A Night Out: Opening Reception for “Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power”

VIPs (including several subjects of Avedon’s portraits) came out Tuesday night for the Corcoran’s latest photography exhibit.
Paul Greenhalgh and Ben Bradlee at the Avedon reception Tuesday night. All photos by Chris Leaman.
Paul Greenhalgh and Ben Bradlee at the Avedon reception Tuesday night. All photos by Chris Leaman.

What: A reception for VIPs (including several subjects of Avedon’s portraits) for the Corcoran’s latest photography exhibit.

Where: The Corcoran Gallery of Art

When: Tuesday, September 9, from 6:30 until 10ish

Who: A mix of political figures, journalists, and art types. Chairing the evening were Julian Bond, civil-rights leader and chair of the NAACP and Ben Bradlee and wife Sally Quinn, who were with their son, Quinn. Also making appearances were Congressman John Lewis, US attorney general Michael Mukasey, Corcoran director Paul Greenhalgh, and other Washington art-worlders.

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Scene: An upscale, classy event suited to the opening of a photography exhibition that captures some of the most important political figures of our time. A violinist and cellist played as the guests slowly moved up the marble staircase. Up on the second floor—while Richard Avedon’s large-scale black-and-white photos of larger-than-life people such as Katharine Graham and Ronald Reagan looked down on the cocktail-attired crowd—people sipped drinks, mingled, and wandered off to check out the impressive exhibit. Later, Greenhalgh spoke to the crowd, joking that after viewing the exhibit and chatting with friends from the UK, he couldn’t figure out why American politicians were so much better-looking than British ones.

Food: A solid spread. The typical items were there—cheese cubes, veggies—but there were also lamb lollipops, buttery finger sandwiches, young red potatoes hollowed out and stuffed with an olive tapenade, grilled shrimp wrapped in pancetta, and lots more. For dessert, caterers passed around trays of creamy chocolate and vanilla lollipops and fruit tarts.

Beverages: Beer, wine, and mixed drinks. (Virginia Gentleman was the whiskey offered.)

Ratings (out of 5):

Boldface names: 2
Swankiness: 3
Food and drink: 4
Overall exclusivity: 3

Total score: 12 (out of 20)

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