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst, Massachusetts, which Leibovitz visited with a small digital camera. A few months later, she went with her three young children to Niagara Falls. "That's when I started making lists," Leibovitz said. She added the houses of Virginia Woolf and Darwin in the English countryside and Freud's final home, in London, but most of the places on the lists were American. The work became more ambitious as Leibovitz discovered that she wanted to photograph objects as well as rooms and landscapes.

"From the beginning, when I was watching my children stand mesmerized over Niagara Falls, this project was an exercise in renewal," Leibovitz said. "It taught me to see again." The pictures, although there are no people in them, are portraits of subjects that have shaped Leibovitz's distinctly American view of her cultural inheritance. Visiting the homes of iconic figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Pete Seeger and Elvis Presley and places such as Niagara Falls, Gettysburg and the Yosemite Valley, she let her instincts and intuitions guide her to related subjects-hence the title Pilgrimage.

The exhibition in Columbia is generously sponsored by a number of companies and individuals including major corporate support from Aflac, Bank of America and EDENS.

"Bank of America is dedicated to strengthening artistic institutions and, in turn, the surrounding communities we serve," said Kim Wilkerson, South Carolina president, Bank of America. "Sponsoring such unique exhibitions as Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage brings world-class cultural experiences to the residents and visitors of Columbia while also supporting the Columbia Museum of Art's contributions to the local economy."

EDENS President Jodie McLean says, "It is with great excitement and anticipation that we welcome the Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage exhibition to the Columbia Museum of Art. Leibovitz's iconic work has had an enormous impact on contemporary art, and we are thrilled that she has chosen the City of Columbia to display her collection. This exhibition continues to enhance Columbia's culture and commitment to the arts."


Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her father was an officer in the Air Force and her childhood was spent on a succession of military bases. She began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared regularly on magazine covers ever since. Leibovitz's large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.

Leibovitz's first major assignment was for a cover story on John Lennon. She became Rolling Stone's chief photographer in 1973, and by the time she left the magazine, ten years later, she had shot one hundred and forty-two covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including her memorable accounts of the resignation of Richard Nixon and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revivedVanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work-portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs-that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. In addition to her editorial work, she has created several influential advertising campaigns, including her award-winning portraits for American Express and the Gap. She has also collaborated with many arts organizations. Leibovitz has a special interest in dance, and in 1990 she documented the creation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.

Several collections of Leibovitz's work have been published. They include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983);Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990 (1991); Olympic Portraits (1996); Women (1999), in collaboration with Susan Sontag; American Music (2003); A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005 (2006); Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008), a first-person commentary on her career; and Pilgrimage (2011). Exhibitions of Leibovitz's work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors. In 2006, she was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. The previous year, in a compilation of the forty top magazine covers of the past forty years by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), she held the top two spots (#1 for the photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken for Rolling Stone the day Lennon was shot, and #2 for the pregnant Demi Moore in Vanity Fair). In 2009, she received the International Center of Photography's Lifetime Achievement Award, ASME's first Creative Excellence Award, and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London. She was the recipient of the 2012 Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. She lives in New York with her three children.

Following the Columbia presentation, the exhibition will be on view at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois beginning February 7 through August 31, 2014 and at the New York Historical Society in the fall of 2014.

Presenting Sponsors: Aflac, Bank of America, EDENS, Hannah and Ron Rogers, and The Chapman Family Charitable Trust

Supporting Sponsors: Columbia Marriott, Dr. Suzan D. Boyd and Mr. M. Edward Sellers, Ethel S. Brody, Harriott Hampton Faucette, Governor and Mrs. James H. Hodges, Dr. and Mrs. Allen A. Montgomery, Susan Romaine, Susan Thorpe and John Baynes

Contributors: Adams and Reese, HoFP Gallery, Lisa and Ben Arnold, Mr. and Mrs. David E. Dukes, Toni M. and Sam Elkins, Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Harpootlian, Michel G. Moore, Ginny Newell and Bob Wilkins

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Bernie Stadiem Endowment Fund provided support for the exhibition. The C.F. Foundation of Atlanta supports the museum's traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.


