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Too much 'Vanity'? LACMA's new exhibit celebrates celebrity

October 30, 2008 | 11:20 am


Times art critic Christopher Knight is taking the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to task for its new exhibit -- a collection of Vanity Fair magazine photographs, including the much-talked-about photo, above, featuring Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson. Says Knight:

When mulling over whether to sign on to present this vaporous show, a bit of historical consciousness might have done LACMA some good. The original Vanity Fair magazine collapsed during the Great Depression. After a 44-year hiatus, it was reborn in the 1980s as a glittery reflection of the excesses celebrated in the Age of Reagan, then shifting into high gear. Now the show is opening in the United States just as that era is itself in full collapse, bumping to an exhausted, ignominious close.

"Vanity Fair Portraits" is a vanity exhibition, plain and simple. And that's precisely what our historic moment needs least right now, especially from a major civic art museum.

Read the rest of Knight's take here and take a spin through a photo gallery of some of the images on display. And then tell us: Does this exhibit qualify as art?

Photo: Annie Leibovitz / Contact Press Images