'Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography'

26 June 2012

Exhibition: 28th September 2012 to 6th January 2013

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum

The glamour, mystery and drama of some of the world’s most striking fashion photographs will be displayed in Dundee later this year in a major exhibition from the V&A.

'Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography’ is the second in a series of exhibitions being held at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum leading up to the opening of the V&A at Dundee.

The exhibition features work by giants of twentieth century photography including Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and David Bailey, alongside contemporary images by Corinne Day, Rankin, Tim Walker and Steven Meisel.

Susanna Brown, Curator of Photographs at the V&A, said, “This exhibition brings together diverse works by more than twenty leading image-makers and will include some wonderful iconic images as well as rarely exhibited photographs from the V&A collection.”

Lord Provost Bob Duncan, chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee, said, “This is another exciting exhibition for The McManus and I am sure it will attract many people to the galleries.

“The McManus is becoming widely known as a quality destination and we are looking forward to 'Selling Dreams' as well as the Royal Collection's Leonardo drawings later this year.

“I am pleased to see the close partnership with the V&A is yet again bringing an outstanding exhibition to Dundee.”

Philip Long, Director of V&A at Dundee, said, “The style and glamour of fashion has attracted the world's best photographers for nearly as long as the history of photography itself. `Selling Dreams’ is a fabulous opportunity to see some of these most iconic images, as well as discover lesser know ones from the V&A's superlative collections.”

The V&A is home to the UK’s National Collection of the Art of Photography. 'Selling Dreams’ is drawn from this collection and is the first V&A touring exhibition to explore the work of international fashion photographers from the earliest years of the twentieth century to the present day. It will include approximately 60 photographs.

The exhibition title is inspired by a quote from photographer Irving Penn. In 1984, he commented on his role at Vogue as ‘selling dreams not clothes’. This simple statement highlights the complexity of the fashion photographer’s role, which goes far beyond the simple recording of fabrics and surface detail.

Eight sections will chart key themes in fashion photography over the last 100 years. The first sections reflect how fashion photography flourished with the rise of illustrated magazines and include bold experimental works inspired by Surrealism and the European avant-garde.

Influential editors and art directors such as Alexander Liberman and Diana Vreeland collaborated with photographers to shape the optimistic and energetic image of Post-War New York, while in the swinging Sixties, London became the centre of the fashion world. In the 1970s, photographers pushed the boundaries with highly-charged and provocative shots. By the end of the century, fashion images took on an increasingly reportage aesthetic. The exhibition will end with a focus on the elaborate narrative approaches of contemporary photographers.

The exhibition is organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Notes to editors

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 2000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform. The V&A has the oldest museum collection of photographs and the UK’s National Collection of the Art of Photography.

V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee Ltd, a ground-breaking partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum - the world’s greatest museum of art and design - and Dundee City Council, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, and Scottish Enterprise.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded it a first round pass* of up to £9.2m, including £200,000 development funding, in May 2102. The Scottish Government has committed £15m in capital towards the project’s £45million budget.

The McManus is operated by Leisure & Culture Dundee, working in partnership with Dundee City Council.