Members' Opening Party Celebrating Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage

Thursday, October 3 | 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Join us for the members-only exhibition opening celebration. Individual membership admits one. All other levels admit two. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. No early entry. RSVP by Friday, September 27 by calling 803.799.2810 or visiting RSVP early as space is limited. Cash bar. $5 Valet parking.

Pilgrimage Opening Day Lecture

Friday, October 4 | Noon

CMA Curator Victoria Cooke gives an illustrated lecture on the work of Annie Leibovitz. Free. Members only. RSVP by Friday, September 27, by calling 803.799.2810. RSVP early as space is limited.

Gallery Tour: Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage

Every Saturday | 1:00 p.m.

A guided tour of the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage is offered free with membership or admission.

Collecting Photography 101: Beginner Basics

Friday, October 4 | 5:30 pm - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 5 | 10:00 am - 2:00 p.m.

Collecting Photography 101 is a non-stop "boot camp" aimed at the beginner to seasoned collector as well as those photographers who want insight into the fine art marketplace. Taught by a collecting pioneer, Alice Zimet, this workshop provides basic knowledge on collecting photography as well as insider tips on how collectors think, buy, and build their collections. We'll cover where to go shopping - both the commercial and nonprofit market - as well as the due diligence needed to collect smartly, all issues to address before you spend a penny. This fact-filled workshop is perfect for those looking to learn the dynamics of the photography marketplace and to gain the confidence and expertise to collect smartly. Join us Friday evening for meet and greet with Alice and enjoy a brief presentation to lead up to the workshop on Saturday. CMA curator, Victoria Cooke will wrap up the program with a tour through the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage from 1-2 p.m.

Members enjoy both days for $40, non-members $65. Students and docents enjoy both days for $35. Friday only, $15; Saturday only, $25 (box lunch included).

Salon Luncheon: Kathleen Robbins

Friday, October 11 | Noon

Join Kathleen Robbins as she discusses her influences and shares insight into her photographic process in relation to the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. Robbins, associate professor of art, coordinator of the photography program and affiliate faculty of southern studies at USC was recently featured in Garden & Gun. Robbins gallery talk will be followed by a 3-course lunch with wine prepared by Chef Ryan Whittaker of 116 Espresso and Wine Bar. Each course will reflect in food a work of art and its influence on Chef Ryan.

Cost for luncheon $45 / $35 for members. Salon talk only-free with membership or admission.

Learn to Photograph in a Day

Saturday, October 12 | 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Offsite - Historic Columbia

Ever wonder how photographs were taken during the civil war? Join us at one of Historic Columbia's Hampton Preston Mansion and Gardens and discover how.

Instructor Jonathan Goley will demonstrate an early photographic process called wet plate collodion and will guide participants in creating a plate of their own. Goley has been practicing wet plate collodion photography for over 5 years after graduating from USC with a BFA in 2005. When not photographically stepping back into history, he is the Digital Media Manager at the CMA. Cost $60 / $48 for members

Film: Life through a Lens

October 12 and November 9 | Noon

This acclaimed film traces the arc of Annie Leibovitz's life, her aspirations to artistry and the trajectory of her career. Directed by her sister, Barbara Leibovitz, this probing and personal film depicts the key phases that shaped Annie's life and work; including her childhood, the tumultuous 1960s and her transition from Rolling Stone to Vanity Fair, as well as her most significant personal relationships, including motherhood. At its center are bountiful, insightful and even playful interviews with her most famous subjects, mentors, and colleagues that reveal the evolution of one of world's most influential visual artists. (83 minutes). Free with membership or admission.

Home School Days at CMA

Tuesday, November 12 | 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage

Home School Days at the CMA is designed especially for home-schooled children ages 4 and up and their parents. This program combines an exploration of the galleries and a studio project. Each child is $5 and one adult per family is free. Each additional adult is $10. Register early as enrollment is limited! Pre-registration is required for this program.

