The Hammer Museum presents Becoming Van Leo, the first survey of the Armenian Egyptian photographer known as Van Leo (1921–2002), who rose to prominence as one of the Arab world’s most celebrated studio photographers from the 1940s to the 1960s. Known for his meticulous use of light and shadow, and informed by his longstanding fascination with Hollywood glamor, Van Leo became known for his striking black and white portraits that captured the mystery and magic of stars and everyday people alike. The exhibition charts his earliest encounters with the camera in the 1930s through his studio work up until the 1990s. It includes a selection of revelatory selfportraits, in which Van Leo portrayed himself by turns as Zorro, a prisoner, a beggar, Jesus Christ, or a generously lip-sticked woman, foreshadowing the role-playing portraits of Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing, and others thirty years later. Many of these images were never printed and exist only in negative format and will be shown for the first time in Becoming Van Leo.
Becoming Van Leo
Until November 5th, 2023
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Westwood, Los Angeles.
Admission to all exhibitions and programs at the Hammer Museum is free. Tuesday-Sunday: 11am to 6pm.
Onsite parking $7 (maximum 3 hours) or $7 flat rate after 6 p.m.
Visit www.hammer.ucla.edu for details or call 310-443-7000.