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Exhibitions and Events

Elizabeth Taylor's home life is the focus of U-M exhibition

By Dave Lawrence

Catherine Opie, Andy Warhol to Elizabeth (Self-Portrait Artist) from the 700 Nimes Road Portfolio, 2010-2011, pigment print, 16 ½ x 22 in., courtesy of the artist, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Lehmann Maupin, New York & Hong Kong
“Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road” presents new and recent work by Los Angeles-based artist Catherine Opie, one of the essential figures in contemporary photography.


Catherine Opie, Handbag Reflection, 2010-2011

Handbag Reflection, 2010-2011. Photo by Catherine Opie.


Beginning in 2010, Opie spent six months taking photographs at the Bel Air, Calif., home of Elizabeth Taylor, who died in 2011. Inspired by William Eggleston’s images of Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate in Memphis, Tenn., Opie created a portrait of Taylor that captures the Hollywood legend’s essence through her personal objects and mementos. The exhibition includes 50 works drawn from two series, “Closets and Jewels” and “700 Nimes Road.”


Opie photographs rooms, closets, shoes, clothing and jewelry that intimately depict Taylor’s life as a screen star and cultural icon, compiling an indirect portrait of a life defined by wealth and fame. Light and color are vibrant, forming a view of the actress’s home that radiates the aura of a unique personality.


With an investigative eye, Opie documents the grandeur and minute details of the home in a range of visual scales. In the artist’s words, the project is not about the relationship to celebrity but about “the relationship to what is human.”


The exhibition runs from June 11–Sept. 11, 2016 in the A. Alfred Taubman Gallery, University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor. Admission is free. Galleries are open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sundays and closed Mondays.  The exhibition is sponsored by University of Michigan Health System. It is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.


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