Arts & Draughts

Friday, November 1 | 7pm - 11pm

Art, drink and be happy! Enjoy beer tastings from the Whig, musical performances and more, D.I.Y Art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts and unique perspective tours through the CMA collection and current exhibition Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. Sponsored by The Whig, WXRY and Free Times. $8 / $5 members / join or renew your membership that night and get in for free!

Gladys' Gang: My Favorite Things

Ages 2-5

Wednesday, November 6 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Participants and their adult companions explore art through the introduction of elementary art terms such as color, line, shape and texture. This FREE monthly program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the theme. Enter the world of Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage and discover a few of the artist's favorite things. In the studio use your favorite color to create a work of art.

Harvest and Art Dinner

Sunday, November 10 | 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

The CMA, Southern Greenie, City Roots, Chef/Owner of Rosso Trattoria Kristian Niemi and Executive Chef Travis Rayle present a farm to table dinner inspired by the featured exhibition Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. Cocktails and wine pairings included in the four course meal. The Farm to Table mission is to bring together the community through agri-tourism, local food and local chefs who are experts in bringing the freshest ingredients to the table in creative and unique ways.

Cost: $160 / $120 members

Passport to Art: A Collection of Memories

Sunday, November 10 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Create your own narrative photo-collage piece in this FREE monthly open studio program for families. Enjoy a themed family tour of CMA's temporary exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage at 1:00 p.m. or take a self-guided tour of the Museum.

Glass Works | Teen Academy (ages 13-18)

Saturday, December 21 | 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

In this Teen Academy workshop, students will be inspired by our temporary exhibition Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage as they make a unique piece of artwork incorporating stained-glass and Polaroid photography. Cost $75 / $60 for Dual/Family Members and above.

Artist Salon: USC Rare Books Collection

Friday, November 15 | Noon

Offsite - Thomas Cooper Library, Special Collections

Jeffrey Makala, USC's Librarian for Special Collections Instruction and Outreach at the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, shares travel books, poetry books and more. Makala has culled through the rare books holdings to find materials relating to the exhibition Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. Free. Space is limited, please RSVP to 803.799.2810. CMA members only.

Baker and Baker Foundation presents The Art of Music: Greg Stuart and Michael Pisaro

Monday, November 18 | doors open 7:00 p.m. concert at 8:00 p.m.

In their third Art of Music concert, Los Angeles composer Michael Pisaro and USC music professor Greg Stuart present the world premier of Pisaro's new work asleep, forest, melody, path (2013) for chamber ensemble and field recordings. Using recordings made at various locations in Congaree National Park by Pisaro and Stuart in the Winter of 2013, asleep, forest, melody, path echoes Leibovitz's photographs on American cultural inheritance on a local level. Accompanying the field recordings will be live instrumental playing by musicians from the South Carolina Honors College, USC School of Music, and members of the Columbia music community. $10 / $8 members/ $5 students

Salon Luncheon: Dennis Keil of The Light Factory

Friday, December 6 | Noon

Dennis Kiel, Chief Curator since 2007 at The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film in Charlotte, provides his perspective on the featured exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage. Dennis lectures frequently across the country, and has served as a member of the North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship Panel and the National Endowment for the Arts Panel.

Kiel's gallery talk will be followed by a 3-course lunch with wine prepared by Chef Ryan Whittaker of 116 Espresso and Wine Bar. Each course will reflect in food a work of art and its influence on Chef Ryan .

$45 / $35 for members. Salon talk only is free with membership or admission.

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage Tour and Tasting

January 5, 2014 | 6:00 p.m.

Enjoy this last chance to see the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage with a private tour led by CMA Curator Victoria Cooke. Learn about American wines and local food pairings as you experience a truly unique evening.

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To request hi-res images, call the Press Office at 803.343.2170 or email .


To request hi-resolution images, call the Press Office at 803.343.2170 or email us.

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